Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

The orange paint police

Posted March 7, 2010 9:31 p.m. EST

In today’s chaotic world, parents often find themselves juggling so many things between work and home, we become paralyzed and unable to triage what’s important.

One evening I had just returned from taking my children to multiple after-school activities. I was in the process of putting away groceries, making dinner, cleaning the kitchen and unloading the dishwasher. My children and several of their friends from the neighborhood were running like wild animals throughout the house.

“You want to tell me about this?” My husband says in an accusatory tone. He is holding an open container of orange paint in my face that appears to have been spilled. “Orange paint all over the stairs. Know anything about it?”

“Wow, that’s right! In between bringing in the groceries from the car, starting dinner, and unloading the dishwasher, I decided to get my jollies by spilling orange paint all over the stairs!” I say with more than a hint of sarcasm in my voice.

We both ended up laughing—albeit, I had tears in my eyes not knowing how I could possibly get everything I needed to do done in 24 hours and still be the orange paint police. It’s the same feeling I get sometimes when I open my sit down at my computer, open my e-mail and see dozens of items in my in-box that need immediate attention.

The bottom line is that sometimes we need to put the brakes on, and deal with the emergency at hand, and get back to the dishwasher later. The orange paint did not completely come off of the carpet or the wall, but like the crayon marks on our front door, or the long-missing kitchen television remote, it is just another reminder that our house is full of life - complicated, messy, delightful life.

Amanda is a reporter for WRAL-TV and author of several books, including on on motherhood called "Smotherhood." She appears here on Go Ask Mom every Monday.