On Tuesday author Maxine Benenba Clark posted an idea on Twitter for a reality TV show where non-parents have to get three children to and from school – without before or after school care – and still complete their full time job.
A reality television show where they give full time working people with no kids 3 school aged kids, and there is no before or after school care available, but they still have to do their job full time.
We will do our best for kids not to be harmed in the filming of the show.
— Maxine Beneba Clarke (@slamup) August 14, 2018
It struck fear in my heart because even though I only have two school aged children (my third is a toddler) this seemingly straight forward proposition is (most often) anything but straight forward and honestly I would pay to watch non-parents undertake it.
Not because I am sadist (well maybe just a little) but because it would genuinely be hilarious.
My theory is that parents of school-aged kids are the ultimate frogs in boiling water. There was a time, I’m quite sure, where we would have baulked at the idea of juggling the logistical demands of getting multiple kids into the appropriate uniform, packing lunchboxes, remembering library bags, projects, News days, lugging musical instruments and meeting the various scheduling requirements of sport practice, choir and reading groups for multiple kids, as simply beyond the bounds of reality.
But by this age we are accustomed to being beholden to myriad unreasonable requirements. We have forgotten there was any other way to live. Having emerged through the ages of 2 and 3 where we will literally do anything to keep the peace we are living our own version of Stockholm Syndrome.
Because I am still being held hostage to the relentless and stringent demands of a two year old, it’s territory that is far from unfamiliar. The lengths a parent will go to appease a totalitarian toddler are legendary. At least in our house.
You want your toast cut into stars? Sure!
You want me to pull the car over four times to keep finding the tiny trinket you are obsessed with that you keep dropping? My pleasure!
You need both sides of the bread equally spread with peanut butter? Of course you do!
You are two and can barely hold a three litre bottle of milk but insist on trying to every single morning resulting in a flood of milk on the bench? No worries. Isn’t development grand?
The responses on Twitter to Maxine’s pitch confirm a few things. For starters, plenty of parents are seriously funny but also? The juggle really is very often batsh*t crazy.
Oooh add in high needs, and one goes to kindy, one to primary, and one to high school. Also, large musical instruments twice a week. SO fun!!!
— Dr Anna Whateley 💙❄️ (@AnnaWhateley) August 14, 2018
They need to get head lice…and then get them again just when the they've finished washing everything..
— Lenore Taylor (@lenoretaylor) August 15, 2018
And another says ‘tomorrow we have to come to school dressed as a character from our favourite book’
— Rebecca Davies AO (@radicalseven2) August 15, 2018
One of the kids is a 2yo but the size of a 5yo, and neeeeeeeds to be carried everywhere. He doesn't care that mummy is carrying a laptop so she can work while commuting, makeup she can apply while commuting, snacks for him to eat while commuting and 43 other life-sustaining items
— Hallie Donkin (@Halapalooza) August 14, 2018
For added degree of difficulty/reality, despite a three-year age gap, two of the children wear the same size clothing & have the same taste in clothes. Also, each child plays a completely different sport with matches often scheduled at similar times but in different suburbs
— Sarah Halfpenny (@SCHalfpenny) August 15, 2018
This thread is so fun to read until you realise you are basically reading an episode of ‘This is your life’😮
— Dianne Draganovic (@MsDovic) August 14, 2018
Can someone please make this reality show happen? God knows parents could do with the comic relief.