The Cousin Equation

There is math that only moms know.

Sleep. The number of hours our children need in order to steer clear of banshee status. And no matter when our kids go to bed, they will still sleep in on the Sunday morning when our alarm doesn’t go off. Every week. They only sleep in on Sundays. We can at least pretend that’s why we are late to church. Not because we forget to pack the diaper bag every Saturday night.

Speaking of church, we know the latest time we can be exiting the driveway and still get to church on time. Which is hardly ever. But we know when we will be late. There are varying degrees of tardiness. Tier 1: let’s-act-like-we-aren’t-the-laziest-most-inefficient-parents-ever late. Stroll and be casual. Tier 2: includes the obnoxious drop-off, followed by sprint to LifeGroup. Tier 3: we’re so late, we’re going to skip first service and just show up with the early drop-off second service people. So, actually early. It’s a paradox.

How many miles we can go past empty in our Honda Odyssey. Or Toyota Sienna. Or Dodge Caravan. And how much we can put in our tank to keep us going until Friday. I haven’t actually filled my tank since 1998. When gas was less than $1 a gallon. Those were the good old days.

How many pounds we can gain before our only two pairs of pants will not fit and we will need to don the maxi skirt. Which is just the fancier version of yoga pants. 

But the most crucial math known by moms: The Cousin Equation. This is a mathematical anomaly. We have three kids under 6. I can’t get anything done. I’m behind on laundry, dishes, and I haven’t peed without an audience in 5 days. The solution sounds crazy, but it works. Are you ready? You actually get another kid. Not one of your own. But a niece or nephew. With FOUR kids under 6, I am somehow able to do six loads of laundry, diapers, run the dishwasher, and pee in peace. The novelty of another kid sends the house into a parallel universe where I can accomplish something. It’s magical.

But it only works one day. The second day brings what we call The Cousin Clash. Fights, squabbles, brawls, tattling, and having one extra kid in the house actually unravels everything from the day before and sends the house into a state of disrepair unmatched by any natural disaster.

The formula only works for one day. And if I were smart, I would use that day to pack the diaper bag for church and set 10 alarms for Sunday morning.


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2 thoughts on “The Cousin Equation

  1. […] I gained 4 more pounds and several inches. My pants wouldn’t fit. I had to start wearing my maxi skirts again…the yoga pants of the mom […]


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