Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
Motherhood doesn’t require a college degree. It doesn’t even ask for certification or specialized training. Upon careful examination of all the roles a mother must fill, one might begin to wonder why no training is necessary prior to entry into parenthood.
Moms is chauffer. It’s not just driving children back and forth from school, friend’s houses, or extra-curricular activities. The Mom Chauffer has to have extensive training (usually on the job) in defensive driving - and that’s both inside and outside the car. Moms have to watch for the crazies on the road, but they also have to break up fights in the back row, pick up dropped bottles to return to crying babies, and offer wipes, tissues or sunglasses as the needs arise.
Mom as nurse (or doctor). Cleaning up boo-boos is no big deal – unless they come in the middle of preparing dinner, which is going to burn if she walks away from the stove. Moms are also on call for medical emergencies 24/7. Children seem to save their sick and throwing up moments for when dad is out of town. And, even when he is in town, children still come to mom’s side of the bed.
Mom is the housekeeper. Speaking of throwing up, diarrhea and other messy ailments children bestow upon us – after caring for her children, mom still has to clean up the mess. In fact, mom is primarily responsible for most messes in the house. Even if there is a helpful partner or children who have learned to clean up after themselves – there still remains many messes to conquer. Who is it that typically throws away the tissue that didn’t make it into the garbage can? Who empties and cleans the Tupperware filled with leftover food that’s been in the fridge three days too many? Who finds the dirty socks (and actually does something with them) in the corner of the closet?
Mom must also be a strategic analyst. Professional organizer should definitely be on the list of mom’s prerequisites. Someone has to figure out how to get the older children to school, run an errand before taking the younger children to school, stay at school to be Visiting Reader, return to the older children’s school to volunteer in kindergarten, take one child out of school for an eye doctor appointment, feed that child lunch and return him to school, pick up the preschool children from school, rush home to get dinner ready for company that is coming that night, return to the older children’s school for the second grade class play, take the older children home from school, and finish preparing the dinner for the guests that are arriving ------- now!
Mom is a Conflict Resolutionist. Part of being an effective parent is modeling behaviors we want our children to acquire. Somehow, resolving conflicts is a difficult skill to teach to children – even if we model it well. Learning to resolve conflict is a process, and moms often feel like a Ninja – dodging, moving, and striking at a fast-paced, non-stop speed – to put out fires between children.
In addition to the above roles, moms are also teachers, party planners, dieticians and more. The tasks and responsibilities are endless and the stakes are high. Most moms receive no additional parenting training aside from the observations they’ve made as children. There is also no compensation, little sick leave, and no promotions to work toward.
Despite the pressures, the challenges and the constant multi-tasking responsibilities, most moms would not quit their mom-job, even on the most difficult of days.