My Mom Logic

Before my husband and I had kids, I was in awe of parents. I particularly marveled on a child's first birthday. I clearly remember saying to my husband, "Holy cow! they kept that kid alive A.Whole.Year! That takes a lot of work! You have to feed them multiple times a day and everything!" One could say that I gave motherhood and all it entailed my utmost respect and had very few expectations of mothers other then the survival of their offspring.

The moment I saw two lines on the pee-pee stick, however, merely keeping a baby alive did not seem nearly as awe inspiring or impressive a feat to me. My standards instantly careened to ridiculously high levels along with my hormones. I remember weeping copiously one night, telling my husband that we should arrange to give our unborn baby up for adoption because we could not manage to keep up with our laundry. Proper parents just did not have piles of folded laundry on their bedroom floors! Ever!

I suppose the pregnancy hormone cocktail could account for some of that, but the shift in my standards remained extreme even after I delivered the placenta.

I resolved that my child would not blow out his first candle until he had mastered baby Russian, Chinese, Spanish, German and French (I had the tapes and I played them to him every morning as he grinned happily and vacuously at me, no doubt more focused on his next poop then the "tonal memories" One Step Ahead had assured me would give him the edge over the other babies in the job market.)

When kid number two came along exactly two years later, I waddled home from the hospital mid-labor to watch my firstborn open his presents and blow out the candles on his cake until my groaning through contractions traumatized him too much and I had to tear myself away from doting upon him in order to give birth. (I felt real guilt over this by the way).
(yes, the lumpy figure in the photo above is me, filming him between contractions)

Lest I paint the picture of an all sacrificing Madonna figure, let me assure you that I got more real as the kids started piling up. I let child number two unravel the language taps so I could have a moment of peace, and by the time kid number three came along 18 months later, I was most disgruntled to be sent home to my toddler and preschooler only 16 hours after giving birth. I bear a grudge over that to this day.

I may be keepin' it a little more real now, but like most mothers I suspect, my mom logic remains skewed. My husband recently found me distraught with guilt over the many hours of TV I let our second child watch while I was nursing/trying to survive our third child, because "studies show that it lowers IQ by several points when kids under age 2 watch TV! I broke his brain with that Elmo video"

Now bear in mind that Kid #2 consistently scores straight A's, and has nary a hint of learning difficulties, but the "what-ifs " of Mom Logic still haunt me. I bet he could have designed a working Spaceship by now, using nothing but K-nex and recycled generic cheerio boxes if Seasame Street had not rotted his brain before he even had a chance..

As you can tell I've come a long way from the days of "Holy Smokes your kid survived a WHOLE YEAR IN YOUR CARE! High five sistah!" But I don't necessarily think it is in the right direction.

Imagine for a moment if you will, gentle reader that you or I are on a job interview. As we sit down nervously across from the interviewer she with all her sleek little power suited, smooth chignon-ed hiring power, she smiles and launches into her spiel:

" Hi Ms.Mom, we are happy that you are interested in our company. Let's start by telling you a little about the job shall we? Let's will be the CEO/CFO of a small, but successful and growing organization.

In addition to these responsibilities you will directly oversee:

  • human resource management,
  • public relations,
  • research and development,
  • job training,
  • security
  • transportation
  • and Union negotations.
Because of your transportation responsibilities, you will spend a lot of time on the road, but we expect you to be sure that things in the office are running smoothly at all times, and that those employees not traveling with you are well supervised in your absence. You would, of course, be responsible for hiring suitable individuals to take care of things while you are away.

Furthermore, you will be involved in employee mediation and conflict management several times a day.
Our employees tend to be irrational and explosive from time to time. This unfortunately, often coincides with our busiest times. Some periods of employee volatility are prolonged. Most of your employees will experience profound communication difficulties from time to time. Do you have any experience in psychology and human development? Oh good, that would certainly be an asset. That and the patience of a saint, ha-ha, oh no, just a small joke Ms. Mom.

