This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.
I am tired. I am sick and I have a husband and a child at home that I homeschool and I don’t sleep well and my body hurts and I AM TIRED. So, “make my life easier in any way humanly possible” is my motto. Ask and ye shall receive! The internet provides and it provides in the form of hacks.
You may be asking yourself, what exactly are hacks, Christine? Well, I’m glad you did. Hacks, as defined by Urban Dictionary (the site that gave us 453 phrases for sex acts that will send you straight to hell), are clever solutions to tricky problems. Hacks make life simpler.
Well, at least that’s how it was supposed to be, but as the internet provides, the internet also taketh away. The term hack is now everyone’s favorite overused buzzword. It’s clickbait. So, even if that clever idea in the latest internet article has more steps than an IKEA bunk bed instruction manual, they’re still calling it a hack. Case in point, Zooey Deschanel.
No, she’s not the hack, but according to the internet she has a genius parenting “hack” to get her kids to eat their veggies. She’s grown a garden. See, it’s just that simple to get your little Suzy or Tom to like okra. Grow a fucking garden. Warm up the tractor, put on your best overalls, till the soil, fight plague and pestilence, overcome locust swarms, water, weed, repeat, and grow a motherfucking garden.
And I’m not hating on Zooey for growing a garden. Bully for her and her two spawn, Elsie Otter and Charlie Wolf. No, I didn’t make those names up. Those are the actual names of her actual children that came from her actual body. She named them that, and not ironically, I don’t think. I could hate on her for that, but not for growing the garden.
I’m hating on the internet for calling something as labor and time intensive, as complicated, as backbreaking as growing a motherfucking garden a hack. It’s not. Now, perhaps I’m bitter because I have found it impossible to keep the one houseplant I have in my possession alive. But, counterpoint, growing a garden is not a hack. So there.
Unless the definition of hack has been changed to now include any idea, no matter how convoluted and complex. If that’s the case, baby have I got some hacks for you. The first one is, don’t name your children Elsie Otter and Charlie Wolf. Go big or go home. Don’t hide the good stuff in the middle name. They should be called Otter Elsie and Wolf Charlie or nothing at all.
And here are some other hacks you never knew you needed because, the fact is, you didn’t.
Raise cattle from calf to full grown cow. Slaughter and skin them for their hides. Soak the hides overnight. Now begins the arduous task of scraping fur and flesh from those hides. Get the kids involved! They’ll look back fondly on this step and feel grateful that they wear shoes and aren’t cows. Tan the hide. Dry the hide. Become an old timey cobbler and craft a pair of shoes for your child. Don’t give up now. What kind of mother are you? Then, go to Target, pick up some shoelaces and find a YouTube video on how to tie those shoelaces. If that doesn’t work just make them wear slip ons until they move out of the house.
Sell the house or burn it down and collect the insurance money.
It’s the only way.
Forget fancy and expensive single use plastic containers! Use a clean wastebasket and stand your tubes on end inside one. You can tuck all your wallpaper out of the way and keep it neat in the back of any closet to keep for later use. Except here’s the thing, you’re going to forget that you have it because it’s tucked out of the way in the closet.
So, one time you’re going to need to wrap a present for that stupid friend of your kid who decided to have his birthday at the germ factory known as Chuck E. Cheese and think you have no wrapping paper. You’ll go out, buy more wrapping paper, find a clever way to store that wrapping paper on Pinterest, buy another garbage can and then discover your hidden stash of wrapping paper in the back of closet. Now you’ve got an extra garbage can and one more damn roll of wrapping paper to store. This will continue each and every month for the duration of your life until you have to claim bankruptcy because you’ve gone into debt buying wrapping paper and garbage cans.
Want to keep your necklaces from tangling? Command Hooks! Hanging a wreath on your glass door? Command Hooks! Toothbrush holder? Command Hooks! Hanging curtains in a dorm? Command Hooks! Want to impeach a president? Command Hooks! Marriage falling apart? Command Hooks! Need a new kidney? Command Hooks! Have to hide a body? Command Hooks!
Command Hooks! Command Hooks! Command Hooks!
Simply purchase an inexpensive tarp and stake it into the ground with uh, I don’t know, nails. Or maybe large screws? Twigs? Bricks? I have no clue. Something completely unsafe that will cause bodily harm and certainly guarantee at least one trip to the E.R.
Up the ante by slathering your tarp with dish soap so the kids really go flying down that hill and snag their flank on a few screws going down. And place it on the steepest hill in your yard so after they almost sever a limb they can sustain a head injury by slamming into the fence at a high rate of speed. Make the injuries count so you can also face the threat of lawsuits from the parents of your children’s friends.
