The Skills Of Motherhood

I wrote this a long time ago, in another place… The 25 Skills Every Mother Needs:

1) Lying convincingly: An absolute MUST, this skill has multiple applications, from protecting your child’s innocence ( “Mummy was helping Daddy to mend the zip on his trousers”) to just getting your own way without a fuss (“All toy shops close at two o’clock, it’s the law”).

2) Doing homework in a way that sounds like a really clever child: God bless computers, now at least you don’t have to do the handwriting to match.

3) Changing a pooey nappy (diaper) anywhere: On a bus, at the opera, in a supermarket …Always carry the equipment and an absolute conviction that you are allowed to “do that here”. Develop speed.

4) Psychiatry: It’s really important to listen to your child and to help them to see that most worries have a practical solution. Don’t blow off their concerns but don’t make the child a wuss either… For instance, a bullied child doesn’t need lessons in self-esteem as much as they need lessons in boxing. Or running.

5) Medical Diagnosis/Care: This takes experience (it helps if you are a hypochondriac, or a medical professional). Actually, asking your own Mother for help/advice is good. It might be her one chance to be something other than an interfering old bag.

6) Making home-made Play-Doh: Google the recipe.

7) Having a silent orgasm: Nobody wants the kids to wake up in time to damage themselves mentally forever AND to watch the clean-up operation that nobody does in films. Convey your pleasure by pulling a series of grateful faces and grabbing the sheets with your fists.

8) Opening your bowels, wiping your bottom, washing your hands and being out of the bathroom in 30 seconds: Another “must learn” skill…Unless you want your child to watch you crapping, or to be out there setting fire to the cat.

9) Effective bribery: Know what they want and use this skill sparingly for best effect.

10) Talking in riddles (to other adults): Nothing is more fun than talking “over your child’s head”. Make eye contact with the other adult and use the most surreal method of telling them stuff you don’t want your kid to know.

11) Reading stories whilst secretly leaving out half the pages: Bedtimes would be so much later without it but bright kids do tend to catch on. “There once was a very hungry caterpillar, who turned into a beautiful butterfly. The end.”.

12) Checking the history of your child’s internet usage: Someone has to do it but be prepared to be shocked. My child had been watching a short art movie called “Hardcore Detention” for instance. Hmmm.

13) Teaching the facts of life, whilst not spoiling your child’s image of you as being a virgin: “How did you get ME then? By doing THAT with Daddy?!”…”No darling, I bought you in a shop and frankly I wish I gone for a more expensive baby now.” Is what I said.

14) Eating half chewed/sucked sweets (candy): Men can’t do it. Thing is, toddlers decide they don’t want to finish whatever is in their mouths at the most inopportune moments and you don’t always have a tissue.

15) Making vegetables seem like a treat: “Leave those if you like, Mummy wants to eat them anyway”.

16) Reading stories in various accents and voices: Kids don’t know your accents are crap and never be afraid to change what they say either. I’ve almost made my kids VOMIT with laughter by making lovely little characters, um, less polite than normal.

17) Not laughing when your child is being naughty in a really funny way: I can’t do this.

18) Humiliating your child in front of his/her friends: I’m brilliant at this though.

19) Making sure your teenage child has condoms, whilst simultaneously conveying that you don’t want them to have sex: “There are condoms in this drawer for anyone who needs them. I haven’t counted them either” and then FROWN.

20) Giving praise without adding some pressure: DO say “This painting is wonderful!” DON’T add “If you really practice you might be a famous artist! I could have done that but I was TOO LAZY!”.

21) Cleaning your child with spit: And a hankie.

22) Learning about/watching popular kids’ TV shows: Helps you to communicate with your child. Also, you’ll thank yourself if later in life you get a boyfriend 20+ years younger than you, as it means you can chat to him about them too.

23) Choosing, buying and wrapping a present, plus choosing a card AND getting a child to write it, all in transit to another child’s party, located 15 mins from your house: Need I say more. I’m afraid I have had a LOT of practice at this.

24) Being the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas: Awww. It isn’t hard.

25) Dealing with tantrums: Walk away and don’t look back. They’ll soon come running. Or refer to number 9).


11 responses to “The Skills Of Motherhood

  1. This is a must list for all parents!

    #14 reminds me of when my son was very little and was eating a Jolly Rancher he didn’t like. I was trying to type a research paper and he was standing by my desk complaining about it. I told him to spit it out so he stood on his tip toes, put his tongue on my desk and let the candy fall out. I was too busy at the time to clean it up and 16 years later there is still a mark of the Jolly Rancher on my desk. It’s a nice reminder of how cute my son was (okay, still is).

  2. #12 reminds me to ask you, how is LGB these days? Im guessing he’s probably old enough to drop the L. Any girlfriends yet, so he can drop the G too?!!

    • Bran is fine. Recently he went shopping in town with a girl from school… I was like,

      “Was it a DATE? Did you kiss?”.

      “No” he said “I helped her to choose a handbag.”
      Hmmm. You decide.

  3. Bedtime story page count scam makes me laugh out quietly. Also generally skip the middle verse of The Rainbow Connection. Also also, I can’t eat any secondhand gooiness since that one time it turned out to be poo. Looking forward worriedly to the condom thing.

  4. Before being allowed to conceive, this should be required reading for every prospective mother, and they need to be tested on it. Only those in the 80th percentile or above would then be allowed to breed.

  5. A good way of curtailing “I want…” confrontations at the store is to employ the power of… “T H E L I S T” early on in their training. When the child asks for something while shopping, you should commiserate with them, sympathize with them, and then say, “Oh, I do wish I could get that for you… but I’m SO sorry, it’s not on the list of things to get today.” Be aware that this only works up until the age of 5 (max). That’s about the time you’ll hear something along the lines of, “You don’t even HAVE a #%@* list!”
    I have learned this from personal experience… yes, even Roxy was once allowed to bear children – they’ve all since changed their names and can usually be counted upon to be witnesses for the prosecution in my various legal difficulties.

    • Ahahaha! I love The List idea. I had a good one (I should have included) called The Inspector… You see, one day my son saw a Bus Inspector checking people’s tickets on the bus. He was in awe of the power, as people scrabbled to show The Inspector they were travelling legally. After that I made him sit nicely on the bus (he was little) “In case The Inspector gets on and sees you being naughty!” – he sat very still. Before I knew it I’d invented “Shop Inspectors” and “Cafe Inspectors” and, well, Inspectors for everywhere.

  6. I’m TERRIBLE at #17, and unfortunately my 2-year-old knows it. Surely it’s impossible to deal with a small boy pressing his scrotum into his playdoh and declaring “Look at my nice patterns Mummy!” WITHOUT pissing oneself laughing…?

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