Still interested? Moving on...
Understand that your responsibilities are dynamic and will shift and evolve constantly. The learning curve is more of a cliff. Once you have mastered a task, circumstances and situations will change, requiring you to find new solutions. You will constantly be expected to be on your toes, think on your feet, stay cool in emergencies and do it all on minimal sleep.

This position is not a good fit for you if you are inflexible.
You are expected at the office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Vacation time is negotiable but expect none and you won't be disappointed. Incidentally, you would not receive sick or personal days either. We expect that you come into work when you are ill, but you would need to make every effort not to infect anyone else because you would also be the company nurse and your services will be required even if you are sicker then your patients.

Did I yet mention that the position includes all janitorial duties? (Frequent Haz-Mat situations will need to be dealt with-you're not squeamish about bodily fluids I presume?) Oh, and cafeteria duties would be yours too! We expect our employees to be fed nutritionally sound, well-balanced meals within our very limited budget, but please be aware that many of them require special "consideration" due to their ever-dynamic "preferences".

In addition, uniforms are worn on our premises, and we maintain an on-site laundry. You would be responsible for all laundering duties. You would also act as our groundskeeper and maintenance crew (you may or may not have someone to assist you in those duties, but you will almost certainly have to provide on-the- job training to that individual.)

Above all else, it is imperative that we maintain a high standard of morals and ethics in our organization. It is up to you to create a working environment conducive to employees developing in spirituality and character. You will need to provide constant instruction, encouragement and example to this end. Of course, regular disciplinary action will need to be taken. These situations can get very tense, so try not to take anything that is said personally. There may be years at a time where nobody will seem to like you. There will be times when you may hear or read rumors that your people hate you and/or wish you would disappear. Again, don't take this personally, deep down they will love you, even if they don't know it.

Under no circumstances will any employee be dismissed. This includes cases of poor performance, insubordination and embezzlement. Furthermore, our employees are to feel valued and appreciated at all times (even, no, especially when disciplinary action is being taken).

Compensation will not be, shall we say, traditional. You will get regular performance reviews, expect them to be harsh. You will be the one issuing the reviews for the most part-although there will be input from your subordinates-much of that will be negative too.

So Ms Mom, that gives you a general outline of the position, of course there is much more to the job... but that's the bare-bones gist of it.

So, why do you think we should hire you? What can you bring to the table?"

Now, I am aware that the whole mom "job description" thing has been "done" before, but I still think this sort of comparison/reality check is a valuable exercise. It helps to keep things in perspective.

Ok so that job description? Let's face it, is ludicrous, it's insane, it's impossible. It's what every mother I know undertakes every day. That and so much more.

Never mind keeping our kid alive! Keeping ourselves alive and even somewhat sane, is freaking fantastic! And many moms do it in addition to another career. It is simply super-human. It is indeed awe-inspiring.

But still so often we grossly undersell what we do. If we don't have the laundry under control, we feel inadequate, if our kid misbehaves we feel inadequate, if we feed the fam cereal for dinner we think we are failing, if we aren't enjoying it all we wonder what is wrong with us.

Where is the logic to this? Did you see that job description? Why aren't we more impressed with ourselves?!

Just because not everything is perfect all the time, or any of the time, the fact is we keep things rolling. We get out of bed, we don't fire our kids even when they desperately deserve it, we are on the job every single day, come what may. And the rewards? The compensation? Substantial, priceless even, we do it because it is worth it. But payday is erratic and unpredictable, and motherhood is the ultimate marathon, an exercise in endurance at times. Which is why we have got to give ourselves a break, a hand, and some real respect on the job once in a while-because that's real mom logic.

Every so often we've got to sit back, look at our progeny with pride and say, "apart from everything else, I kept that kid alive".

This is my official entry for the Mom Logic Mother of all Bloggers contest. If I should make it into the top 10 entries, I will be soliciting your votes, if not, it was an honour just to be nominated (even though depending on who you are, you were told,begged or threatened to nominate me)

I thought it was appropriate for Works for Me Wednesday too. For more on what works for other people on Wednesdays, check out We Are That Family.

