Rule 7: Bedlam Breeds Innovation

This is part of an ongoing series chronicling my attempts to regain a bit of my sense of self, and my sanity, by implementing Elizabeth Lyons’ 32 Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom. Subscribe to my RSS feed to get the whole series!

Don’t forget to check out Elizabeth’s assignment for each rule at the end of the post!

We’re always outnumbered. On my own? I’m even more outnumbered, which makes going places quite difficult. But I do hate to be the stick in the mud who stays home all the time, and let’s face it — young kids will get pretty tired of doing laps around the same small square footage day in and day out.

Winter, you killed us this year with your biting winds, freezing temps, and half an inch of snow that shut down the entire city of Austin for 3 days.

But anyway. I don’t instinctually know everything (I know…shocker). Sometimes I expect my kids to just know things. Or I naively think “We can do this!” And then I’m met with a fail that either a) makes me reassess my methods and come up with something genius, or b) admit defeat and lock us back up in the house until I have the guts to try again. Or until I’m feeling dangerous.

Moms of multiples are nothing if not innovative. I call it strategery.

To some the idea of breast feeding twins is unfathomable. There’s a gigantic foam pillow. There’s a back support. There’s barely being able to move lest one baby pop off, so you’ll have to get her back on, during which the other is sure to pop off, and then they’re playing musical boobs.

Then there’s the realization that you left the remote all the way across the room. And since this feeding session takes no less than 30 minutes, you really need to catch up on your DVR. So you’ll gingerly stand up, lifting each side of your gigantic foam pillow in order to support the wee ones, shuffle across the room [keep it level!], grab the remote, and shuffle back, all while keeping those little heads supported. Breathe a sigh of relief. You made it!

I’ve heard tales of supporting bottles with rolled up blankets and securing them with hair bands. Bouncing one bouncy with a foot while bouncing another baby in your arms. I’ve made many a bottle while holding one baby, and I’m willing to go out on a limb and say I could even do it holding two.

I’ve peeled and cut up oranges for the big girls while nursing Zoe when she was in the early days of “I can’t wait oh my God feed me now woman!” I’m still pretty impressed with that one.

I roll through the Target (or Mom’s Magic Kingdom, as Elizabeth affectionately refers to it) parking lot with one kid in the seat of the cart, another in the basket, and one reluctantly holding my hand, all the while threatening to lie down in the middle of the parking lot. Her, not me.

But innovations aren’t just about logistics. I’ve learned that in order to avoid those “it’s the end of the world as I know it, and I don’t feel fine thankyouverymuch” tantrums, I have to be smarter than them prepared. I’ve learned that the key is to tell them what we’re going to do, when, why, and how.

Now this may not sound all that genius, and it’s not, but remember — these kids didn’t come with a manual, and I have to figure this crap out by myself (and with a little help from my awesome friends, but I doubt theirs came with a manual either). And also keep in mind that the big ‘uns are just about to turn three, so we’re just recently entering that world in which they actually comprehend the babble that is streaming out of my mouth. And repeating it.

Basically it boils down to me telling them that they need to submit to my dominance and ride in the cart with no whining until I get all of the highly unnecessary things on my list that I made just as an excuse to go to Target when all I really need is cinnamon. And if there’s time to look at Tiana or Buzz or Woody or whatever just pick one already when we were done, then so be it.

My other saving grace? The Timer. Time to leave Buzz and Woody in aisle 7 and head home? Oh! There’s the timer! Get on back in the cart! Sissy has a toy you want? Let’s set the timer! Time to trade!

Seriously, I couldn’t live without it. They’re like Pavlov’s dogs, immediately stopping what they’re doing or trading toys at the sound of the bell. They even ask for it when one of the has something the other wants.

And yes, I have set it for like 5 seconds because I really need them to get their butts in motion when they hear the buzzer. Like you had to ask.

Important quote from Rule 7: “Every crazy-nuts-insane situation comes with an opportunity to choose whether or not to make something good from it or to lose your mind to it. You decide!”

What great innovations or methods have you developed that you couldn’t do without? Did a recent fail inspire you to create a new product? A new mantra? Theme song? Blog post? Oh, my mom fails have inspired many a blog post!


Purchase your own autographed copy of You CANNOT Be Serious! You can also follow Elizabeth Lyons on Twitter: @elizabethlyons

Join the Conversation


  1. Ohmygosh, when did you crawl inside of my head? I swear, it's like your blogging MY life! LOL I'm so glad I'm not the only one dragging a mountian of tantruming kids through the Target parking lot.

    PS I *love* the timer idea. Will be implementing promptly. Thanks.

  2. Mommy's Magical Kingdom! Love it! Also love the timer thing. I use it for computer time, and Wii time, and Quiet Time (necessary because Mommy just needs a little time out, too). Great idea to use it also for the sharing of toys.

  3. This is really good stuff. Methinks I will be picking up this book. And I have to tell you, every time I read of another MOM doing the same stuff I do all the time ('cause we just do), I am amazed that we do it. Then when we add that spare on (even though my spare is on the other end of yours), I cannot believe we make it through the day with any energy left to spare. You are awesome!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *