Job Title – Mother
Experience – None necessary.
Duties – Caretaker, nurse, cook, housekeeper, educator, disciplinarian, therapist, security guard, events planner, dot. dot. dot.
*Note- Candidate must possess flexibility similar to the human pretzel lady at the circus, as the above description is subject to change without notice.
Let’s face it, kids keep a running tally in their minds of every chore or good deed they’ve ever done – to be used as leverage when they’re campaigning for something.
They all do it.
For shits and giggles, lets closely examine a mothers job description.
In fact, let’s be completely outrageous and pretend the level of acknowledgement bestowed upon her on Mothers Day depends on it.
JOB DESCRIPTION – short version
Incubate alien life for 10 months (40 weeks = 280 days = 10 months) which is likely to cause nausea, vomiting, indigestion, strained and sprained muscles, back pain, hemorrhoids, constipation and weight gain.
This is the EASY part.
Deliver alien offspring – don’t worry, if you can’t manage to push the melon sized package through your peep hole sized opening, because the valiant obstetrician will just cut it out for you.
And quit whining – you have a baby to take care of. This is no longer about you.
First five years at a glance- feed, bathe, dispose of stinky waste products, ensure minions get enough rest or they’ll morph into rabid Gremlins and eat you alive. And oh yeah – keep those adorable little buggers out of harms way.
It’s all on you Mamacita, you’ve been enlisted for a 24/7 special ops assignment that will stretch into the better part of two decades.
Believe it or not, it doesn’t get much better than this. This is the tender era of hopes, dreams and endless cuddles. Embrace it with both hands – these sunny days are numbered.
Ages 5 – 12 The fruit of your loins are becoming more independent. Add education, socialization and extra curricular activities to the above basic needs list and you have a pretty accurate picture of your new job description.
At this critical point you’ll be forced to re-evaluate and adjust goals accordingly. You’ll be comparing your initial expectations set out of sheer blissful ignorance versus the reality of your child’s actual development.
This can be a bitter pill to swallow. A colossal bummer even, as most parents have a certain ideal vision of how they’d imagined their child to be.
Newsflash – Special needs and unique circumstances happen.
If you haven’t read the incredibly witty poem Welcome to Holland written by a parent faced with a special needs child, pause here and take a moment.
Ages 12 – 18 The slow painful transition to young adult. The good news is that your brood is now independent in hygiene, dressing and feeding themselves. Although some days this may be highly disputed. Your role becomes supportive- in addition to holding the gavel as wise counsel and disciplinarian, you’re their primary source for nourishment, clean clothes and transportation.
You perfect the art of eating on the run, prioritizing laundry into emergency loads like towels and underwear versus the rest, and that bucket in the laundry room once designated for potty accidents is replaced with a black caldron for panties caught in the red tide.
It’s important to state here that installing an aerosol form of Xanax in your home would not be overkill.
As your child nears the date of their high school graduation you learn to thank God every single day for the little things-
My kid is NOT…
*pregnant with innocent life
*fighting for his life in the ICU
*runaway or lost
For some, these simple things are suddenly enough. Thoughts of college and it’s importance in the big scheme of things may be shuffled to the back burner.
Again you pause to re-evaluate your once naive parental expectations versus the reality of raising actual free-thinking creatures with intricate brain wiring and complex chemistry.
Ages 18+ The struggle for independence. For a few, the transition is relatively smooth. The honor students and those gifted with superior athletic or artistic talent may not miss a beat diving into this exciting next chapter. For others, it’s the beginning of a long painful journey through a dense cloudy tunnel filled with uncertainty.
You are the parental rock that keeps them focused, encouraged and grounded.
It’s important to remember that a person in crisis cannot always see the forrest through the trees. The stress of chronic crisis often leads to tunnel vision. Life is a game of survival.
That said, common afflictions like chronic anxiety and depression amongst other mental illnesses and special needs blow a dense fog into an already hazy and uncertain forrest. It’s not uncommon for the afflicted to become self absorbed.
Most moms with a special child or situation knowingly waive any hope or expectation of being lifted onto the sacred Mom pedestal every Mother’s Day, simply because it’s not in the cards… and it never was.
The rearing of special offspring requires a delicate yet potent combination of unconditional love, dedication, endurance and often times complete selflessness.
It’s the nature of the beast.
You were given this hand in life because the powers that be – knew you were up to the challenge; you were carefully chosen to participate as a member of the Parental Special Forces.
That’s like regular parenting, except with the grit of a Marine and stamina of a Navy Seal.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the special moms most deserving of exceptional recognition – who are also the least likely to receive it.
Hats off to you… the few and the proud.
May the sun shine on your face today and always.
You’re loved and appreciated more than you will ever know.