The Parental Decathlon:
A New Olympic Event

By Jennifer Ismail

Running an errand with two children under the age of three should be considered an Olympic event. Getting the kids dressed, fed and happy at the same time on a daily basis is a challenge unto itself; taking them out and getting anything accomplished turns it into a parental decathlon. Only the strongest competitors can complete all tasks AND retain their composure.

I took my two-month-old son and my two-year-old daughter to a government office the other day. I went early, hoping for a quick in and out. No such luck.

I cleared the first hurdle effortlessly -- I was the first to be served; however, my son started to cry while I was talking to the desk clerk. I needed to fill in a form, so while my son continued to cry, my daughter got in the spirit and proceeded to throw all of my ID and credit cards around the office like discuses. I was able to snatch the form away from her just as she was about to decorate it with the pen I left there purposely to tempt her. As I once again approached the counter with my now-wailing son, my daughter began to play with the door to the reception area and managed to pinch the tip of her finger so that she was now crying, too.

As I was squatting down to comfort her, I noticed the smell. Both kids had pooped. On a positive note, people are usually much more willing to help you win the race when you have such a loud, smelly entourage with you.

I held my head high and ignored the pitying looks as I left the office. There was still one event left though -- I had to change two diapers and feed both kids before we left the parking lot. At least I had done what I set out to do without breaking down and crying myself.

Honestly, doesn't that deserve some sort of medal?

Jennifer Ismail is a stay at home mom and freelancer who enjoys writing lighthearted essays from her personal experiences. Her work has appeared in her local paper as well as several parenting sites. She can be contacted at


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