I'm reading: My Mom LogicTweet this!


Brianna @ Heart(h) Management said...

Whew. I needed that reminder today. Not only do I keep these kids alive, I give them a whole, whole lot more. Way to go me! ;)

fidget said...

there are many a day where i climb in to be and think everyone is still alive and no one swallowed a quarter (that i know of) that makes today a sucess

It Feels Like Chaos said...

What an awesome post and so true! I'm on my 3rd child and have had to adjust my expectations of myself, too. Now if I go on an outing with all 3 of my kids and return with all 3 I consider a huge success!

Muthering Heights said...

LOL, my kids will all be about a year apart, and it still amazes me that they have survived!

Dave @ Home School Dad said...

Nice post good advice for Dads too especially stay at home dads like myself.

~~tonya~~ said...

I feel like I just got a pep talk. TFS! Great information.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Thanks I needed a laugh!


Sherry said...

Great post! THank you for the encouragement!

Aaron said...

Brilliant! Standing and applauding your post but more importantly the awesome job you have done with our chillins.

Kate said...

Oh, your post made me laugh! Especially the "I broke his brain with that Elmo video" bit. LOL I've seen other mommy job descriptions, but I think yours is the best. =)

"Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?"

Laura: said...

You are awesome Kirsty! I am so glad I have the opportunity to get to know you better! :)

Mrs. M said...

I remember when Monkey was born I swore that he wouldn't watch TV until he was 16.

That lasted until he was 8 months old and his separation anxiety got so bad that I had to hold him when I peed or listen to him scream like his skin was peeling off. Once I realized that the TV was a shiny shiny distraction that allowed me to pee with BOTH hands available, TV and I made friends!

I think you've expressed a great example of pretty universal Mom Logic (imperfection=bad bad mommy) but have given some light at the end of the tunnel....all anyone needs to do to get over this bit of mom logic is have more kids!

I kid. (Kind of.)

Good luck in your contest!

Bahama Shores Mama said...

SAHM _ the recesstion proof job! Thanks for the validation.

Janet said...

Brilliant and perfectly timed as I went to bed last night feeling like everyone did everything better than I. Thanks for the reminder of the value of what we mom's do, and what you do so well.

Mrs. Querido said...

Oh wow...when you put it that way, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD SIGN ON FOR THAT JOB?????

And yet we do, several times over even!

Thanks for reminding me that I AM PRETTY AMAZING :)


Oh, and I hope you win..that was an excellently written article.

I cannot believe you waited through contractions to be there for your child's birthday...that is hardcore mommying!

alwaysadorable said...

I definitely needed to hear that today! Thanks Kristy! Oh and I was able to fix the links in my latest post as well! Glad that you stopped by. :D

trish said...

Kirsty, Very masterfully done:) I absolutely loved it!!

nyn said...

If I haven't said it before, I LOVE YOU!!! This was so much what I should hear today and I can think of many woman who need it to. You rock and thanks for taking the time to write down such valuable thoughts about motherhood.

Tooj said...

This is a GREAT entry. I will vote...just tell me when. I really identified with the paragraph about underselling ourselves. I constantly wrestle with these negative thoughts. :(

kristine said...

great post!

Kami said...

Just visiting you from SITS, and I have to say...Wow! That is a mouthful of wisdom! I honestly do marvel sometimes that I have managed to keep my daughter alive for 16 months and counting...even if I have rotted her brain with a little too much Sesame Street and Blue's Clues on occasion. Thanks for the reality check!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post! You truly do deserve to win! I guess the pay that doesn't come in the packet is in the pictures of Finny! How adorable was/is he and the others!

Rosana V. said...

congratulations on your nomination! wonderfully said -- we do need to give ourselves that little pat on the back more often than we do. best of luck!

Lisa Mom of 2 Boys said...

Congratulations on Top 10! It is an honor to be in the running with you!

Carolee said...

Great post! So true- you kind of scared me when I read that! I do more than I thought!

Maybe I should print this out for my kids!

Sara A Broers said...

You have described the life of a Mom FABULOUSLY!