While I dislike the way society tends to put moms up on a pedestal, I have to say: I kinda get it. Moms are awesome. We're loving. We're capable. We have the magical ability to work within a million different constraints with nothing but our wits and determination and come out with all of our goals met. Being a mom is a never really ending trial by fire, but we see gains year by year. There are, for example, mom skills you'll have before your kid is 2.
Have you ever seen a kung-fu movie where the apprentice has to train under a master in order to learn the ways of martial arts? And they have to go through all these horrible ordeals and at first it's painful and they suck, but by the end of it all they become masters themselves? Being a mom is kind of like that. Also, in this analogy, your baby is a wizened old man with a flowing white beard showing you tough love and, well, that's just entertaining as hell.
None of this is to say you reach your final mom evolution by the time your child is 2. Far from it, actually. My oldest is 5 and I have definitely not seen the top of the mountain yet. However, I can definitely look back at the time between my children's births, and the time they each hit 2, as a period when I was most rapidly developing important skills that would carry through to the rest of my mom career.
Developing Spidey Sense, But For Moms
You know how Spider-Man has a sixth sense (appropriately if unoriginally dubbed his "spidey sense") that enables him to sense danger before it happens? It gives him a lightning fast reaction time and allows him to keep others (and himself) from harm. I'm pretty sure most moms are entirely unimpressed by this so-called "superpower" because we basically all have it. It's how we're able to swipe a trachea-sized object away from our infant just before they put it in their mouths. It enables us to duck seconds before our 18 month old throws yogurt in the direction of our heads.
This instinct, bred of experience and fear, is not innate, but learned. We earn it through a series of close calls and big messes. One day we suddenly realized we developed the necessary mom-sense to avoid pitfalls that once would have thrown off our entire day. I'd really love to see this process unfold in the form of a montage, because I bet it would be cool.
Because you're not putting that baby down until, like, kindergarten. If you have a second kid somewhere in that time, may God have mercy on your soul. It'll be OK, though, because you get used to this one pretty quick. One-handed typing, reading, cooking, make-up, cleaning, everything is one-handed for a while. When you have two hands it's like playing a video game with a cheat code or something.
Ability To Function On Minimal Sleep
Did you know that Gila monsters (a lizard indigenous to the Sonoran Desert) only eats five to 10 times annually? I know, right? That's insane, but it's true. Well, as a mother, you will become like a Gila monster, but with sleep. You will somehow manage to do more with four hours of sleep than most people can muster on eight. People will marvel at your industriousness, fortitude, and strength. You will not hear them, because you will be so exhausted that you've basically been hallucinating since your child was born, but it's all good. You're good. You'll sleep one day. Maybe.
30 Second Diaper Changes
When I first started out, each of my son's eight to 10 diaper changes a day would take approximately three minutes and use 27 wipes. There's a learning curve, for sure. However, with time and practice (and you will get practice because, no joke, 10 diapers a day is within normal range) you will have it down to an art. Your wipe use will be spare. You are going to be like a one-woman NASCAR pit crew, but for baby butts.
Encyclopedic Knowledge Of Your Child's Favorite TV Shows
Remember my Gila monster analogy from earlier? I know all those animal fun facts because my son has been watching Wild Kratts on our local PBS station since he was about 18 months old (he's 5 now). You, too, will develop all sorts of fun trivia to whip out at cocktail parties before sheepishly admitting that you learned it through children's programming. Or maybe you'll just memorize the name of every single little pony in Equestria. Or you'll know the various train routes on the island of Sodor. Point is, you will develop a TV-based specialty.
There's a lot to coordinate as the mother of a young child. Not only do you have your own schedule to manage, but you have to ensure that your little one is having all of their needs met in a timely fashion as well. But somehow, out of practice, necessity, and magic, you manage to get everything to sync up just so and it's miraculous in ways other people cannot appreciate. As such, sometimes other people will f*ck up your perfectly balanced, miraculous schedule. You're allowed to kill those people.
I kid, I kid. Murder is frowned upon even if you have a young child and even the other people in your life are thoughtless monsters. So if you do wind up killing someone because they screwed up your child's sleep schedule for the next week, know that I cannot condone your behavior (but I will 100 percent understand).
A note: perfect timing doesn't happen all the time, but it will happen more as a parent than it did before you were one, simply because you have to fit everything in just so. I say this just because I don't want any of you to freak out if your kid is, like 23 months old and you're like, "But I don't really have a schedule and my days are often so chaotic! I'm a terrible mother!" You're not, in fact, just reflect on everything you've done in the last day or so, including, "Keep everyone clothed, fed, and safe." That's some damn fine work.
Mary Poppins Purse
There is no mystery in life quite so wonderful as that of "The Mom Bag." We manage to fit everything in those suckers. I mean, we have to. Kids, especially the itty bitties, need a ton of stuff, so we just get used to preparing for every outing the way most people would prepare for a trans-Atlantic voyage in 1903. If you're the only mom in your group of friends, know that they will soon realize your newly found superpower, and realize that they will come to rely on you. One night you'll be out with your friends and someone will be, like, "Oh, I need tweezers..." and all eyes will turn to you.
And, somehow, you will have the tweezers. Even if you don't normally carry tweezers, they will be in your bag.
Being Able To Find All Bathrooms Anywhere Within Three Minutes
We just have to know, mostly because it's a matter of life or death. Well, maybe not death, but life or poop everywhere, which will make you want to die.
Moms are jacked, probably because you haven't put that baby down in about two years and they're getting heavy AF. (Your left arm, incidentally, is probably going to have more muscle definition than your right, since most people use their right arm for all the one-handed stuff.)
Also, the need to protect out babies makes us strong. True story: my mom once stopped a car that was rolling down a hill to save my brother and me. She just, like, Hulked the eff out and went for it. In retrospect it's super cool, but at the time I was just like, "Of course she stopped it. She's mom."
The Mom Sway
Another true story: I once went to a team-building thing for work that required everyone to stand in a circle. As I looked around, I noticed that everyone was standing perfectly still, with the exception of every single woman standing who'd raised a baby, myself included. We were all swaying side to side. Within a moment, the head of our office, herself a mother, noticed too and said, "Are we all seeing the mom sway happening right now? I haven't had a baby in 15 years, but I'm still doing it."
This just becomes part of mom DNA or something. We get so used to soothing fussy babes that we just keep doing it all the time for the rest of forever. I don't know that this is a skill, exactly, but it's kind of neat.
The Patience Of A Saint
Because oh my goodness these babies were born to test you.
Mad Improv Skills
So even when your beautiful plans are laid to waste by that horrible person you murdered (or at least thought about murdering), you are able to roll with the punches, spin straw into gold, pull rabbits out of hats, and any other metaphor that indicates a preternatural ability to work well with meager supplies and no preparation. After a diaper blow-out destroyed my daughter's outfit, I managed to fashion her a chic little number out of a swaddle blanket I found balled up in the trunk of my car and even got compliments on her "adorable onesie." That's some skill, you guys.
Not Giving One Single F*ck
Because being a mom leaves far less room for indecision, squeamishness, or self-doubt. Instead, a mom rolls up her sleeves and, time and time again, does whatever needs to be done. 'Tis the way of the mom. One by one, we shed our f*cks until we have no f*cks left for anyone.
At first we feel like this is a slow descent into giving up on life, but once that last f*ck is gone we realize, no, those f*cks were just holding us back. Now we are free! We are free to be who we are and do what we must in order to live our best life. If someone doesn't like it they can go ahead and take a look inside the box where a mom stores her f*cks, only to find it empty.