Some days I feel much better prepared for what motherhood requires than other days.
Some days it all comes together quite well, and the bills are paid, and all the batteries work, and the children play happily together and have shining teeth. Other days nothing gets done, and it rains in the windows, and the cat leaves tongue prints in the grease in the unwashed pan on the stove, and the children look like prime candidates for the cast of “Oliver!”
Then, of course, there are all the days in between, which probably look from the outside more like the first kind of day but which feel from the inside far more like the second. The trick is to navigate these with all the aplomb that comes naturally when one is having the first kind of day and knows it. It helps to remember that many famous and successful people have had parents who probably had days of the second kind, too.
1. Albert Einstein’s mother didn’t always get his hair combed before he got out the door.
2. Emily Dickinson’s mother couldn’t get her to come out of her room and play with visitors’ children every time they had company.
3. Jonathan Edwards’ mother couldn’t have counted the number of times she demanded, “Will you just get on with it and kill that spider?!”
4. Thomas Edison’s mother was sure he would ruin his eyes reading in the dark.
5. Henry Ford’s mother told him to go play in the street at least once.
6. C.S. Lewis’s father despaired that his son might live in a fantasy land forever.
7. Benjamin Franklin’s mother worried that he didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.
8. Louis Pasteur’s mother once despaired of ever getting him to wash his hands.
9. George Washington’s mother warned him time and time again to brush his teeth.
10. Mark Twain’s mother....Oh, Lord, that poor woman!
11. Edgar Allan Poe’s mother got sick of cleaning up after all those birds.
12. I can just hear Christopher Columbus’s mother saying, “It’ll be a whole new world when I let you do that!”
13. Leif Erikson’s mother threatened to ship him off so often he took her seriously and did it himself.