Seldom in the life of a mother is there one shining moment when the crowd is hushed, and with all eyes upon her, she performs the impossible. You will never hear her announce, “Stand back, before your eyes I will transform my daughter’s favorite Guess blouse which has been stained with kiss-proof, smear-proof lipstick back to its original condition.”

You will not hear drum rolls as on attempt number one, she fails with Spray and Wash, or on attempt number two, when she turns the entire blouse yellow with hydrogen peroxide. For attempt number three, there are no shouts of encouragement and no theme song, only dabs of Clorox and desperation.

At last, victory is sweet. The blouse is like new again. It is difficult to savor the glory of that moment, for waiting in basket number two is her husband’s best white shirt, the left pocket the scene of an ink pen disaster. Two tries and the stain is history. “Yes!” she yells. The dog yawns. It is a scene that is played out daily, in homes across the world, mothers working small miracles.

Mothers who work outside the home deserve a special accolade, possibly a private room at a sanitarium, because day after day, week after week, they perform their job at work and at home as if their world was in perfect order.

In reality, they are engaged in an elaborate game of babysitter roulette. Sometimes they are juggling three or four different caregivers for their children with an eye out for numbers four and five, knowing full well that the day will come when none of them are available. It is the kind of anxiety that drives mothers to grab perfect strangers on the street with kind faces and ask in desperation, “Do you babysit?”

New mothers deserve a medal just for showing up at work and managing to stay awake until 5 p.m. I met one getting out of her car in the parking lot the other day and asked how she was doing with her new baby. I need not have asked. Her eyes were tired and her body language said, “If I make it in the building, I’ll be doing good.” She paused and sighed, “I got up at 4:10 this morning to get myself dressed and the baby ready for day care. I barely made it here. I think I’ve got to start much earlier.”

I couldn’t resist telling her about my friend, Susan, a mother of three with a full-time job. At night she dressed her small children in their outfits for the next day so that when they woke up, all they needed was a clean diaper, breakfast and a hair combing. Of course, she is also probably the woman responsible for introducing the wrinkled look, but if it gets you through the day, why not?

Every day in the life of a mother is a decathlon. There are races — hurdles, high and low, team and individual competition. All are timed events with the reward being that, once the events are over, she gets to fall in bed and do it all over again the next day.

Although one mother I heard about decided it was time to call attention to one of her greatest accomplishments in life. She sent out formal, engraved announcements that her child was finally potty trained. Sort of puts things in perspective.


Diane Blanco
Author: Diane BlancoEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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