A mother’s skills

As a child, you think your parents know everything. Even as an adult, I’m always asking my parent’s advice and getting their opinion on things. My mum is so clever and I sort of assumed that before I became a mother I would somehow transcend into a wiser, calmer, more organised human being. That I would be full of mummy wisdoms and have a broad skill set. Alas, I fear it may not have happened quite yet. Here’s a list of skills I believe I should possess to truly earn my title of ‘mummy’: (and essentially a written account of how fucking AWESOME my own mum is!)

  • Diagnose any illness and know exactly how best to treat it. My mum always seemed to know the right thing to do when we were little and is still useful for sensible suggestions about what may be wrong (unlike Dr Google, who usually diagnoses a fatal disease). She always had plasters and Savlon handy! I am still unsure in these situations so she’s great for advice.

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  • Develop bat like hearing. Actually I can pretty much do this, I can usually hear from the other room when TM has pulled his socks off and started to eat them. I hope to hone this skill further so that in the future I will hear when he attempts to steal my chocolate. My mum ALWAYS knew when I was trying to sneak junk food out of the kitchen or when we were up to no good.
  • Soothe anything with a cuddle and give endless affection. This one I am quite confident with, I love a good snuggle with the bubba and in general I’m able to calm him down.
  • Remaining patient and calm almost all the time. I think I achieve being calm around 70% of the time. My mum was definitely operating on closer to 95% (she is still calm, obviously, but seeing as how her youngest child is 26 I guess it’s not such a challenge these days!). What a hero, she has FOUR children as well. Must work on this! I could try mindfulness but I’m not entirely sure how to empty my mind.
  • Happily watch a child play the same game/tell the same story over and over and over without showing signs of boredom. I feel like maybe previous generations were better able to achieve this as they didn’t have a smartphone attached to their palm, enticing them to check Twitter. I’m not convinced I will be very good at this, I think I have a low boredom threshold. It’s not been too testing so far as he’s still so little. I already seem to sing the same songs a lot, must improve my reportoire. Perhaps Mum will teach me some…
  • Cooking. Yep, I can’t really cook. Need to work on this ASAP otherwise my child is going to grow up eating really good meals on the days Daddy cooks and surviving on toast and frozen pizzas the other days. Both my parents are good cooks actually, though my mum was the one mostly lumbered with the job as we grew up because dad worked away a lot. I still invite myself over for dinner a lot!
domestic goddess
I’m sure I will be a domestic goddess one day, right?
  • Be prepared for all eventualities. Mum always had tissues, wet wipes, packed lunches, drinks and anything else we might need. She’s still always got a pen in her bag and lots of useful bits. I manage this most of the time as my changing bag is definitely on the overstocked side but I’ve been caught out a few times!
  • Keeping a house clean. My husband likes to say my family and I are ‘hoarders’ because there tends to be a lot of clutter in our homes…mainly books. But although we were never going to win prizes for the minimalist look, my parents always managed to have a clean house. Mine isn’t totally grim but could definitely do with seeing the vacuum and feather duster more regularly. Also, who cleans their windows? Not us.
  • Sewing. Mum could alter things and sew buttons back on when there was a problem with our clothes. I probably can master sewing on a button but thus far I haven’t done so. B’s pretty handy with a needle and thread though, so we survive…although one of my coats was buttonless for a good few months last year.

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  • Give unconditional love and support. Got this one nailed, so far, but babies probably aren’t as testing on this front as teenagers.

 

I think I’ve probably missed loads from this list but you get the picture! I’m hoping motherhood is like other jobs in that the longer you do it, the better you become. Are there any skills your parents had which you don’t feel you’ve mastered yet?

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54 thoughts on “A mother’s skills

  1. I definitely haven’t mastered this whole keeping-the-house-clean thing. My husband and I used to clean the house pretty thoroughly every Sunday, but now that we have a baby, we just tidy things up here and there when we have time. I also can’t sew (which hasn’t stopped me from trying to fix torn seams – the results are hilarious) and I get bored really easily. It’s hard not to glance at my phone while my daughter walks around the coffee table for the 20th time. #FamilyFun

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    1. I’m so glad it’s not just me! Oh god someone told me about ‘brexting’ – breastfeeding while texting and I thought ah shit, I do that all the time as well as blogging, tweeting etc haha. It’s lovely looking at my baby but…my phone is right there! Thanks for reading, Ellen x

