Motherhood's Job Description

>> Monday, 21 September 2009

There was an article in The Times this morning about new tests that have been introduced to detect the early signs of various cancers. One of the tests mentioned to detect early signs of bowel cancer was the FOBT (faecal occult blood testing) scheme which is being introduced across the UK. Although it is non-invasive, can be done by the patient in the privacy of their own home, and is certainly a lot less unpleasant than a colonoscopy, the scheme is apparantly less than successful, with only 50% of patients approached actually taking part because of their reluctance to handle stool samples.

What are you willing to bet that the 50% who do comply is mainly composed of mothers who at some point spent years wiping their children's bottoms?

And this got me thinking about things you never expected to be part of Motherhood's job description. Here are just a few of them...

1. The ability to tune out multi-directions and criticisms of driving from the back of the car whilst simultaneously doing the school run, mentally running through your to-do and shopping lists, worrying about the fact you left the dishwasher on and the water supplies are due to be turned off today, asking your older child to quickly run through their spellings, and writing 'notes to self' on the matters of unpaid bills, the night nappy left on the floor of the bedroom, the name tapes to be sewed on, the not-small matter that supplies of chocolate have run low. And then having the strength to smile at the teacher when you finally deliver your child to school.

2. The ability to sound informed on the advantages of diesel vs petrol fuel when questioned at length by a 3 year old.

3. The ability to negotiate between two injured parties both wanting to wear the policeman's uniform from the dressing up box, and the quickness of mind to suggest that one of them be an undercover police-officer 'for added secrecy'.

4. The ability to throw inhibition to the winds and race around a park pretending to be a monster, growling, snorting, and generally being unpleasant whilst at the same time acknowledging friends and acquaintances in a 'this is perfectly normal behaviour' way.

5. The ability to distinguish a small-boy 'I don't care that Thomas is on his way to the station, you need to go to the toilet now!' smell from more general small-boy produced wind and flatulence...

6. The ability not to faint at the evidence of either.

7. The presence of mind to cope with demands from visiting playmates for a) jam sandwiches with honey on the top, b) money so that they can go and buy a magazine, c) their complaints that they are bored and that they don't WANT to go to the garden and their nanny never makes them go outside after school, and to keep smiling throughout

8. The diplomacy to smooth things over when your son tells same visiting playmate that the reason he wasn't invited to his party was because your son didn't want him there...

9. The ability to discount a certain amount of low-level stainage on your clothes.

10. The ability to forget where the nearest dry-cleaner and shoe repair shop actually are, due to lack of use.

11. The ability to apply mascara - pre-school run - to eyes that can barely open after a night of disrupted sleep, and to convince yourself that the results do make a difference.

12. The ability to zone out - with your eyes open - whilst looking incredibily interested and muttering appropriate negatives or affirmatives when being regaled with the latest Power Ranger or Transformer adventures.

13. The ability to wipe up wee first thing in the morning - without gagging and then having to go back to bed to recover - when your son over-shoots the target.

14. The front to tough it out when your 6 month-old baby throws up all over a friends' new sofa, the friend, and their expensive cashmere sweater.

Anything to add?


dulwich divorcee 21 September 2009 at 12:02  

Incredibly impressed by the undercover policeman line. Mind you, I'm not sure it would work with undercover princesses .....

Mwa 21 September 2009 at 13:42  

The overshooting keeps surprising me. I have a clean husband, so I was not expecting it.

bsouth 21 September 2009 at 14:12  

Nope, I think you've just about got it covered there!

Expat mum 21 September 2009 at 15:44  

These poo-phobics. Haven't they heard of Marigolds?

Iota 21 September 2009 at 16:22  

The ability to read a story book out loud, with expression, while thinking of something else. This is a skill I've only recently acquired. I keep saying to daughter "oh, I've missed a page or two, and flicking back", and then realising I haven't, but have just been on reading auto-pilot. It's a nice feeling to think that even after 12 years of motherhood, I'm still developing new skills. I'm sure that will look super-impressive on my cv...

whistlejacket 21 September 2009 at 16:44  

Very funny, something makes me think these wouldn't be in a father's job description or is that a terribly sexist thing to say?

The ability to have a calm and collected conversation with friends while your child kicks, screams, wails and clings onto your legs.

Potty Mummy 21 September 2009 at 20:40  

DD, but of course it would - cinderella and all that! Or am I over-optimistic about little girls' ability to disregard the sparkles of the ugly sisters (and Barbie)?

Mwa - I'm hoping they grow out of it. Friends with older boys though do not fill me with hope.

BS - what? Not even one addition?

EPM - clearly not. That is because they are men and have - in the main - never encountered them... (Gosh, am I stereotyping?)

Iota, me too! Where did that come from?

WJ, absolutely, I can't believe I missed that one out! (And re: your first comment, see my comment to Expat Mum...)

BoozleBox 21 September 2009 at 21:36  

The ability to ensure that projectile vomiting baby only hits you and not the rug/duvet/wall etc.

The ability to make peace with the fact you are now the sort of person who would rather clean vomit off your own bra than have to wash rug/duvet/wall one more time.

Ability to feign interest in 80 billionth lego spaceship design.

The ability to spend an entire afternoon completing one short conversatiion with a friend because one or both of you have to break off every sentence to yell, cajole, warn, comfort, or assist one or more small children.

Undercover policeman is inspired. Bonus chocolate for that one.

nappy valley girl 21 September 2009 at 21:44  

The ability not to care that the small person sharing the bed with you, who's wet their own bed, stinks of wee and is rather damp. You are just too damn tired to care...

Rosie Scribble 21 September 2009 at 22:27  

The line about the low-level stainage made me laugh out loud!!

Potty Mummy 22 September 2009 at 11:38  

BB - spot on, especially that last one about the conversation. I can't remember the last time I completed one.

NVG, oh yes, that one. How could I have forgotten? (Surpressed memory is my first guess at how I could have forgotten...)

RS - oh, you know that one too?

The Green Stone Woman 22 September 2009 at 11:42  

Boy, you're not kidding! We moms are very good at multi-tasking and dealing with the products of the bodily functions. Nothings is weird or odd to us and we don't turn up our nose at anything. I must remember that now, when I get frazzled, how I used to handle all these things so easily when I was younger and more able. I do deal well with the animals, I've had enough preparatory training apparently.

A Modern Mother 22 September 2009 at 12:05  

...the ability to not gag when passing an unflushed toilet...

Potty Mummy 22 September 2009 at 20:26  

Irene; kids and animals. Aren't they the same thing?

Modern, sad, but true.

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