September 5, 2016

How to Be a Mom in 20 Easy Classes


When I was a high school freshman, the guidance department counselors gave our English class a "career assessment" to help us figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up.

According to the assessment--a series of questions like "do you prefer working with people or by yourself?" and "do you enjoy lifting heavy objects?"--I wanted to be a social worker.

Which, given that both my parents were social workers, made sense. 

Until I realized I'm not social and don't work particularly well with people. (I'm not saying this is good, only that I realized it.)

So I went into journalism instead. I've got a bachelor's degree in mass communications, a specialization in journalism, a cognate in literature, and a minor in church music. (Long story.) All of which does me 0.00 percent good on a daily basis. 

On the other hand, getting a PhD in motherhood would have been a brilliant idea--with these core classes figuring heavily into my pre-maternal studies.



1. Sippy cup location techniques. Sure, you can eventually track down a wayward sippy cup via the stink factor, but I would have liked a less stomach-churning option. My brother is some kind of engineer, and I asked him why in the world he couldn't invent a "sippy cup locator chip" to embed in the cups. You'd press a homing button on a keychain clip-on, and the cup would beep until you found it. He made noises about the cost and practicality and other engineery matters and never did take my idea seriously. 

2. Maternal medicine. Is this one of the times I actually do need to haul my child to the doctor and pay the insanely high copay only to be told it's a virus that just has to run its course? Or is this the time for movies and medicating with Popsicles?

3. Stain identification and removal. Hot for oil, cold for blood. Got it. But what about stains of questionable origin and makeup? Is that brown splotch chocolate? I think it's chocolate. Please, let it be chocolate.

4. Sibling conflict negotiation. Never mind world peace. I just want peace at the breakfast table.

5. Sleep deprivation management. Or, how to look and act like a well-rested, functioning adult when your sleep debt makes the national debt look trivial.

6. Cooking for picky eaters. Wherein the kid who loves chicken one night refuses to have anything to do with it the next but you somehow intuited this and already decided to serve grilled-cheese sandwiches.

7. Everyday plumbing. I've got Draino and I've got a snake, and I'm not afraid to use them.

8. Math for moms. If Timmy has two apples and he puts both of them on a train traveling 63.7 miles per hour that leaves Chicago at 9 p.m. Australian Central Time, how long will it take for mommy to run screaming from the room to email the math teacher a strongly worded message about the stress of homework on children and their families?

9. Psychotherapy for hormonal adolescents. Otherwise known as, "It will be okay, honey. How about some homemade chocolate-chip cookies when you get home from school?"

10. The care and funding of orthodontia. Me to my daughter: "I will buy you a pony if you can just decide you're fine with those two weird vampire teeth."

11. Interpretation of eye-rolling. "I'm tired?" "I'm stressed"? "I love my mom like crazy but think I have to act like I don't in order to be a normal middle-schooler"? 

12. Unconditional love as a primary language. To wit: "even though I know you bashed in your bedroom door with a hammer and then covered up the hole with a poster, I still love you and will claim you as my own in public." (Not that you're going to be out in public anytime soon, however, because you are grounded--without Wi-Fi--until further notice.)

13. Tween-speak as a second language. Your 11-year-old: "Mom, that lunch you packed me today was on fleek." You: "Why, thank you, sweetie. I'm glad you liked it and that it really hit the mark." [Hypothetical example only.]

14. How to navigate the school drop-off line and live to tell about it. Really, is there a reason that child in the car ahead of us has to store his ENTIRE LIFE'S POSSESSIONS in the back of the SUV and unload them at the curb???!!!

15. How to fold a fitted sheet in 67 easy steps. Step 68: give up and cram the thing in the linen closet. Follow up with restorative chocolate.

16. School artwork appreciation 101. "Why, of course, my darling, that looks exactly like a cow sliding down a rainbow, and I absolutely do want to hang it in the middle of the living room wall in the spot currently occupied by your father's and my wedding portrait."

17. Multitasking 401. Yes, you can breastfeed a baby while simultaneously making dinner for the rest of the family and texting the school secretary to demur on her request that you head up the elementary fun fair. 