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  2. Oh god, there are so many mummy skills I am yet to develop. I was reading going yep need that, oh and that, yes this one too and then I was at the bottom of the page *hices head*. My granny had all these down and I will forever compare myself to her and her parenting brilliance. Right best out my iPad down, go sew that button back on and clean the house…sigh xx #familyfun

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    1. Haha don’t worry I don’t think most people can do all these things, my mum is essentially WonderWoman! Your granny sounds fab. Social media and technology are just too tempting, aren’t they? Thanks for reading, Ellen xx

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  3. ha ha the skills needed as a mummy – with you on so many! The sewing thing? my mum was amazing – made me wedding dress – I am crap – I was the girl that stuck lace on a hankie with glue instead of sewing at school – my mum despairs! Oh and the unconditional love – it is still really easy when they are teenagers – I promise – I love mine till it physically hurts – a pride I had no idea that I would ever feel – incredible – so I promise that don’t get harder – though perhaps you may need more wine to really appreciate it but it is still there! #familyfun

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  4. All excellent skills that I remember my own mother having! As a new dad, will definitely try to replicate these from a dad’s perspective too…although my wife is infinitely better at cooking and sewing, so might leave those ones up to her!! #FamilyFun

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    1. Haha yeah I think sharing things out works well. B is super calm and good at cooking, and can sew a button on too. In fact he has probably got this list down!! Just me who must try harder, hah. Thanks for reading, Ellen

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  5. Ahhh I hope your mum reads your blog! I haven’t mastered most of the skills yet (and some, like a clean house, I fear I never will!) but I do often hear my mum coming out of me, particularly at times of illness. I feel very lucky! #familyfun

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    1. She does read it! And I actually sent this to her before I published it just in case she didn’t want me to. Bless her she said it made her smile and that TM is lucky to have me, she might be a little biased though…
      Ah you’re doing well then haha. Who needs a clean house anyway?! Thanks for reading, Ellen xx

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  6. Sewing scares the life out of me! I have not even a smidgen of this mum skill – anything I need done I still take to my mum (embarrassed look!) I think when you become a grandparent you kind of ‘level up’ as well – my mum’s laid backness I swear has increased, along with her ability to read the same story over and over, and to happily be lead around by the finger. It’s a superpower! #coolmumclub

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    1. Ahah I think you may be right!! My mum is on her 7th grandchild so she’s definitely a pro. I know I probably should learn to at least sew a button but there’s always somebody else to do it…thanks for reading! Ellen

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  7. I love this. I’m sure your mum skills are epic! It’s true that most of us mums seem to develop a deeper sense of respect and awe for their own mothers, once they have children of their own. This certainly happened for me! And they didn’t have a wonderful virtual parenting community to turn to via social media as us bloggers do! Great post #Coolmumclub

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    1. Ah what a lovely comment! Definitely – our mums are amazing! I know, what would we do without our fellow bloggers?! Although I probably would pay more attention to the baby without the internet distracting me, haha. Thanks for reading, Ellen

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  8. Great post. Completely agree that not showing boredom and having patience are some of the best skills a parent can have! These are things my mum has and I’m hoping to develop! Ps. we haven’t washed our windows in over a year. it’s so dusty here, they are filthy within a day, in fact we’ve never even seen a window cleaner in our neighbourhood….life’s too short!

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  9. LOL aw hun I’ve got a very long way to go then. It’s a good job that our kids don’t demand perfection or rather don’t really notice it. I’m a rubbish cook, can’t sew and I definitely fail in hiding the boredom at times. Great post lovely! TY for linking up to #FamilyFun 🎉

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  10. Yes, this is exactly what my Mom has, except for cooking and sewing, she could do it but not very welllllll. So on that note, if you aren’t the perfect cook, you’re kids will be fine! I’m very healthy haha : ).

    I need to work on everything I think, but then isn’t this job an ongoing lifelong process? The bat hearing thing I have DOWN, literally I can hear him breathing during the night. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy!

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  11. We must get wiser as we get older musn’t we? Don’t forget though at the moment we have one advantage. The babies won’t remember how clueless we are! They can come back and read the blog one day but lets worry about that later!

