I’ve been a Mommy for 26 years. I know lotsa’ stuff. I’ve earned my gray hair, wrinkles and the jelly-belly that looks like a road map. I feel called to give away some of my hard-earned wisdom and reveal to the younger generation the skills needed to survive this arduous occupation.
There are many qualifications to be a Mommy, but to keep from overwhelming you with my high standards, I’m keeping it simple. I’m giving just three qualifications. Yep, just three.
I’m not being prejudiced by calling them Parental Qualifications, just honest. These qualifications are rarely achieved by the male species. If you’re male, go ahead, shoot for the stars and aim for the impossible because the sky’s the limit. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. I don’t really believe this, but you can try and then blog about it. Please. I will read that post. You’d be what my teenage son calls a “Try-Hard.” Believe me, if a teenager sneers when he says it, you don’t wanna’ be called that.
1. How to Hang Toilet Paper
My daughters moved into their own apartment awhile ago. We visited this weekend. I had to use the potty. No, I wasn’t checking to see if it was clean, I really had to go. Really, I did.
The toilet paper roll was empty. The spare roll was on the counter. I laughed out loud. I knew they couldn’t live without me! But, no, I didn’t hang the new roll for them. I used Tough Love and left it on the counter. They gotta’ grow up. I’m cuttin’ the apron strings, baby!
You see,only highly skilled personal can hang toilet paper. I’ve blogged about this before.
Toilet paper became a slight obsession because at high tide in our home, we had eight people living here. According to medical standards, that would be a minimum of 32 voids a day, 11,680 voids a year, using 4 squares each wipe, 46,720 squares, each single roll now has 100 squares, that’s 467 rolls in a year, or 1.28 rolls used per day. Don’t get me started on the 2, 920 bowel movements in a year, not counting illness. Yes, we went through a lotta’ toilet paper.
Putting up a new roll can be especially hard under duress, like if company is coming or your whole family has the flu. Because this is so difficult, it’s rare that another family member gains enough confidence and finesse to master this task. You must shoulder the responsibility alone.
Oh, moms also need to know how to reroll and entire roll of toilet paper when a toddler realizes how quickly and how fun it is to unroll an entire roll. I didn’t say IF, I said WHEN. They also have to learn just how long an entire roll of toilet paper can bob in the clean toilet bowl before being fished out, dried out and still be used. Just warnin’ ya.
Helpful Hint: To keep people from using too much toilet paper, squish the roll in half before hanging it. The crease keeps it from spinning like a game show contraption and will make it unroll pathetically slow, one square at a time.
2. How to Identify an Empty Milk Carton
If you’re scoffing, you’re not a parent. Milk Carton Duty takes a brilliant eye and well-honed decision making abilities. Determining when a milk carton is empty and knowing the follow-through required is a skill not usually obtained until late adulthood.
First, use your auditory abilities to determine the milk content by shaking the closed container. If you hear splashes, there’s milk in there. If this were as easy as you’re thinking it is, I wouldn’t need to write this post, would I? Next, if you aren’t sure if it’s enough to keep, look into the carton to apply optical judgment.
The next step is the hardest part. If the carton is empty, rinse and recycle. If there’s milk left in the container, it goes in the fridge. This is often where mistakes are made. Immature, unskilled people often get confused and put empty containers in the fridge and leave the full ones on the counter to sour.
This picture was not posed. As I was blogging away, I wandered into the kitchen for another cup of coffee and found this on my counter. True story. It reinvigorated my desire to pass on my words of wisdom for young women of today.
As a Tough Love Mom, you must establish that less than ten drops doesn’t constitute “there’s milk left” and those ten drops can be thrown out. If there isn’t enough for a bowl of cold cereal, there isn’t enough milk to keep. Having ice cold milk in the house requires family team work. The weakest link can ruin it for everybody.
Helpful Hint: If offspring are having a hard time remembering to put the milk away, let them go a few days without or drink powdered milk.
3. How to Identify Clean & Dirty Clothes
As with most Mom jobs, discernment is extremely necessary, especially for Laundry Duty. A Mom identifies dirty laundry and knows it goes in the hamper. Now you know why I won’t call these Parental Qualifications. If you’re male you might be mumbling to yourself, “Hamper? What’s a hamper?”
A Mom knows what clothing is clean and needs to be put away in dressers and closets.
It may sound easy to the novice, but in actual family practice this tends to be a highly challenging area. It is not uncommon for Moms to find entire closets, drawers and/or the space under the bed full of dirty clothes after she spent the entire day doing laundry. It’s inversely obvious that her hamper can often be full of clean, folded clothes.
As with the milk containers, the eyes and the nose are the main tools to achieve this skill set.
Dirty clothes have spots, stains, spills, boogers, food residue, wrappers, candy and misc. items in the pocket and usually give off a tell-tale odor that the article of clothing has come into contact with a smelly child, who has come in contact with pets, flora and fauna, and anything expressly forbidden by Mom, like permanent markers.
Clean clothes do not have spots, stains, spills, food residue and have empty pockets. They will smell like fabric softener.
The above is the hardest part of laundry. The actual chore of choosing the proper detergent, stain removal product, fabric softener and bleaching method, sorting by color, fabric type and weight, choosing the appropriate washing, rinsing and drying temperatures, setting the speed and strength of machine agitation, determining length of wash and dryer time, knowing which fabrics are line dried and which are machine dried, what type of hanger to use for each of the products, best folding techniques for the laundry, and finding those missing socks will seem easy. However, if you need help, consider reading my Laundry Schmaundry series.
Helpful Hint: If the clothes aren’t in the laundry hamper, they don’t get washed. Remind them before you begin, then hold your ground. It’s more about training the Mom than the kids.
If you are highly discouraged at this point, rally, girl, rally! You can achieve this high level of proficiency with practice. Just remember, Motherhood is not for Wimps. If you lock yourself in a bathroom and cry over mountains of dirty laundry and soured milk it doesn’t mean you’re a Wimp, it means you’re a Mother. If you make an escape rope out of the dirty laundry and hurl yourself into the backyard to live in the garden shed, you might be a Wimp and need to toughen up.
But I promise, with more diligent practice you too, will be able to brag about not only surviving motherhood, but having Skills You Can’t Put on a Resume.