I happen to cohabitate with the world’s best mother, the lovely yet formidable Marcia, so I’ve witnessed first-hand the secrets of the trade. I thought I would pass along a few, at the risk of violating in-home copyright laws.
- Worry. I know to some that sounds like a negative. But it’s not. Momworry (one word) keeps the world at bay and kids safe. It’s a proven fact. On a daily basis, I watch Marcia – like Susan Storm from the Fantastic 4 – project psychic bubbles of protection around the kids from as far as five states away. (I’m sure her range is worldwide and perhaps even galactic, but it hasn’t been tested yet.) The kids, of course, aren’t aware of the bubble but it’s there nonetheless, sure as the air they breathe. And nothing truly bad has ever happened to them, so I know it works.
- Insert a mom chip into the brains of their young. It’s not an actual microchip, but it might as well be. This chip activates an inevitable, unstoppable voice in the heads of her children when necessary. It says things like, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that, too?” and “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” and “Do you know what time it is?” and “You can do better than him/her” and, of course, “Call your mother.” Kids hate this voice but there’s nothing they can do about it. It’s in there to stay. Baked in. But, hey, that’s the price they pay for having a mom. A lot of kids aren’t so lucky.
- Zip the lip. When needed. This is a tough one for moms. Moms are advice machines, and turning off the machine can be difficult if not impossible. Good moms, though, pull the plug and zip the lip and let life teach kids a few things on its own, bare knuckles style. (By the way, Marcia is a fantastic mom. But she struggles mightily with this one. I’ve even seen her lecture politicians on the TV screen, as if they can hear her. Someday, someone’s going to invent a TV that breaks the fourth wall and those lectures will be both heard and heeded. Or else. A better world will result.)
- Have built-in cleansers. I refer here to mommy spit, which is what most moms employ when the baby has a messy face and there’s no wash cloth, towel or napkin handy, which is always. Mommy spit is the most effective all-organic cleaner on the planet, bar none. You can look it up.
- Have invisible body parts. If you part a mom’s hair in the back, you won’t find another set of eyes, but they’re there. You just can’t see them. Mom’s also have tear bladders hidden somewhere inside of them – I’m convinced of this – that are always full and always ready to spring into action whenever tears of joy or sorrow are required of them by their kids or life. Men, of course, do not have this bladder – another thing about us that is inferior to women.
- Have super powers. Moms smell things no one else can smell, hear things that not another soul can hear, and have an eerie ability to read the minds of children bent on wrongdoing. Every child knows it’s true.
- Have a mental umbilical cord that is never cut. It stretches effortlessly to wherever the kids are at a given time, and it never ages and never frays. A mom’s mental umbilical cord goes on forever, even after she’s gone. It persists. It nurtures. For always and always.
And that’s how kids know without being told that they’re loved.