18. Cheap jewelry repair. Tweezers and needle-nosed pliers. That's what I'm talkin' about, baby. Because that little pink plastic necklace your daughter got in her birthday party goodie bag is, at this moment, the most cherished thing she has ever owned.

19. Advanced sleuthing. The rest of the family cannot find [insert any item necessary to the functioning of the entire household] even though they have looked "everywhere." Mom will find it in 0.07 seconds with her eyes half-open (see #5, above).

20. Motherhood as cardiovascular workout. Your heart is swelled up by love for your children. Your heart is crushed by love for your children. Repeat ad infinitum for the rest of your life. Because being a mom is a study in continuing education if ever there was one.


What coursework would you add to this curriculum? 
Share it in a comment or over on Facebook
You're already a summa cum laude mom in my book.






Image courtesy of Chris, rgbstock.com.
This post may have been shared at some of these blog bashes.




57 comments:

  1. So, I haven't needed number 1 for many years, but what a great idea!! I could still use it for my littlest niece, for sure...

    I guess in my current season of mothering, numbers 4, 9, and 11 would be most appropriate classes for me to take - and always number 20, of course!! I think I might also need a course entitled "Timing Your Advice/Correction/Helpful Tips so Your Teen Will Hear and Accept It Graciously." :)

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    1. Oh my word, Tracey, your addition is so funny and so ON! Shall we audit it together? ;) Sometimes, mothering teenagers feels like walking through a minefield, doesn't it? But it's so worth the tricky bits. Blessings on you and the objects (subjects?) of your maternal studies!

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  2. Oh gosh, interpreting the "need a doctor" germs from the "need Mom meds" germs is so tough sometimes!

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    1. Isn't that the TRUTH, Jamie?! Usually, my girls start to feel better right about the time we're sitting in the exam room waiting for the pediatrician to come in. ;) Thanks so much for stopping by...you're the best!

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  3. Hahaha!!! #15. I don't even try anymore.

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    1. Smart woman. We moms have better things to do...like raise the future of the human race. ;) Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

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  4. On the issue of folding sheets....take top & bottom sheets plus one coordinating pillow case and shove whole mess inside second pillowcase and then shove into linen closet!!!!

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  5. You. Are. Brilliant. Seriously, how do you do it in every post? Off to attempt to solve #6 right now (because it's all "No! I DON't like quinoa" (even though it was her favorite yesterday) and "I want my cheese a LITTLE warm" (even though that will then melt the cheese, which will turn it "cooked," and she can't STAND "cooked cheese!")...

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    1. Aw, you are too, too kind. Right back at ya, my fabulously funny friend. As for #6: the struggle is so very real, isn't it? I am sorry for you, but thank you so much for the much needed laugh this morning over cheese that is a "LITTLE" warm but not so much as to be "cooked." LOL, and I mean it! xoxo

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  6. Oh my goodness! I seriously laughed out loud when I read this! I would have saved so much money (gotta love college debt) if I had just gotten my PhD in Motherhood... if I had only known that I was going to be a SAHM!

    Cheers,
    Lisa at Dreams and Caffeine
    {http://www.dreamsandcaffeine.com}

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    1. Lisa, thank you so much...that makes my day! Don't you love the clarity of hindsight? I take comfort in the fact that learning new things is supposed to ward off mental deterioration, so I figure I'm fighting it day-by-day with this mom gig! Thanks so much for stopping by...I love you blog name, by the way! :)

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  7. Ok loving this! PS: #8 is totally me. My brain is wired pretty much like yours: all literature, writing, journalism--reason rather than logic; gray areas rather than black and white. Math tends to go the right and wrong way, and I'm not much a fan. My husband (an engineer) and I have a deal--when our daughter starts bringing in homework, he does the math with her and I'll do the language arts...lol

    Thanks for sharing another great post with us on #shinebloghop Elizabeth! Hope you're having a good one!

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    1. Heehee...right, Maria?! I had the same deal with my lawyer husband (who is good at math). My girls know to go to him with anything mathy, but if they need a paper proofread or a mnemonic for anything, I'm their go-to. It all seems to be working out! ;) Thank you as always for being one of the gracious hostesses of the #shinebloghop!

