My five-month-old daughter woke me up in the wee hours of this lovely Sunday morning, and seeing her smiling face reminded me of how grateful I am that zombies don’t exist. Sure, they’re fun to write about, but a real zombie apocalypse would make parenthood exponentially harder. Parents of young children suffer from lack of sleep as it is. If you throw zombies into the mix, all the sleep deprived parents will turn into figurative zombies. Hmm…I just got an idea for my next book.
Watching the season five group of The Walking Dead struggle with keeping baby Judith alive has been especially distressing for me because I know how hard it is to care for an infant, even without being constantly hunted by flesh-eating corpses. With the difficulties Rick’s group has faced this season, it’s made me realize how much we should appreciate life before the zombies show up and start raining on our parade.
As I count down the hours until The Walking Dead airs tonight (eight), I’m wondering what will happen to the group now that they’ve safely arrived at Aaron’s camp. Will they settle in and make a home there? Surely they can’t be safe and comfortable for too long or the show would be over. There must be something wrong with their new safe haven, but all I can think is, “Thank goodness Judith is finally safe!” Travelling out in the open with an infant during the zompoc is pretty much a death wish.
Before I became a mom, I was firmly in the “go out and fight zombies” camp. Now I’m in the “board up the windows and doors” camp. That’s a huge lifestyle change for a zombie prepper. I find myself stocking up when canned goods are on sale. While I was unpacking groceries last week, my husband raised his eyebrows at the ten cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli. My two-word answer explained everything: “Zombie apocalypse.” He knowingly smiled and stacked the cans at the back of the pantry. My husband is a sweet man for putting up with my zombie-related quirks, but he’ll be thanking me once zombies overrun the planet.
Thinking about the extra challenges parents of young children will face during the zombie apocalypse, I came up with five tips for parents who want to prepare for such an event:
- Diapers, folks, diapers! If my baby girl wears the same diaper for more than three hours, you can smell it from a mile away. That’s not hyperbole. Literally, a mile away. If zombies have a heightened sense of smell (they will), you’ll be drawing every zombie in the area to your family. I know most people use disposable diapers (guilty), but you should stock up on cloth diapers because you’ll need them until your little darlings are potty trained.
- Baby food. I’ve noticed canned baby food has a shelf life of less than a year, so when the zombies have settled in, and all the prepared baby food has expired, you’ll need to make your own. Since the electricity will be out, your food processor will be useless (unless you get crafty and use the blade as a weapon). Make sure you have something you can use to grind solid foods into mush for your baby.
- Toys and books. I know what you’re thinking. Who cares about toys when zombies are swarming the earth? Trust me, your kids will care. While you’re defending your fortress, the children are going to be bored, bored, bored. Make sure they have activities to keep them busy so they stay out of trouble and don’t wander off (Carl, season two, you know what I’m talking about). Also, save as many books as you can! I’m talking about real books. Kindles will be useless once the power goes out, and we’ll need real books to educate our children and teach them what the world was like before the dirty diaper hit the fan.
- Smiles. I’m sure it seems trite, but unless you want your kids to end up like Lizzie in season four, you’ll need to nurture your little ones so they don’t become unhinged by the zombie apocalypse. Make sure you take time out of your zombie fighting routine to spend quality time with your children.
- For the love of God, stay indoors! The only reason to leave your home with your little ones is if the safety of your house is compromised. If you want to go out on a run to find family members or raid the local superstore, don’t bring along the kids. Have a family member stay in a secure place with the children until you return. If it’s just you and your kids, don’t leave your house! Let the rest of your family come to you.
If you follow the five tips above, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your babies safe and content. My little angel is napping soundly in her chair, and I’m happily sipping my second cup of coffee, thankful that we don’t have to deal with zombies just yet, but knowing that we’ll be prepared if the zombie apocalypse happens during our lifetime.