A few years ago a friend asked me to go to lunch and as we were sitting across from each other in a little café, she asked me if I thought she would pass the test for motherhood. There she sat in a cute little pink suit with white lapels and high heeled shoes, her hair done up all pretty and makeup flawless. I already had three kids. I was just lucky to have on an outfit that didn't have baby spit up or muddy hand prints on it.
"How well do you like those white lapels?" I asked her.
"What's that got to do with being a mother?" She fired right back.
"Everything," I said. "Let me think about this test for a few days and we'll meet at the park in a week."
After consulting with other mothers, we came up the motherhood questions. The following is for all the folks out there who are dressing in their cute little suits with white lapels or (shudder) maybe even a white sundress this Mother's Day morning.
Mess Test: Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains and write on all the walls with a magic marker. If you have an allergy to peanuts, ketchup works just as well. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer. If you pass this test you may go on to the next one.
Toy Test: Buy a 55 gallon drum of Legos. If Legos are not available, you may substitute roofing tacks, or even jacks (those little six sided things that come with a ball). Have a friend spread them all over the house, making sure some of them are partially hidden in the carpet. Turn out all the lights in the whole house and put on a blindfold. Try walking crosslegged to the bathroom or to the kitchen at midnight. Do not scream, cuss or cry. (This could wake up the husband!) Congratulations, you get a certificate for this one and you can go on to the next test.
Grocery Store Test: Borrow one or two small animals. Goats work really well. Take them to the grocery store with you. Always keep them in sight and have extra money to pay for anything they eat or damage. You are to be commended with a medal to hang around your neck if you pass this one.
Dressing Test: Rent one large, angry octopus. Stuff it into a small net bag making sure that all its arms stay inside the bag. You have ten minutes to get the job done or you will fail this test.
Feeding Test: Dump all the milk from a large plastic jug. Fill it halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord. Start the jug swinging back and forth. Now try to insert spoons full of soggy cereal, such as lumpy cream of wheat or lumpy oatmeal into the mouth of the jug, while making airplane noises. Ten minutes into the game you will dump what's left of the cereal plus whatever is in the jug on the floor. You may not cuss, scream or raise your voice as you clean up the mess. If you do not upchuck you get a gold star.
Night Test: Make a small, oblong cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak that in water for one hour. At 8:00 p.m. start waltzing around the living room with the bag of sand held firmly in one arm for one hour. Lay your bag down and and go to bed at 10 p.m. Get up at 10:02, pick up the bag, sit down in a rocking chair and start rocking. Sing every song you've ever known. Make up a dozen more and sing those until 4 a.m. Lay the bag down and tip toe to the bedroom. Set the alarm for 5 a.m. Get up and make breakfast. Look cheerful and never complain about the dark circles under your eyes.
If you have passed all these tests, then it's time for the Physical Test: Buy a bean bag chair and rope it around your waist under your clothing. Leave it there for nine months. Remove ten beans and try on your pink suit with the white lapels.
Final Assignment: Visit your friends who have already passed all the tests and have a small child. Lecture them on how to improve their parenting skills, especially in the areas of discipline, tolerance, toilet training and table manners. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you ever have all the answers.
Here's hoping you pass all the tests and next year you will have stars in your eyes as you celebrate your first Mothers Day ... and that you sold that pink suit with the white lapels at the county wide garage sale!