Life in the parent lane

February 11, 2008

by Jen Bakken

Sometimes, as parents, we aren’t living life in the fast lane, but are cruising through life in the parent lane.

Our kids are out there directing traffic, and rarely allow a yellow or red light to come our way.

(Unless it is to get us to stop at McDonald’s.)

Speed limits do not exist in the parent lane, and you better be ready to slam on your brakes at any given moment.

We are permitted to sleep once in awhile if we can calm our minds from racing all day.

One minute you are at work, your boss has you working your butt off, and the next minute your children demand even more. You begin to wonder if there is much of anything you do for yourself.

You notice other parents, but they look in control, calm, and put together. Picturing them wearing bright red capes with “Super Parent!” on the back, you secretly wish you had a cape too.

You are convinced that if you did have a cape it would probably be tainted with Kryptonite anyway, and if that can take down Superman – you surely stood no chance.

Then you begin remembering super friends cartoons you watched as a kid.

Completely sidetracked you recall the wonder twins and still can’t understand why they’d activate their powers to become the form of water.

The next thought you have is of old episodes of Batman and words flash in front in front of your eyes.


Suddenly something smacks you in the side of the head. Being hit by a big ball of silly putty surprises you enough to bring you back to reality and away from the super friends.

Now, you are not only feeling weary from racing in the parent lane, but now you wonder if you have adult ADD (attention deficit disorder) and you have a splitting headache.

(Silly putty is hard when wadded up in a ball!)

Then, you realize that you’ve forgotten to pick up one of your children from their after school activity.

When you arrive, the dirty look you receive makes you feel as weak as the Green Lantern did when he encountered the color yellow.

(Yes, his weakness was the color yellow – why do I remember that?)

Later that evening you are at your son’s hockey game and your head is spinning because your other children are running laps around the Schwan’s super rink in Blaine.

You are able to watch parts of the game before your youngest begins to cry because she is too tired to stay awake.

Leaving one child on the rink, another with a fellow hockey parent (thank you Phil), you take the sleepy one to the van.

This is where you spend the entire third period of the hockey game. On the long ride home you make two wrong turns and nearly end up in downtown Minneapolis. The kids may be able to force you to drive in the parent lane, but they do not always know the way home. It is midnight before everyone is in bed and asleep.

That morning you feel major guilt as you quickly hand over blueberry Pop-Tarts for breakfast as you rush out the door.

At work you feel tired, easily distracted, and can’t believe you forgot to put make-up on.

You go to do an interview for a story only to knock on the door and be told the interview isn’t until tomorrow.

Your two-month-old niece is in the hospital and you wish you could multiply yourself so you could be in more than one place at a time.

A teacher talks to you about difficulties your child is having in school and instantly you burst into tears.

Rather than come across as a concerned or committed parent, you looked like you were coming unglued.

(Highly possible!)

On your way back to the office you, once again, take notice of other parents who look in control, calm and put together.

You plan to sneak up behind one of them, take hold of their shiny red cape, wrap it around your neck and run for your life!

(If your super parent cape happens to be missing, please don’t notify the authorities, or the super friends – it will be returned.)