Toddler Talk Metroplus

Job description: Mom

Toddler

Toddler  

There are a whole lot of random tasks that go into being a mom

Do you remember that fake ad that went viral last year? It was a job listing for a ‘Director of Operations’ position that required 135 to unlimited work hours a week, being on your feet constantly, advanced degrees in finance, medicine and culinary arts, plus no vacation, and no salary. Turned out that it was a tongue-in-cheek ad for the position of ‘mom’ or, as they put it, the ‘World’s Toughest Job’. That title became a subject of controversy (as things so often do on the Internet), but I think everyone can agree on one point — that some of the tasks of motherhood can seem pretty ridiculous when put in the context of a ‘real job’.

I mean, consider the sort of random tasks you have to undertake when you’re mom to a toddler. All of which need to be learned on the fly, while being sleep-deprived/anxious/frazzled, may I add. Here, off the top of my head, are some of the more ridiculous roles that somehow became part of my ‘job description’ over the past three years:

* Ear/nose/teeth cleaner: In my pre-parenting life, I could have sworn I’d never ever peer into another human being’s ear or nose or mouth voluntarily. I mean, why would anyone who is not an ENT doctor even do that? But once you’re a mom, and especially if you’re the mom of a toddler who simply refuses to blow her nose, night-time nasal excavations of giant boogers are par for the course. Also, daytime explorations of dirt in the ear, plus detailed discussions on various methods of disposal of said dirt (since ear-buds are now a no-no). And naturally, when there’s food stuck anywhere in a toddler’s teeth, mom has to swoop in to clean it out, while the child stands there with her mouth open, making increasingly irate noises. The worst part is that you’re not even grossed out by these tasks anymore; you actually derive immense satisfaction from them.

* Toy and book fixer-upper: Moms must necessarily become experts at wielding glue and sticky tape (or a magic wand). Because toys and books loved by toddlers fall apart with painful regularity, and must be immediately fixed up to prevent (or at least shorten) the meltdown that inevitably follows. Soft toys with tears on their bums must be stitched up (never mind if you flunked needlework in school). Mechanical singing rabbits must have their arms stuck back on. Note: daddies who’re handy with their tools are extremely useful assistants in such matters.

* Toy and book bounty hunter: It doesn’t matter that it was the toddler who thought it was a good idea to put her favourite little Hello Kitty doll in the shoe cupboard. It’s mom’s job to find it while the toddler sobs broken-heartedly. And amazingly, you will. Because somewhere in the course of the last couple of years, you’ve developed a keener sense for finding missing toys than the most experienced bounty hunter has for his prey.

* Pest exterminator: I’m not talking about ants, roaches, or termites. No, the pests you end up rooming with when there’s a small child in your life are more likely to be lice and worms. Yuck and double yuck, you say? Well, tough luck. If your kid has started school, chances are you own a lucky lice comb that gets the job done, and ‘de-worming’ is a regular part of your medical vocabulary. If your toddler develops a love for bugs and begins to bring them into the house as ‘pets’ (and hiding them in drawers as a friend’s son does), well then, all bets are off.

* Assorted outdoor roles: Ball thrower (no machine on a practice court is required to throw balls with the frequency and accuracy that you are), and cycle pusher (note to self: do not buy any more (tri or bi) cycles for this child until she actually learns to pedal.)

You often catch yourself thinking, “This isn’t part of my job description” or “This isn’t what I signed up for.” I’m here to tell you, when it comes to motherhood, there’s no description that covers it all. Well, maybe there’s one: Mom.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 7:40:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/job-description-mom/article6974750.ece

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