I completely know how you feel. I have two preschoolers home, most of the time, with one of them in preschool three afternoons. Then I take care of a toddler. So, quiet time is few and far between. I found myself making a lot of mistakes in the beginning of making the Irish Hiking Scarf.
I finally began to write down each row on paper 1, 2, 3, etc. until I finished the eighth row and then started again, it was an eight row pattern. I found this a lot easier to do then do the row counter. When you get to working the pattern for a while, it will begin to sink in and you won't have to work so hard at remembering what to do when.
I totally understand though. Sometimes it is hard and easy to forget where you are in a pattern. I think that keeping one of those really small notebooks handy and a pen worked much easier for me than a row counter.