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  8. So my motherhood career has not yet gone on long enough for me to truly appreciate the value of ALL of these course (my oldest is 3). HOWEVER! You shouldn't even be allowed into the PhD program until you complete (with an A!) course #5!!!! The sleep deprivation is no. joke.
    ps. I also have a bachelor's in mass communication that does me about 0% good, lol.

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    1. Oh my yes, Erin, you are so right about mastery of sleep deprivation management being a prerequisite for motherhood. ;) I'm delighted to meet a fellow mass comm grad who feels like she's putting her degree to no good use! I am, however, sure that all those critical thinking skills we picked up along the way are essential to getting through any 5 minutes of motherhood. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  9. Brilliant (as usual), Elizabeth.
    I think a general course on household budgeting would be useful. Also, a course on how to keep children occupied and happy while waiting in line or waiting at the doctor's office.

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    1. Awww, thank you, Shannon...that's so sweet of you! And I give a hearty "sign me up" to your coursework suggestions! I remember those days of waiting...the bag I hauled around just for those occasions. Now that my girls are older, I have transitioned to "The Auntie Bag," which I put into use when we're out with my young nieces and nephews. It's not all that thrilling, but the novelty works for those few times it's needed. Thanks so much for stopping by...happy fall to you!

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  10. Seriously, you are amazingly gifted! Love love reading your words...especially because I can hear your voice telling me these things.

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    1. Thank you so much, my friend! You know, I have you to thank for #4. ;) So, thank you! Now I can't wait to read your post...I already know it is going to be brilliant, just from the outline...

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  11. Thanks for the giggle today and the reality of knowing I could have used this degree much more than my dental hygiene degree ( especially since teen daughter will be wearing her braces for an extra 6 months since she did not wear her bands.... despite my constant nagging) Also, Nagging 101....I could ace that class!

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    1. Well, sweetie, you know I am right there with you with my usleless journalism degree. But by this point in our maternal studies, you and I have both reached doctorate level! And Nagging 101? Um, YES! How could I have left it off this list? ;) xoxo

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  12. HAHAHA!! I loved these, Elizabeth. I do wonder though, just how many are real life experiences? Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays, I'm glad to see you back again.

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    1. Heehee, Lori, you know what they say: write what you know. ;) I can tell you that when my younger daughter saw this and saw #10 in particular, she said, "You never told me I get a pony!" :) Thanks so much for hosting Thankful Thursdays so faithfully...it's nice to be back!

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  13. Oh, boy, that was the funniest thing I have read in a long time! Yes, we need a different course for the life we live don't we. I laughed at number 19 the most. Mom can do many things in .07 seconds with her eyes closed! Have a great day.

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    1. Well, Margaret, your kind response here has helped it be a great day! Thank you so much. And you are spot on about moms being able to do "many things" quickly and with limited focus. Good thing, too, huh? ;) Thank you so much for making my Monday better!

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  14. Oh I LOVE this! So very true... Pinned.

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    1. Aw, thank you, my fellow student in the motherhood studies program! ;) Glad these ring true with someone other than me. And thank you so much for the pin! Blessings on you in your continuing education. :)

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  15. Psych for Moms 201: What is mom guilt and how to deal with it!

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    1. Um, YES, Rachael! That has to be required coursework for anyone who's been a mom for, what, 1 minute or longer? ;) Thanks for the fabulous addition. You get an A+. :)

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  16. Love this! It is right on point. I really need sippy cup location class right now!

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    1. See, now, Amanda...I think I should share your comment with my brother. ;) I well remember the days of crawling around looking for those cups under furniture and behind doors. These days, I spend a lot of my time washing my teens' all-important water bottles! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  17. My goodness yes. All of these things. I remember pulling sippy cups out of my purse. I totally think this should be a program haha. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh, Brittney, the things that can be found in a mother's purse, right?! ;) I must admit: I don't miss the icky sippy cup days! Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

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    1. Wow, can I sing a few bars of those tunes with you, mama! Some days, aren't we just racking up LOTS of extra credit? ;) Thanks so much for stopping by and chiming in! :)

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  19. Sheer genius, once again. I specialized in numbers 6, 17, and 19. Agonizing with you in ALL.OF.THEM. YASSSSS.

    ...Or should I say, "ON FLEEK!"

    (I just learned that was even a thing last week.)

