A wry look at parenthood as endurance contest, high-wire act, battleground, and TV sitcom. Zarnow bases much of this book on material that has appeared in her column ""Color Me Mommy,"" featured weekly in California's Orange County News. She has run the gamut of modern motherhood, staying home while nursing three infants and working both part- and full-time. No matter, life has been a hectic scramble. For the past six years, she and her husband have pitched in daily to feed, clothe, diaper (or toilet train), bathe, and bed the kids. They have driven the children variously to and from baby-sitters, a day-care center, a preschool, and a kindergarten. They have refereed frequent sibling squabbles, done countless loads of laundry, juggled medical and school appointments, illnesses, accidents, visiting relatives, holiday celebrations, and birthday parties. They have lost touch with old friends, dined out together infrequently, and found little privacy or energy for sex. Zarnow's premotherhood sights have been humblingly lowered: in exchange for peace and quiet, she demurs not while her older son squishes snails. She's discovered that nonsexist rearing has limitations: her daughter has become inseparable from her first doll; her son decapitated his. She struggles with ""modern angst,"" including preschool instruction on sex abuse and the dangers of drugs and alcohol. ""You're not allowed to drink and drive,"" commented her son, espying a takeout coffee container. A bracing antidote to most child-rearing guides--and a spirited tell-it-as-it-is training manual for parents-to-be.