|Me and some of my children who helped make this blog post possible!|
This Sunday is Mothers Day. There will be many wonderful and moving tributes written in honor of mothers. This is not one of them! I’ll leave the “waxing eloquent” to others. No, I write this piece for all of the mothers out there who will read this with wise eyes, a sense of humor and know exactly what I’m talking about! I write this for new mothers who feel that they have lost their minds and gotten in way over their heads! Fear not young mothers! Take heart! These things that you are experiencing are not lapses into insanity or flukes of nature. No, darling young mothers, you have simply begun the process of earning your numerous Mommy Badges! Read on and allow me to introduce you to some of the various badges that you have just begun to earn! This list is not all inclusive, there are many ways to earn various Mommy Badges. Just know that you are made of sturdy stuff and yes, this too shall pass, and you will be all the better for having gone through it!
1) The first one that you are likely to encounter is the “lack of sleep yet still need to function” badge. This really kicks in about the same time that your child starts teething, although it can also happen before. You discover that you suddenly have a knack for multi-tasking, such as folding laundry one handed while rocking the baby. You also discover that you have done certain things and don’t actually remember doing them. Along with this you may experience “don’t know what day it is let alone time of day” unless you actually look at a calendar or a clock and even then it may not actually register. Basically, you could care less what day it is! Your great triumph is the fact that you remembered to brush your teeth. Congratulations, you have just earned your first Mommy Badge!
2) The next badge that you are likely to encounter is the “spit up stain on every outfit” badge. This occurs because you have earned the “lack of sleep” badge and you have forgotten to take off your “good outfit”. Or, this occurs when you are out of the house for a special occasion such as a family reunion or a church service. Somehow, in some way the spit up rags did not make it into the diaper bag. Your darling little angel deposits some lunch upon your shoulder which you then try to clean off as best you can. Eventually, every outfit you own has some sort of stain and the task then becomes to pick the one that is the least stained. Yes, darling young mother, this does happen and you will have earned this second badge. Wear it proud, sister soldier! Wear it proud!
3) Closely related to the previous badge is the “nothing can disgust you now” badge. This occurs around the time that your precious darling starts on solid food. At first, you think that you can not possibly toughen up and tolerate this, but eventually you develop a supernatural immunity to smell and begin ranking such odors on a rating scale. You will know that you have fully earned this badge when you start using phrases such as “whew! That’s a good one!” This ability will come in handy for a badge that I will mention further down the list.
4) This next one occurs about the time your child becomes mobile. It is the coveted “I thought I baby-proofed everything” badge. As a good responsible parent you have diligently followed all of the advice in the expert baby books, however, your child is turning into Houdini! Completion of this badge occurs when you have to take your child to the doctor in order to get assistance in removing the object that your child managed to stuff up his or her nose!
5) Number five follows closely on the heels of number four. It is the “it’s too quiet” badge. As a mother, you will soon learn the difference between blissful peace and quiet and the “it’s too quiet, what is my child up to?” type of quiet that comes with earning this badge. Usually, the result of this type of quiet is new artwork on the wall using the latest tube of lipstick you bought (but don‘t remember buying-refer back to badge one on the list), or the new haircut that has occurred with the childproof scissors! Take pictures because this will provide you with a wonderful story to share with your future son or daughter in law in the years to come, particularly after your son or daughter has children of their own!
6) Next on the list is the “child translator” badge. This occurs around the time that your child starts speaking. You can understand his or her conversation perfectly. Other adults are not so adept and you suddenly find yourself having to “translate” for Great Aunt Mimi so she can understand the conversation that your child is trying to carry on with her. Congratulations! You have become multi-lingual!
7) You’ve mastered the art of parenting! You have chosen to have another child. You have thrown out the expert baby books and have adopted the three second rule for items dropped on the floor. The next badge on the list is the “3:00 in the morning laundry run” which occurs when you have two children ill at the same time, vomiting in stereo. This is the moment when you appreciate having earned the first and third badges on the list!
8) Next is the “I can spell” badge. This occurs around the time that your children clearly understand what you are saying, so you and your spouse resort to conversations where you have to spell a lot of words, in order to maintain a level of sanity and secrecy. This type of conversation is used quite frequently around Christmas and birthdays but eventually drifts into everyday conversations. You will know that you have earned this badge when you hear yourself having a conversation such as “how about we g-o to the p-a-r-k?” or, “did you H-I-D-E the p-r-e-s-e-n-t-s like I told you to?” Eventually this manner of conversation becomes ineffective so think ahead and develop code words for various items!
9) Number 9 on the list is the “rule of 3” badge. You discover that you can not say something just once. You must say it three times with increasing volume and insistence. In the younger years it starts out as “let it go” “Let it Go” ‘LET IT GO”. Later in life, when your child receives his or her newly minted learners permit, you will find yourself in the passenger seat of the family car saying phrases such as “slow down” “Slow Down” “SLOW DOWN” and “brake” “Brake” “BRAKE” or “turn” “Turn” “TURN NOW” all while having to grab hold of the steering wheel from the passenger side of the car in order to avoid running into a tree. Although this badge is earned in your child’s formative years, it will keep you in good stead as they venture ever closer to adulthood!
10) When you achieve number 10 on the list, you know that you have arrived in the world of parenting! Number 10 is the one that you least covet, yet is the one that you will most appreciate with a wry sense of irony! It is the “I am channeling my parents” badge! Remember all the things that you swore you would never say to your children? This badge creeps up on you unawares. One day, out of nowhere, words will utter forth out of your mouth and you suddenly stop and think “oh my word, I sound just like my mother!” Now you understand! Now you truly appreciate what it means to be a parent! Congratulations! You have now come full circle! You have earned the ultimate Mommy Badge!
Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy your day-you’ve earned it!