I’ve often said that parenting my 4 small children requires more creativity and multitasking than nearly any profession.
Like most parents, I’ve also learned that a universal murphy’s law of parenting is that when one parent is out of town, a child will get sick, a car will have trouble, there will be a snow storm or some combination of the above. Fellow parents – am I right? WITHOUT FAIL.
So what’s a dad to do when his wife’s away at a conference, he’s alone with his 3 sons under the age of 5, and a snowstorm hits? That’s exactly the predicament I found myself in last winter. The boys were too young to help shovel and, more importantly, too young to be left unattended in the house while I shoveled. With the snow slated to come overnight, I set the alarm for an ungodly hour, planning to let the dogs out and shovel before any of the kids woke up. There’s an old Yiddish proverb that says, “Man plans and God laughs.” Never is this more accurate than when solo parenting.
Sure enough, my 1 year-old woke up at 3 AM with a low-grade fever and spent the rest of the night in bed with me, negating my plan entirely. When my other two sons woke up, saw the snow and asked if they could watch a movie, I suddenly had an idea and quickly hatched a new plan. I prepared some breakfast on the go, got the boys dressed and ready for school. I fired up the minivan to get it warm, popped in a DVD and piled the kids inside with their food.
With my sons happily ensconced inside, eating breakfast and watching Doc McStuffins while buckled into their seats, I was able to shovel nearby without worrying about them getting into trouble. Shortly thereafter, we were off to school and the kids were asking if this could be a part of their normal morning routine.
When my wife called to check in later that day, she was impressed with my ingenuity. To steal a phrase from the folks at Cheerios, that, my friends is #HowToDad.