Much is made of the bag a mother-to-be should pack for the hospital in anticipation of the birth and homecoming of her new baby. But really, the thing new moms should be told to prepare is their Motherhood Survival Kit.
Remember ladies, you will need this kit to get you through at least 18 years, (in reality, much, much, longer) of raising a child from a helpless infant, whose very life is in your hands, to a teenager capable of reminding you of the one and only time you weren't there to greet their school bus and using that to guilt you into extending their curfew an hour.
Everyone in your life will suggest what you need for this life-saving kit. Please know I am no different. Now, if I was to name every single tool required to survive motherhood, I would fill a book, not an essay. But as a mom of three kids, 17, 14 and 11, I would like to offer three crucial things that I think most mothers would agree are vital to maintaining a semblance of sanity.
First thing you will need, Nerves of Steel. Don't look for the bargain brand. You are going to need the top-of-the-line, best-that-money-can-buy nerves. Remember these are going to have to see you through the diaper and spit-up years where you will be on the receiving end of bodily fluids of diverse colors and smells that no written description can do justice to. They will have to last well past the day your sweet little one gets his driver's permit and puts the keys into the ignition of a real car, not the little plastic, toy one that your sister got him on his third birthday that required him to use his feet to "drive."
Don't even get me started on the nerves it takes to handle toilet training, midnight trips to the ER, and puberty.
Second you will need the Patience of a Saint. Now this is an item that you really should get before the stick turns pink, because as anyone who's been there knows, it requires tremendous patience to wait 9 (really 10) months to meet and hold the little person who has been responsible for morning sickness, swollen feet, and kicks to your bladder. But you will really start to appreciate this handy item when your little one sits in their high chair and starts to play the, how-many-times-can-I-drop-my-spoon-on-the-floor-until-mommy-pulls-her-hair-out game.
Then there are neverending questions from your darlings, such as, Mommy if a girl gets a period, do boys get questions marks? Or, Mommy is CVS just like heaven? Let's not forget watching every Disney movie and episode of Sesame Street and Peppa Pig that's ever been made, over, and over, and over again. Then there are homework assignments, school projects, and Common Core exams.
The third and final thing no Mommy Survival Guide can be complete without is Mommy Memory. Some people may tell you that this is a defective product. Some (OK, me) may even blame it for their failure to send in their daughter's field trip permission slip, or that Wednesday was pajama day, but don't let them fool you. Mommy Memory can be amazing. This feature will allow you to remember that your second child now hates pasta and butter, even though it was the only thing they would eat for eight straight years, as well be able to recite the names of any child that ever did something (no matter how minor) that hurt your child. It also allows you to remember the hiccups your baby had in utero, the intoxicating smell of a newborn, or the very first time your child told you they loved you.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that it is this very feature that can be responsible for women such as myself to have more than one child. But since I adore my kids and love (most days) my life as their mom, I think it's a feature you can't live without.
This piece was first published on Kathy's site, My Dishwasher's Possessed!