I’m a mom and I admit I was thoroughly unprepared for this job when I started. Occasionally, I still feel completely inept and have to restrain myself from tackling my kids and patting them down in a desperate search for an instruction manual. And I’d be lying if I said I don’t worry that my parental license will be suspended the next time my kids come home from school and dump their day all over the kitchen and I let a colorful expletive or two fly while yelling HAS ANYONE SEEN THE COUNTER? IT WAS HERE THIS MORNING.
But then I’ll take Zoe out for a driving lesson and she’ll slowly and nervously navigate the car around the block into our driveway and turn to me, beaming with pride.
Or Helena will execute a perfect kata in karate class and I’ll catch her scanning the parents for me so she can grin when I give her two enthusiastic thumbs up.
And I know that I must be doing something right.
I leave you with advice I wrote called Twenty things every mom needs to know. I wish someone had shared this knowledge with me seventeen years ago when I asked my uterus to earn its keep.
For all the moms out there, I wish you Happy Mom Day!
For everyone else, Happy Sunday!
Twenty things every mom needs to know
Last year, I had a layout published in which I dispensed some parenting advice that I had gleaned over my years as a mom. I’ve managed to keep my kids alive up to now so I think all of that advice still has merit and in my 4.3 minutes of allotted down time per day, I’ve gradually added to my arsenal. My goal is to have this mounted on a neon green 10′ x 10′ canvas and hang one in each of my daughters’ family rooms after they have children of their own. At the bottom, it will have a small, bronze plaque engraved with “I TOLD YOU SO. LOVE, MOM”
- My philosophy on parenting can best be described as a combination of “flying by the seat of my pants” and “baptism by fire” with a healthy dose of “winging it” thrown in for good measure.
- Save the $12.95 plus shipping/handling. No book is going to fully prepare you for the wonder that is projectile vomiting. You have to experience it first hand to truly appreciate all of its nuances.
- Television has the power to suck the ability to form a coherent thought right out of a child. Use this time wisely.
- Remember, there is no law that requires you to have fifteen of your daughter’s closest friends sleep over in your living room on her birthday and feed them all breakfast the next morning and no amount of hissy fits changes that fact.
- There is a direct correlation between raising a pre-teen daughter and the deterioration of cerebral function at warp speed. Who are you again?
- It’s one week before summer and your six year old insists on riding her bike into the road. What do you do? If your answer is to restrict her to your driveway and explain that you are simply trying to keep her safe and alive to enjoy the summer and, with any luck, her next birthday – good for you! Just be prepared for her to promptly fall off her bike in the driveway and suffer a spiral fracture of her lift tibia from ankle to knee, resulting in the summer being pretty much a bust. When she breaks her arm almost exactly one year later under identical circumstances, don’t say I didn’t warn you and I won’t say I told you so.
- The laws of physics simply don’t allow for seven friends to sit next to the birthday girl in a 2000 Honda Accord. It’ll be ugly but hey, you can’t fight the science.
- Any teacher worth his/her salt expects any mom worth her salt to negotiate the terms under which she will chaperone her kindergartner’s class field trip to the local zoo. As a mom and fellow human being, I encourage you to think of your own safety as it’s you against one hundred hot, sweaty little miscreants who haven’t eaten anything in three hours and who are demanding to pet the gorillas. Insist on a three foot perimeter “safe zone” protecting you from used tissue, chewed gum, sticky hands and various bodily fluids and gases. Bullhorns are a necessity, not a luxury. So is Xanax. If you feel your sanity is in jeopardy at any time, run far far away. If riding on a school bus is required, get the appropriate shots and demand combat pay. Make sure your affairs are in order. Just sayin’.
- When your five year old suffers a partially severed ear, requiring twenty stitches by a plastic surgeon in the ER and then asks if the mile of pink and purple bandaging around her head looks like “fashion,” just nod your head “yes” and try to ignore your clammy skin, greenish pallor, impending nausea, heart palpitations and acute dizziness. No one likes a drama queen.
- If you want your children to be able to function in the real world, then you better teach them how real time works. “Just a minute” does not mean sixty seconds, it means “whenever the hell Mommy feels like it.” So shut up already about the big hand and the little hand because you’re ruining it for the rest of us.
- In a perfect world, your pediatrician’s office has self-sterilizing toys, snack machines and a five minute maximum waiting time. But we don’t live in a perfect world, do we? Put your game face on and pack a bag.
- The first time you channel your mother won’t be your last.
- I can’t lie to you. There is no general consensus as to the length of a “stage.” It can last anywhere from ten minutes to ten years. Yes, it sucks. But at least you know.
- Barbie is the Devil Incarnate and Polly Pockets are her spawn.
- Taking a daily shower and separating dirty socks and underwear from dirty jeans before they hit the laundry basket is not considered child abuse. Neither is requiring them to actually hit the laundry basket.
- “I will” when uttered by a child actually means “I won’t until you ask me 83 more times.”
- Battling lice can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am so not kidding.
- Don’t sign your daughter up for girl scouts unless you are willing to sleep in some pretty icky places and take my word for it … no amount of Thin Mints is going to make you feel better about spending the night on the floor of an aquarium directly underneath the kid-friendly a/k/a no-walls-separating-you-from-them crab exhibit. Do I have to draw you a picture?
- The words “we’ll see” are almighty powerful and can mean “yes,” “no,” “maybe,” “not a shot in hell” and/or “over my dead body,” depending on the circumstances. Use them sparingly and they’ll serve you well.
- If you think you won’t ever bribe, yell, or swear at your kids, or use the phrase “because I said so” … good luck with that. You’re on your own.