Why Moms Have "Mad Skills"by Cori Linder
As mothers, we’ve got some serious skills.
Whether they’re innate or learned through trial-and-error, our abilities and talents would make any professional resume shudder in jealousy.
Sometimes, we’re not even aware of such skills until long after the fact. Like when, for example, your young son’s eyeball is punctured with a bungee cord hook, and you’ve mastered the art of not completely losing your sanity as you rush him to the hospital. Or when you employ the art of persuasion and “convince” your son to clean his room without complaining. It’s all in the skills.
Here’s a few more of our mother skills:
1. We are the queens of multi-tasking.
In a mere five-minute car ride to school, we can perform several important tasks: create a mental to-do list, stop our kids from arguing in the backseat, remind them about things they’ll probably forget, double-check they have their homework, fuss with the radio station, politely wave at the occasional mother passerby, and quickly check the mirror for lipstick on our teeth while wondering who might have commented on the status we posted on Facebook regarding something funny our kid did. Sometimes, it’s amazing that we remember to breathe, too.
2. We have a sixth sense: mother’s intuition.
We know our children better than anybody, which means when they are balancing precariously on the playground’s monkey bars, only we can accurately predict what will happen next. In other words, we know if they will purposely jump or accidentally fall. And then we praise, warn, or reprimand accordingly. It’s like when my son’s full cup of milk is too close to both the edge of the table and his elbow. “You need to move your cup,” I tell him. “It’s going to spill.” “No, it won’t,” he answers. And then… you know what happens a few moments later. You apparently have ESP, too.
3. We are excellent at empathizing.
We feel our children’s pain: so much, in fact, it can hurt. Like when, for example, our child sadly informs you he has been bullied, and you feel a deep-seated anger in your chest. Or, when you see your little child strung out on the couch looking like death-warmed-over from the flu and staring vacantly at the television, his moves reduced only to blinking and vomiting… you can’t help but wish it was you who had to suffer instead.
4. We offer the gift of advice.
Our children might not always call our advice a “gift,” but rest assured that they probably appreciate it deep down inside. Deep down. Some of us like to give advice more than we like to receive it. This advice (sometimes misconstrued as criticism, judgment, or nagging) often begins with “Maybe you should try…” or “Well, I would suggest…” We give advice about everything, and we naturally assume it’s all helpful, even if it isn’t. A fitting quote by Erma Bombeck: "When your mother asks, Do you want a piece of advice? it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.”
5. We know how to operate off little or no sleep.
This is an essential skill, which if it isn’t innate, it will be learned very quickly. Especially in the first few months of motherhood, the idea of achieving a quality eight-hour sleep cycle is, well, just an idea because it certainly is not reality for most women. It’s amazing how long some moms can wear the same robe for days at a time and cook and clean and organize the kids’ activities with puffy eyes, one of which is only halfway open due to lack of sleep. One day, I had to remove the baby monitor from my bedroom because even when I was sleeping, I wasn’t really sleeping, apparently sub-consciously alert to any baby sounds.
6. We are detail-oriented.
We notice everything, and we pay attention to the seemingly mundane. Some of us observe dirt on the driveway, zippers that are down, dirty fingernails, brown skin spots, Lego pieces in the carpet, armpits without deodorant, cookie crumbs, clothes under beds, toilet seats that are up, readjusted car mirrors, and so much more. To top that off, we know which details to attend to and which to advise our children to take care of.
7. We appreciate the little things in life.
We appreciate what others might take for granted: matching socks, no pee around the toilet, our young child’s “abstract” painting, veggies in his mouth, clean teeth, inventive spelling, random hugs, coffee, quiet time, naps, a good hair day, and jeans that fit looser than the time before.
8. We excel at pointing out the obvious.
Not only do we notice and appreciate the little things, we point them out. For example, when your son is tripping over his feet, you say, “Johnnie, your shoes are untied.” Or, when the phone rings, you announce to your family that the phone is ringing (hoping somebody else will answer it). Ever lose your cool, emotionally melt down, complain about little things that don't matter, and then announce to your family that you are grumpy? You might just hear the reply: "Obviously." My favorite example was when my younger son dressed himself and proudly approached me. “You are wearing a plaid shirt with striped pants,” I told him. “You don’t match.” “I know,” he said. “So what?”
9. We are goal-oriented.
For some of us, the goal is simply to make it through the day without losing our temper. And for the ambitious moms, they’ll even attempt a full night sleep. We set many goals for ourselves, and we try to instill that in our children. For example, they can strive to improve their grades at school. Or, they work to get that next belt in karate. Helping our children set and achieve their goals is an important aspect of parenting. Although, whenever I see a mom continually dragging her daughter to dance class and ignoring her child’s complaints and cries, I can’t help but wonder whose goal is actually being pursued.
10. We have a sense of humor.
Frequently we just have to laugh so that we don’t cry. Raising children is not without its atypical situations -- sometimes they’re humorous, and sometimes not so much. Take peas, for example. You’d be surprised to discover how many peas a young ambitious toddler can squish in his belly button. Or, when your son passes gas very loudly in the store and blames you… also very loudly. In those moments, if you don’t find your sense of humor, you can at least take comfort in the “one day you’ll laugh at this” saying.
11. We are problem-solvers.
There is almost no problem we can’t solve. For example, when my children complain they’re bored, I tell them that’s great because it means they have time to do chores. Suddenly they’re not bored anymore. Problem solved.
12. We are fearless.
Our courage is profound. Not only do we push through the pain of the birthing process, many of us purposely endure labor and delivery more than once! And then, not long after that, we brave the diarrhea-filled diapers, the bowls of our kids’ vomit, the colic, the scary croup-sounding my-kid-can’t-breathe coughs, the parent-teacher conferences, the mean moms, and much more! We are fearless; hear us roar.
13. We persevere.
Despite all the ups and downs of motherhood, we continue to ride the rollercoaster of parenting. Why? Perhaps, it’s because the rewards of parenting far outweigh its challenges. Or, it’s because we hold on so dearly to those precious moments when our child sneaks in a cuddle or writes a heartfelt misspelled letter. Or, maybe it is just knowing that you are loved so incredibly and unconditionally by these little beings, and that they are truly gifts from God. Regardless, we continue to persevere, plan for the best, and hope for the occasional nap.
Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease. -Lisa Alther
About the Writer: Cori Linder is a professional editor as well as the Featured Blogger for Modern Mom. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.