Friday, January 13, 2012

Not The First Time, Probably Not The Last

Mostly, I love my job, but some days take a day or two to recover from. Yesterday was one of those days that took so much out of me that today I am sitting here feeling like my brain has been replaced by a wrung-out dish rag. I've got nothin'.

So here's something I wrote a million years ago, originally published in At-Home Mother magazine, Volume 1, Number 2, 1998.*


Live and Learn: A Mom's Eye View Of Cliches and Common Sense

They clutter our conversations and seem always to be on the tips of our tongues. They are words to live by--maxims, bits of wisdom, cliche's built on a grain of truth. But how well do they hold up in the hectic world of modern motherhood? Here's a mother's perspective on some popular platitudes:

A pessimist sees the glass as half-empty; the optimist sees it as half-full.

A mom knows that either way, when the glass spills, it's the same amount of liquid to be wiped up or pre-treated.

Don't count your chickens before they've hatched.

We're pretty sure this is a reference to science fair projects. We strongly recommend vetoing any project that requires finding permanent homes for a dozen or so living things.

Let the buyer beware.

This applies to everything from diet aids yo buy to shed those last few pregnancy pounds to the toys displayed on the pegboard in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.

Look before you leap.

Look not only before you leap, but also before you tiptoe across the kids' room in the dark. Beware tiny, sharp-edged toys magnetically drawn to the softest parts of human feet.

Don't judge a book by its cover.

There's no telling who's been there before you and with which color crayon.

The early bird catches the worm.

And he'll want to keep it forever in a coffee can under his bed. This applies to late risers as well, and far from being limited to worms, it can include a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles and insects.

Still waters run deep.

Except in the case of mud puddles, which, while deceptively shallow, contain a seemingly endless supply of water and sludge.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Moms would rather see no eggs in the basket. Between salmonella and the mess factor, we're convinced no one under ten should have anything to do with raw eggs.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Of course, before we take that step, we have to find clothes that go together, put them on frontward and right-side-out, find socks that match (each other and the outfit), locate misplaced shoes, round up jackets, coats, mittens, hats, sunblock and bug spray (and any other seasonally appropriate accessories), and establish whose turn it is to ride next to the door (by chronicling who rode next to the door each of the last 42, 000 times the car left the driveway). By then, of course, we're too exhausted to go any further than the grocery store.



  1. Love it! Riding next to the door, huh? When I was growing up as one of 9 kids squeezed into a seven-seater minivan (yes, that includes the two front seats), it was always the spot closest to the front (the fresh air source) that was the most desirable. Let's not forget the fun creepie-crawlies contained in the sludge, in the puddles. Ugh.

  2. This was circulating on facebook, thought you'd like it- impeccable timing:[]=667655198&p[]=488740192859

    1. I couldn't make the link work. I tried it signed in and not signed in and neither way worked. Maybe I'm even more exhausted than I thought. ;)

  3. These are fantastic!
    I'm super impressed you've had something published in a magazine.
    I understand those "wrung-out dishcloth" days at that sort of job and hope you can get some rest and rejuvenation.

    1. Thanks. I've had a few minor-ish publication credits. I might have a couple more if I didn't have that wrung-out feeling quite so often. I haven't even finished anything "publication"-worthy since 2005. I doubt it's a coincidence that that's the same year I started the blog. ;)

  4. These are great! May have to "borrow" the last one :)

    1. Thanks, Judy. I was thinking as I typed that last one that arguing about who sits where in a vehicle is probably an outdated concept at least for the younger kids since carseats are recommended for so much longer than they were even when my kids were small. It's great because not only does it keep kids safer, it's probably better for the sanity of their mothers.

  5. We fight over the window seat. Or who rides shotgun. I'm happy, at least for now I don't have to fight him for the car keys. :D
    And I'm not a mother, but that whole thing about "The Bundling Up for the Thousand Mile Journey" I totally get. When I first decided to become a babysitter, I thought I'd always take the kids out. A month later and it was yeah....let's just stay inside. It takes an hour to get each of you ready, and by the time I finish unbundling you up in the morning, it's time to start bundling you up to leave. *sigh*

  6. These are awesome!
    The worm in a can? We lived on a farm for a while and a couple times, I found baby mice and hid them in my dresser drawer. After a few days, they'd disappear. My mom loved this, of course.

  7. I rarely use vacation for sitting around but, I have to tell you, 3 days in and I'm pleased with the result. I feel better than I have in months. I hope you'll consider taking a few days just for you - it sounds as though you need it.

  8. You are so cool and famous! My cliches will never sound the same...