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  12. What a great idea for a post. My Mum is an absolute legend too. She definitely beats me hands down on being a totally selfless mother, having happily seemingly devoted her life to raising and caring for her own for kids plus loads of others through her job. Personally, work for me was always light relief from getting away from domestic duties!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

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    1. Ah she sounds amazing! Yes, not sure I could handle working with children as well as looking after my own but my mum also started working in a school once I was old enough to go- madness! Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for having me again, sounds like our mums would be the original cool mum’s haha. Ellen x

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  13. Bat-like hearing. Yes! I’ve developed this too. Even when asleep, which is pretty annoying. Before becoming a mum I could probably have slept through an air raid siren. Now, my child coughs once and PING the eyes are open. Your mum sounds fab, bet she loved this post 🙂 #familyfun

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  14. This is a very sweet tribute to your Mum. I don’t think I’ve mastered many of the key skills yet. Unconditional love and maybe bat-like hearing! Cooking is passable. Sewing not a chance. Lucky I like a challenge though… #familyfun

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  15. I hear you on all of these skills. I am now taking a cookery course. I’m not a bad cook (I don’t think) but youngest hates my cooking 😦 I am also in awe of how our parents coped without Dr Google. How did they do it? Patience was a skill that was being seriously tested yesterday!! #coolmumclub

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    1. Haha bless you, I think some children just hate all cooking their parents do purely for fun! I know, I guess people just trusted themselves a bit better… Or maybe it wasn’t so hard getting a GP appointment back in those days?! Thanks for reading, Ellen

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  16. I am 4 years into this mothering malarkey and I still haven’t mastered the art of cooking (I fear this skill has sadly passed me by), my house always looks like a herd of rhino have been through 30 secs after I put the Hoover away and I never have the items I need in a disaster! But I am muddling through, just about (most days!) As long as you have the cuddles and love down, the rest of its just decoration 🙈 thanks for linking up #PuddingLove

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    1. Ahaha a herd of rhino!! I love that, I am excelling at cuddles and love (some might say I smother the poor child…) so I can work on the decorating over time! Thanks for having me, sorry I joined so late. Thanks for reading, Ellen x

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  17. Great post. Mother is cr*p at cooking and sewing and fears that she’s very much lacking in other skills. A lovely point about unconditional love – I think that’s the most important skill of all.
    X

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  18. I think it’s definitely true that the longer you do these things the better at them you get. For example, I am probably a bit like your mum in that I operate on around 95% calm. However, without a doubt that is a skill I have learned from ten years as a teacher. Whenever Piglet throws a bit of a wobbly, I simply recall the countless episodes of teenage terrors, and remember that it isn’t actually that bad, and that losing it always, always makes things worse. I don’t think I have any of the other skills you’ve mentioned above though. I’m still hoping that they will come in time! Thanks for linking up to #StayClassy

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    1. Yes I imagine as a teacher your patience and ability to stay calm are well practiced!! I think already even as a baby TM notices if I am unhappy or stressed out and it reflects in his mood, I can see how that could get a lot worse as he gets older! Lucky his dad is seriously laid back so it’s not like we have a particularly highly strung household haha. We’ve definitely got time to work on these things haha. Thanks for reading and hosting! Ellen

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  19. There’s definitely a few skills on this that I’ve yet to master! Interesting reading about you managing to stay calm and patient 70% – one of the parenting books I have suggests that aiming for feeling like you’re doing ok about 70% of the time is a realistic aim for parenting and allows room for the challenges. I’m sure that your children will probably think that you’re a whizz at all these skills especially when they are old enough to look back on it all with children of their own.

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  20. As a mom with grown kids I can say the hearing thing never leaves you, I can still hear dust form:). The other things we think are important well they are and not. Your own kids tend to love the mess you are because your theirs.

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  21. This is so true for me too! Although I’m not bad at the cooking and the organised stuff, I am shocking at the whole “nursery rhymes” and “let’s play with the giraffe” nonsense. I’ve checked, and Duplo is recommended for ages 3 to 5 in most cases. I am a couple of years outside it’s target market. *guiltily reaches for phone* I also cannot sew. Not even a bit. All hems in our house are wonder-webbed. (And in emergency situations… stapled!) Great post!
    #passthesauce xx

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    1. Haha bless you! I have a friend who is so imaginative, at my wedding she had all the kids following her as they were on a ‘witch hunt’ – I need to be more like her! I have visions of stapled hems now, making me laugh! Thanks for reading, Ellen

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  22. Eeekkk!!! I don’t think I have mastered half of what’s on your list!!! One skill I want to master is being able to know when one of your kids is lying!! Thanks for sharing with #PasstheSauce

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