Let me share these with you and you too can keep the children alive until the saner parent arrives.
1. Sometimes shoes are optional. Get a little mom cred and tell the crunchy moms that you are doing it to connect your child to the earth or encourage natural arch support or some such thing. Don't tell them that you actually don't know where your child's shoes are.
2. Automatic car doors.
3. If you just went somewhere amazing, like the museum or the zoo, and everyone fell asleep in the car ride home, park in the driveway, go inside, get a book, and come back and read it in the front seat. If it is a nice day, leave the windows open and read on the lawn. Tell curious neighbors that the children are getting something from the back yard. You deserve it, you just took your kids somewhere amazing!
4. Speaking of driving, want a little brain space and a reprieve from the endless backseat questions? Just blast the Beatles, or something equally kid-friendly-but-not-kid-music, and call it "homeschool music appreciation."
5. You know that playdates are really dates for you, right? You can't put a price on middle-of-the-day conversation with another adult, so don't waste it by helicoptering your child around the park. Remember that 2 sets of eyes are now watching the children, so relax and enjoy the gossip.
6. Hats; warm in the winter, shady in the summer. Everyone will think you are fashion-forward and put-together, and you don't have to ever do your hair again. It's a classier solution than the stay-at-home-mom ponytail. Perfect!
7. Wanna go to the bathroom alone? Hide a piece of candy or a small toy somewhere in the living room and tell the children to "go on a treasure hunt." Make sure it is easily openable so this plan will backfire spectacularly.
8. Always have snacks. I don't care if they are from McDonald's or Whole Foods, but have something. You don't want to have to leave the playdate, and thus miss the end of the Perfect-Mom-and-her-secret-Plastic-Surgery story, just because you forgot to feed the hordes.
9. Speaking of food, there is a huge range of shortcuts between Happy Meals and growing your own organic peas. Please feel free to take them. Baby food pouches, already cut-up fruit, pre-packaged granola; don't be afraid to embrace convenience once in awhile. And don't judge anyone else's food shortcuts, that is just tacky.
11. Toy Bins. Label them if you wanna feel fancy. Playdate over? Scoop, dump, close. Done.
12. Wanna write a blog post but totally over-committed for the day? Start the water for the mac and cheese. Start a My Little Pony to serve as a timer. Start the post. Become alerted to the boiling water by a rattling lid and a toddler convinced the stove has a ghost in it. Stir in the macaroni. Resume blog post. Zone out a little around number 3, that sounds really nice. Shake yourself out of it. Go stir the macaroni. Pause in the living room and remark that Pinkie Pie is really odd. Be shooed away by the oldest. Resume blog post. Have number 7 remind you that you have to pee. Resume blog post. Suddenly remember the macaroni. Go rescue it and hope that the children want it well cooked. Proof-read blog post. Marvel that you spelled macaroni 3 different ways, all of them wrong. Hope that your readers are feeling tolerant and understanding in this lovely summer-like weather. Press publish.
Coats? Who has time for that? Just keep a blanket in the car at all times.
Preferably one with a dragon on it.