    Sharing!!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Ruthie! Okay to call on you, then, for master classes in 6, 17, and 19? ;) And WAY TO GO, my friend, on that quick implementation of tween vocab! I'm sure there is an appropriate in-kind compliment I can pay you, but I think the lecture on that isn't on the syllabus until next week. ;) Thanks for making my day, as always!

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  20. LOL! You had me laughing all the way through this one. All my kids are grown now but I can definitely identify with all your course descriptions. I should have a degree!

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    1. Bless you for that sweet compliment! I think any mom with grown children has ABSOLUTELY earned her Doctorate in Maternal Studies! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  21. Oh my gosh this post is amazing. ;) You should submit it over at the Huffpost parenting blog or scary mommy or something.... it's better than a ton of stuff I've read there! Thank you for sharing your brilliance and humor at #FridayFrivolity! Pinning and tweeting.

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    1. Well, Sarah Eliza, if you didn't just make my day with your kind words! I did have fun writing this, and if it can provide a little laughter-as-stress-relief for a few other moms, my work here is DONE. ;) Thanks so much for the lovely encouragement! xoxo

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  22. What a great post! I can relate to so many of these. Peace at breakfast would be excellent lol

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    1. Isn't that the truth (about peace at breakfast)? We're not really asking for that much, are we? ;) Thanks so much for stopping by, Chrissie!

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  23. This is too funny...and true! I love the spot-on points about being a mom. It definitely brought a smile to my face. Thank you for the giggles!
    #alittlebitofeverything

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    1. Well, thank you, Hooray for Moms...I'll take "funny and true" as sweet compliments any day! And if I can make a fellow mom-in-the-trenches smile...well, that's a #win. :) Thanks so much for stopping by from #alittlebitofeverything!

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  24. I've got a few more years until I need the adolescent classes, but this list sounds spot on to me! I actually laughed out loud. I'm going to share this on my FB page too. Great work!

    #ALittleBitOfEverything

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Jessica! You can just tuck those classes for older kids away for "advanced study"! ;) And if there's one thing moms need sometimes, it's laughter-as-stress-relief, so if I could provide a little of that, I am honored and delighted. Thank you SO much for sharing! #ALittleBitOfEverything has been such a great, supportive party!

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  25. haha! Sippy Cup Location. That's hilarious! Great post. Funny stuff. #alittlebitofeverything

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    1. Why, thank you, Barrie! I can't tell you how many times I remember crawling around looking for one of those cups. Now that I have older teenage daughters, I need a bobby pin locater chip! I also need cheaper car insurance, but that's another matter entirely. Thanks for stopping by...I love #alittlebitofeverything!

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  26. I can't with you!!!!! just a great post as usual!!!... thank you so much for linking up with us... My Dear, You are spot on.. but I think I that by now I had graduated from some of those classes and I even may have credit of some others. hahahah
    #alittlebitofeverything.

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    1. Heehee...no doubt, you could easily test out of lots of these classes! Okay to sign you up as a tutor for new moms? ;) Thanks so much for stopping by...#alittlebitofeverything is one of my all-time favorite parties! :)

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  27. Hi Elizabeth,
    Looks like your post was a hit. Congratulations. I am a teacher and a mother, and definitely an imperfect mom.
    I'm Janice. I met you at Donna Parker's Christmas blog party. Maybe you can check out my blog if you need a blogging tip or two. That's what I write about. For example, I recently wrote how to get 842 page views to your blog in less than a day
    http://www.mostlyblogging.com/get-842-page-views-to-your-blog/.
    Janice

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    1. Thank you, Janice! It's lovely to meet you, and I will definitely check out your blog and that piece! Happy New Year to you!

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  28. Thanks for this very funny, yet brilliant article. From the story you can see how hard it is for moms to be constantly taking care of the kids. Whereas it is a very rewarding job. I am only hoping to become a mother soon and it is very useful for me to read what you have to say about motherhood. I guess you would have written a Dissertation on best resume writing hacks for moms and you could make money on it. I will be waiting to read more of your posts.

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    1. Aw, thank you, Paulina! I truly hope my little list hasn't put you off your dream of becoming a mom! ;) Thank you so much for your kind words. I look forward to checking out that link soon!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!