08 May 2011

Mothers' School

One of my two best high school friends, who I still fondly remember as ET even though she got married and the T changed to an H, often lamented her inability to do things that her mother could.  Things like slicing sandwiches so the fillings don't fall out, and packing suitcases so that everything fits neatly.

She had a theory that once a woman comes of age, possibly after her wedding but before her first child, she attends a compulsory course at a place called "Mothers' School."

At Mothers' School, one learned how to cut sandwiches, pack suitcases, and all those other things that our Mums were so good at, but that we hadn't come close to mastering.

The other day, Buzz and Jessie asked me how I was able to organise Jessie and Woody into the double stroller, walk to a little convenience store close to Buzz's school for bread and milk, then to Buzz's school to pick him up and then back again.

Okay, so they didn't come up with that, I admit that I had been mightily talking myself up: "How awesome am I that I can get the little guys ready, walk to the shops, get bread and milk and pick Buzz up on the way home?  All without a car?  I am astounding!!!"

Hence the elicited admiration: "Wow Mum, how do you know how to do all of that?"

Inspired by ET, I drew on our childhood legend.  "Well, after I got married to Dad but before Buzz was born, I went to a place called Mothers' School.  It's where they teach you how to -er- to be awesome, like me.  I was in a class with my friend ET, and we learned how to, um, cut sandwiches so the filling doesn't fall out, and how to pack a suitcase so that everything fits neatly, and how to do a school pickup and get groceries even when the car is in the fixing shop!"

They were awed.

Now at this point, I was sorely tempted to come clean and say that Mothers' School was just make-believe and it was a funny thing my friend ET and I used to joke about, but I thought, "No, for once, I'm ploughing this furrow.  I'm going with it."

"Oh, but no, I've always put a clear distinction between Real Life and Imagination for the kids, I can't string them along now!" I countered.

"Why not?" I argued. "It might lend some respect for the position of motherhood."

It was a bit like this:

I stuck with the yarn, worrying slightly about what would happen once I was found out.  But in the end, I decided to set myself a challenge of keeping it up for as long as the children believed in it.  I can't wait for the day when their eyes get wide and a look of complete "A-HA!" creeps upon their faces and they say, "but I thought it was REAL!" and I have to sheepishly admit that I was just born awesome, or some such excuse.

For the moment though, I am enjoying the charade.

"I skipped class on the day they taught us how to do the ironing," I improvised.  I figured there's no use pretending anything about my ironing prowess, and the confession added to the realism.  "Other classes I skipped were on how to motivate myself to fold and put away the washing once it's dry, and being a nice Mummy when I haven't had enough sleep.  Let this be a lesson to you kids: don't skip classes, ever.  But on the up-side, I can't half cut a decent sandwich!"

What classes did you skip at Mothers' School?  What subjects do you wish for a make-up course in?


Swift Jan said...


I too skipped the ironing class, well actually I skipped all the classed that involved the laundry.
I also skipped the cooking classes and the helping your children with homework classes.
I wouldn't mind a makeup lesson in being motivated to keep the house in "there are visitors coming" condition!

tinsenpup said...

I think I may have missed out on Mothers' School altogether, but I've been slowly taking night classes for the last decade to try to catch up. I haven't got to 'Washing the Dishes in a Timely & Efficient Manner' yet, but I got a B+ in 'Keeping up with the Laundry'.

Andi said...

I can't even begin to list all of the classes I skipped...But I can tell you I got an A+ in delegation!!

Tracy P. said...

I love this!! I wasn't even aware there was an ironing class. Don't see the need for that. They are probably withholding my diploma until I pass the remedial Keeping Your House Actually Clean Instead of Merely Tidying Up On Occasion (and teaching your children to do the same), but my employer is not withholding my salary until I produce said document. I did not do so well with Patience either, but I did make out with a passing grade in Multitasking.

On the up side, I aced Celebration and Finding Beauty in the Everyday.

You truly are awesome, Kate! You make me smile, and I know your kids are going to draw deeply from the well of Motherhood School you are providing for them!

Caitlin said...

I don't know whether I skipped it, but I certainly failed Housework 101. I'm hoping for a pass mark by the time I'm 89.

CraftyMummy said...

I was absent when they taught How to scrub a Shower and How to Clean the Oven.

I certainly was there though for Planning Mummy Time-out and Bribing Children to Pick up Toys.

Cath said...

Patience. I have none.

So... do they have a Daddy's Domestic School?

Givinya De Elba said...

Ooooh, now there's an idea. Hands up for having input into the curriculum?

(Sorry Mr de E.)

Hippomanic Jen said...

I think my enrolment is deferred! But it's not like I need it just yet...!

Crazy Sister said...

I think I did pretty well on all my mother's school exams at the time, but you know how hard it is to keep up the standards you once had. When you know that nobody's going to mark you and present you with a certificate, the motivation to keep applying all those boring subjects goes out the window.

The class I missed was "Coping - stale pee in the toilet seat hinge, vomit in your hair, picking up soggy bread with your fingers."

Fail, fail, fail!