One day a few years ago, my then 8-year old son presented me with a Mintie, then snuggled up to me and said that Minties gave you a super power, and you could choose what it would be. After I’d eaten the Mintie, I sat quietly for a while trying to decide what my super power could be. My son wanted to be fast, like Flash or Zoom. That’s his idea of a great power. My daughter wanted mind control and telepathy type powers like Professor Xavier or Jean Grey. This actually says quite a lot about their personalities. Me? Well, at first I wanted the power to make people happy. I couldn’t think of any superhero who could do that. And it seemed like a very kind, world peace sort of superpower – unselfish, sharing and caring.
Upon reflection, I decided that actually, I wanted a selfish superpower. I thought about being fast so that I could get everything done that I needed to, but then I decided I wanted the ability to clone myself.
Not dumb clones who were just reflections of me, but actual real, thinking clones that were me, that could drive a car and with whom I had such a strong connection that it was like everything they did I had also done. At night, we’d all merge back into one Master Lisa and download experiences. And here are my top 5 reasons for wanting clones:
- So that I could simultaneously be at each of childrens’ activities and they would all get to feel that they had quality time and a deep connection with me.
- So that one of me could be at home cooking dinner, doing the laundry and grocery shopping and keeping the house up to scratch while the others were at work or out with the children. Or alternately go out for a glass of wine with the husband or friends.
- So that I could have multiple income streams, not just myself and my husband.
- So that I could have a clone helper if things got too madly busy at work (after all, they would know everything I did).
- So that one of me could do fun crafty activities with the children who were at home with me while other clones took the other children out.
Oddly enough, as the years have gone by and we’ve added a couple of extra children and the older ones have become more involved in extra-curricular activities, I haven’t changed my opinion on the superpower I’d like. I reckon the minimum number of clones I’d need would be three. This has been brought home sharply to me just recently. In a week’s time, I am off overseas for two and a half weeks, mostly for work. I have a wonderful (and often long-suffering) husband, who is extremely capable and competent and well able to look after the children for the time I am away. I also have a very reliable ex-husband who picks up kids when he needs to and runs them around to activities. And my husband has an ex-wife who is similarly helpful.
But I finish work in the office at 3.00pm each day and I do the after school running around. That’s picking up from school, swimming lessons, soccer practice, waterpolo practice, parent teacher interviews, grocery shopping, cooking dinners, and whatever else needs to be done before the small boys go to bed, at which point I work again. None of the other parents, no matter how awesome and useful they are, have the flexibility to do that every day. So what to do with the children after school? We could send the small boys to an after school program. For the 2.5 weeks, that would be $600. Ouch. I could mostly organise the older children with buses, car pooling and going to friend’s houses. But it was going to be a nightmare of epic proportions.
Fortunately, my mother-in-law has stepped in and is going to stay while I am away. She also works full-time, but between them, she and my husband can split the shifts – he can start work obscenely early and leave in time to do the school run. She can drop off at school and work a bit later. So whew! I still have the very complicated spreadsheet showing what each of the six children and the husband are doing every day, and who is responsible for picks ups, drop offs and so on. And a list of contact numbers for other parents who are going to take my kids places.
Because you know what? I may not have clones, but I know other parents who have the same issues, and together we form a carpool, which allows us to get our kids where they need to be. We can’t always be there watching everything they do, but we can help each other out and take some of the load – and in some way, be each other’s clones. Now I just have to accept that it’s OK to let other people take my kids from time to time.
What super power would you choose? And how would it help you overcome your own daily grind?