See, parenting hacks can really make the job just that easy! As easy as it is for Zooey and her motherfucking garden and her broccoli eating kids, Dances with Wolves and Dead Man Walking. Or whatever their names are. Peppa Pig and Dame Edna? I don’t know. Something like that.
The plan was simple. Take the teenager, hike a mile and a half into the woods on a marked trail inside a state park, and meet up with friends who were camping. Then, have a glorious day, be wholly and profoundly changed by the experience, impart affirming life lessons, be the hero, eat lunch, and go home. Easy, right? This is not rocket surgery, folks.
Well, the first part was simple enough. And it was, in my dreamy, star filled head. Super simple in the part of my brain that forgot how baffling Target’s new layout still is. Easy peasy in the lobe that doesn’t remember having to use Waze to find my way out of the cul-de-sac for the first six months we lived here.
I suppose I should celebrate the one small victory I had on this day. With no cell service to call my friends for help, I did manage to find the correct trail that led to my friends’ campsite all on my own. Unfortunately, I zigged when I should have zagged, turned us completely around, and headed the other way. The wrong way. The way that was meant to be.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” Begged the skeptical teen.
“Do I look like I know what I’m doing?”
“No. Quite frankly, you do not.”
And still we carried on. Ignoring steep inclines. Trying to forget the punishing humidity and heat. Pushing beyond the reality of three trucks carrying injured hikers past us. Still we climbed.
It didn’t take long for the anger and resentment settling into the teen to be spat directly onto me. I didn’t even want to come today, but you made me.
I plastered on my happiest face. It will be fun! This is an adventure! Even if we never find them, at least we got in a good hike!
The hordes of weekend warriors grew thin as that trail grew more steep, and eventually it was just myself, my kid, and an ever growing insecurity. Robert Frost opined about the splendor of taking the road less traveled, but clearly he’d not accidentally found himself heading the wrong way on a strenuous trail with a teenager mocking his every mistake.
At turn five, when I’d finally had sense enough to make note of the trail blaze, the wrong trail blaze, I realized we weren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto, and I sheepishly admitted my mistake.
This isn’t the way.
To his credit, this kid hadn’t complained anymore than any other teenager would, hadn’t whined more than I. Poor thing, he’d been sold a bill of goods by his deluded, directionally challenged mother and he had every right to make some noise. But he didn’t, bless that soul. He did, however, ask I finally throw in the towel, so I obliged.
Heading downhill gave me a chance to catch my breath and clear my mind. I could let go of the dream, the pie in the sky perfect day. It wasn’t going to happen. Between his mood and my bum leg, we were done.
On the way down, somewhere in between what could have been and what was yet to be, I let go. I gave in. I joked about how easy it would be for him to push me down side of the mountain and make it look like an accident. We laughed and let it be.
We talked about homeschooling and all the things we loved about learning the way that we do. We chucked rocks over the ledge. We swatted bugs from our faces and laughed about our day.
We took a stop to cool our feet in the frigid river. Our toes numbed almost instantly. There was only the sound was rushing water. And then, “I’m kind of glad it worked out this way,” he said, quietly.
Me too, kid. Me too.
He’s 13 now and, if memory serves, he’ll be grown and out of the house by next week. At least it will feel that way. It’ll be over that quick, in the blink of an eye. So this was my serendipity, the one I almost refused to see. The moment in time graciously slowed for us.
Maybe that’s what it is. I feel him pulling away. He’s supposed to. This is where it begins. He’s the last one in the nest and time is ticking by. I wanted to create a moment. I tried to manufacture a moment. I expected it to go my way. I was greedy, too hungry for something that was obviously not meant for me.
We had our moment, eventually, one more quiet than I had tried to plan. The change was, perhaps, not so profound. But it was special in its own way. The wrong way, which happened to be the right way, which happened to be the way it was meant to be.
Lumu Community Based Organisation is a non-profit organisation for children who are neglected, underprivileged and orphans. So far we working with 140 children form 0-16 years of age. It is our wish to have office equipment. We need your assistance in the following:
Our budget is very limited to afford the above mentioned items. Therefore we trust that you will assist our organisation. Not only our organisation will benefit, the community we are serving will benefit as well.
If you are able to donate one item, it will still make a huge difference. We thank you for your support in advance.
If you have any queries please contact us at: Call or WhatsApp (+27) 7344 41337 Email: Lcbon256@gmail.com
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