The number one way to tell if you are mom material
posted by: gretchen
Can you wipe?
No job is more humbling than motherhood. It’s the role where you find yourself wiping people and things on an hourly basis. When I think about how many cloths I’ve palmed then poised over faces, bottoms, countertops, carpets, hands, feet, toilet seats, windows, sinks, crockpot inserts, lampshades, tummies, armpits, chins and chins and chins, I gasp.
Wiping takes style and skill. It’s circular scrubbing, sacrificing manicures, it’s flipping and folding, rinsing, squeezing, unfurling, balling. Wiping becomes second-nature for the person who is faced with deluges of grime and goo.
The tools of the trade are many. A wise mama knows when to break out wet cloths, dry cloths, scented cloths, disposable, washable, and those destined for a dumpster because the stuff on the other side will be a little too microbial, even for the hot cycle.
It seems mean and more than insulting to distill motherhood down into one humbling act, but I think wiping speaks volumes for who she is and who she must be as a woman and a loving caretaker.
Mom material means putting others first, even when the others happen to wear diapers they fill like loose slot machines. I swear, I’ve heard clang clang clang clang clang before being presented with an intestinal jackpot. Wipe.
Mom material means sensing when hearts are broken. It’s cradling the frightened preschooler, wrapping arms around the bullied 4th grader, rocking the baby with an ear infection. Tears flow like splashing streams. Wipe.
Mom material requires a sense of humor. A shirt is pulled off, revealing a colored bellybutton. A young daughter tries applying eyeshadow to every body party but her eyes. A toddler has dog food crumbs in the corner of his smiling mouth. Wipe.
Mom material displays an uncanny ability to anticipate the future. The mop is retrieved from it’s home in the corner. Mugs are filled with hot cocoa. There’s a clean towel on standby. The kids are outside, playing in the snow. Soon, the floor will be covered in leaves and dirty wet snow. And someone will slosh her cocoa because she is breathless and pink-cheeked and can’t wait to tell you about the fort she built. Wipe, wipe, wipe.
Mom material is a realist. She knows that life is beautiful and messy and that her little ones are imperfect humans, just like she is an imperfect human. She spills her cereal sometimes. She tracks in mud after a sudden storm. She dabs her own eyes when her heart overflows. She swipes her own nose when she catches the virus the kids brought home from school.
Mom material has a memory. There was a time when she was a child and someone looked upon her tenderly when she clang-clanged into her diaper or sloshed in any manner. But then there are the moms who didn’t have that tenderness and my heart goes out to them. Our small daily sacrifices mean much, much more than we can comprehend. I’ve been guilty of announcing how very much I hate that I have to wipe up this or that or oh my word, what is that!?
And then I put myself in their shoes. They need me on so many levels, but it all comes down to one small physical action in the end. I’m proud to be a Wiper.