“Movie Day” patch! “Making Friends!”
And most impressive to mothers (because let’s get real: Dads still do a ton less cleaning), “Household Elf”!
My second-grade daughter is a Brownie. She and her troop of Girl Scouts-in-the-making learn skills and earn insignias to be emblazoned on their sweet sludge-colored vests, proving to the world just how truly proficient they really are. And every time I add one—ironically, the “Sewing” patch was an iron-on decal that fell off within days of application—I think, Hmm. How come mothers don’t get badges for all we do?
Because we moms certainly deserve them. (BTW, we’ve also earned a parade to march in, with every living human who’s ever been squeezed out between a woman’s legs in attendance and waving a flag to salute us—which might be a bit of a cluster, come to think of it, since we moms have mothers, too. But it’s the thought that counts.)
Here are the skill-building patches we’d gladly display, even if it means wearing one of those aesthetically unappealing vests:
1. The Handling of Human DNA Badge
If we have sons, they’ve peed in our faces from the diaper table. Our daughters have puked into our hands in the minivan. We try not to think too much as we scrub out the thick skid marks on the preschooler’s undies. We are overly familiar with your bodily discharges, children, and we deserve a medal for it.
2. The Brownie Baking at Midnight Badge
Never mind that you’ve been up since 5 a.m.; worked a full day at the office; stared down a parking lot on I-95 coming home; cobbled together dinner for a cast of family characters who immediately complained they don’t like meatloaf; cleaned the kitchen; struggled to decipher inane Common Core directions on your second-grader’s stupid math worksheet; done the bath and bedtime routine; pulled out the presentation notes to prep for tomorrow; soothed and tucked-in your youngest for the second time because she just saw a spider on the wall; and then sadly fought off the amorous, 11:30 p.m. advances of your husband who hasn’t seen you in what feels like weeks. Why “fought off,” you ask? Because you still need to whip up a batch of brownies for the kid’s bake sale in the morning. F*ck.
3. The Marathon of No Sleep Badge
Counting your first pregnancy, it’s been 12 years since you’ve slept through the night. It’s a wonder you can still form complete sentences, much less guide your young charges about the ways of the world. Counting your first pregnancy, it’s been 12 years since you’ve slept through the night. It’s a wonder you can still form complete sentences, much less guide your young charges—wait, did I just say that?
4. The Multitasking Badge
Awarded to mothers everywhere who easily juggle building a complicated Lego set whilst soothing a colicky newborn and taking a conference call with your colleagues—muted unless you’re speaking, of course—about 2016’s marketing initiatives. Piece of cake.
5. The Chauffeur for, Like, Years Badge
You mistake the interior of your Swagger Wagon for some permanent station in life. Between the ages of 7 and 16, your kids in turn mistake you for their personal driver, and bark things like, “You can drop me off at the corner,” and “Be back at 6!” No, they never, ever tip you.
6. The Momager Badge
Forget bad examples such as Dina Lohan. I speak of the 10 percent cut we moms should take for scheduling the relentless tour of after-school playdates, studying contract waivers that include nut and gluten allergies, and fostering relationships with other nannies, caregivers and moms we might never know if it weren’t for our kids’ company of gap-toothed friends.
7. The Sorry! Board Game Badge
Any mother who has had to endure this mind-numbing entertainment—whose never-ending conclusion can feel like Dante’s circles of hell—for the sake of their kids’ happiness should get a prize.
8. The Laundry Badge
Do I need to say more?
9. The Folding Laundry for a Second Time Badge
This insignia is a merit award for all the mothers out there who fold the laundry for a second time, a day after they first put it away in neat stacks inside a kids’ dresser drawers. Why? Because in the search for their favorite camp tee or soccer shorts, they’ve managed to undo all your hard work in moments, much to your serious, wrinkle-inducing consternation.
10. The Stiff Upper Lip Badge
There are many more mom badges that should be given out, of course. But if we can only list 10, it’s imperative we not forget this important patch. It’s a special signification, issued to mothers for a range of harrowing deeds including bravely seeing a child through 27 stitches in the ER. Clasping our hands in abject terror as they try rock-climbing and zip-lines. Allowing them to walk to school unattended for the first time with their friends. Teaching them to drive, and then allowing them to take the car, our hearts in our throats. And leaving them on the steps of their dormitories and then driving away ourselves, tears streaming down our faces. Because motherhood demands a fortitude we never knew we possessed. And, yes, we’ll take a badge for that.