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Are you a SWAT parent?

August 15th, 2014 3:37 pm by Paula Sirois

Are you a SWAT parent?


While I enjoy reading self-help and how-to books as much as the next guy, it's rare that I stumble onto anything that even remotely resembles real parenting life — at least my real parenting life. At first paranoia emerges and I think I must be a horrible parent with horrible kids who do horrible things. But then I realize that parenting how-to books aren't going to get into the nitty gritty of parenting. They're all about the big picture of teaching morals and saving for college. For those of us in the trenches of reality, some real-life tips can help you get through your real-life day:

You wake up to empty cereal boxes. It's Monday morning and everyone hit snooze one time too many and you're scurrying about only to discover that you're out of anything resembling a breakfast food. No cereal, no milk, no eggs, no bread. Great. Now what?

Take a cue from my mother and serve up last night's dinner for breakfast. I grew up eating leftover lasagna or steak all the time. While some may balk, it really works well. Most dinners contain protein, veggies, and carbs, all equaling a perfect mix for a healthy start to anyone's day.

ER RX: If your fridge is empty of leftovers, hop in the car and head to a drive-through. Sure this is not something you want to do every day, but let's all be honest here, they have to eat something right? And if you play it right you can turn this into one of those 'my-mom-is-awesome' moments. Just don't let them know the cupboards are bare and instead tell them it's a surprise because they're great kids and deserve a junk food run treat now and then!

Your kid's recital is scheduled during a big meeting. Your boss sends an e-mail announcing an important meeting that you must attend; of course it's on the exact day you were planning on skipping out early to get to your kid's recital and watch him or her sing onstage. What to do?

First, call the school and ask about the performance and where your kid falls in it. Try to get a rough estimate to learn if they will appear at the beginning or the end. Then go to your boss and explain the situation and ask if you can cut out of the meeting early or join late, to make it to just the part of the performance where your kid sings or dances. Offer to make up the time by calling so-and-so later that night to get briefed on what you missed.

ER RX: If you can't get out of the meeting, consider subterfuge. Call a mom you know is going to attend and explain your situation. Ask her to please make a big production of going up to your kid and telling them you're on your way. Have the mom send you photos or video that you can then save to your phone and show your kid that you were there. Yes, I know this is lying and lying is bad. But what is worse, your kid being completely devastated that you didn't attend or a little lie that keeps them happy and motivated?

Someone, ahem, forgets to tell you their big project is due today. We've all had this happen. You're serving up breakfast and yelling at Johnny to brush his teeth, and little Mary announces that her project is due today, and oops, she forgot.

You're in punt mode now, but never fear. Turn on your computer and do a quick Google search on the topic, grab some paper plates, string and Magic Markers and start printing up some images so Mary can cut and paste. Depending on her age and the type of project, you may be able to pull something together quickly at the kitchen table while everyone else is running around at their usual frantic pace. Tie the plates together a la mobile and now it's an interactive, 3D project and she'll probably get bonus points. If it's more detailed, have her start working while you jot a note to the teacher asking for a possible extension.

ER RX: If they tell you about the project while you're on the way to school or if the project is too big to tackle in a few minutes you'll need to take it up a notch. Empty your purse and purge the trunk of your car for any possible thing you can put together.

Real-life emergencies happen every single day in the world of parenting. Luckily, we're all learning on the job, so sharing a few tricks of the trade can help us survive and thrive — and live to see tomorrow's emergency.

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