10 Skills Every Mother Should Possess

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1. The magical look that instantly snaps misbehaving children into shape.

2. The ability to say “no” to volunteer opportunities, hosting of events or inconvenient carpooling.

3.  A fake gasp, to feign “OMG, what a masterpiece” excitement when presented with Lord knows what from art class.

4. The slyness to transfer said masterpiece to the recycling bin without ever getting caught.

5. The foresight to know which toys will result in disappointment and tears and which will magically occupy a child for hours on end.

6. The restraint to resist passing over the iPhone as a means of entertainment.

7. The ability to sleep with open eyes, to be used at school plays and talent shows when the other people’s kids are on stage.

8. The stern tone which tells children that you mean business, and you mean business now.

9. The knowledge that glitter will haunt you forever and balloons inevitably end in tears, no matter what.

10. The appreciation that whatever annoying, infuriating or frustrating phase any child is currently in is fleeting. And will be replaced by an equally annoying, infuriating or frustrating phase.

About the writer

@scarymommy

In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)

From Around the Web

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Hotels in Edinburgresort specialsvery last minute lodge hotel specials 1 year ago

Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this website daily, this web page is actually pleasant and the visitors are really sharing pleasant thoughts.

Lauryn Haffner 2 years ago

the stern voice works so well – except when you are using it and spit comes out of your mouth accidentally and the kids laugh at you……yep

melanie 2 years ago

Ha ha ha ha omw if only we all came with said skills.

Nina 2 years ago

I think I have at least mastered #8. But shit–#2 is harder than it should be.

Angel 2 years ago

Why do you feel the need to throw away your kids art? That’s kinda shitty if you ask me.

grownandflown 2 years ago

I want to be a step ahead of my kids – always – and that is every bit as true today as it was when they were little…now they are the ripe old age of 17 and 22. Getting harder and harder.

Mama and the City 2 years ago

Oh my… scary….I might be actually a good parent?

It seems only #6 and #9 are not to be conquered.

Thank you for this re-enforcement.

Shan 2 years ago

I’m a master at 1, 2, and 8. Definitely need to work on 6 and 10. I love this post. I love this site. Motherhood has to be humorous so these small people don’t drive us all the way over the edge

Jessica Smock 2 years ago

I was a teacher for many years, and I try to use my strict, serious “teacher voice” with my two year old. It doesn’t seem to work as well as it did in the classroom. He just laughs.

Alison 2 years ago

I want to be Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. Lifelong fantasy.

Lynn from For Love or Funny 2 years ago

I’m still working on mastering #2. :)

TK 2 years ago

Glitter, how I hate it! And I really want to sleep with my eyes open!

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 2 years ago

After years I have mastered both look and voice. How did I do this? Simple: I imitated my own mother. Man, that woman can be scary…

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

Ahhh… and number 10 is the most important.

I totally have “the look,” but it only works on other people’s kids. Crap.

Vanessa 2 years ago

I never did get the hang of the magical look, or the stern voice.

Cherise 2 years ago

I love this! I have a couple of skills on the list but I need to learn a few more!

Mary Anne 2 years ago

I’ve mastered “The Look” with one raised eyebrow so well that as a pediatric nurse I can use it on other people’s kids and they look at me and say “How did you do that?” For true miscreants, I add hands on hips and an “Excuse me!?!?”

However, I still keep my kids artwork since I was the 8th child and have one crummy coloring page from thanksgiving in first grade, so I overcompensate for my four kids. One caveat: nothing with glitter crosses my threshold.

chrissy 2 years ago

my mother had the look. I sadly do not.

TheShitastrophy 2 years ago

I need a voice that changes with the times. My kids have decided to call my bluff on many an occasion.

Cassy 2 years ago

My stern voice sounds a lot like my father which is scary cause I’m a woman. :) It sure does work though.

Karen 2 years ago

I have “the look” down, but it only works for other people’s children… My kids just laugh now – which makes it that much worse.

hillary 2 years ago

hahaha, I totally have the look and the tone and it is awesome!!! I once made my son cry just from looking at him ( no judgement, he was doing something bad), and he is autistic, which really says something ( he usually doesn’t notice stuff like facial expressions). I am very guilty of #6 though. it just can’t be helped lol

Heather 2 years ago

YES….To all!! :)

Anita @ Losing Austin 2 years ago

I’ve had a stray piece of glitter on my ear for a week (it always seems to be gone and then returns…) – and I never did a glitter project that I recall!

I’ve mastered a few of those- like slipping projects into the garbage without anyone knowing. But I completely give in to the iPhone handover!

Debbie 2 years ago

Nice!!! i have to say I was blessed with number 1 and 8. I could use a tone that still scares the crap out of my kids. As for the look i have that too!! And they do pay attention.

Infact my neighbor has a 16 year old and a few weeks ago he bought his son a used car. His son did not know that he had gotten it for him. Dad parked it in front of our house. Gave me the keys and when his son same home he sent him over, telling him I need to talk to him. Matthew rings the door bell. I answer the door. make a little small talk with him first. Then I give Matthew this look and say as I am handing him the keys, “Would you get your damn car out of the front of my house. Nobody needs to park in the front of my house.”

Matthew stands there with this scare look on his face, than it finally dawns on him what I just said. Mean while mom and day are videoing this.

Dave (dad) tells everybody he knew I could pull this off, from the tone I can get and the looks I can give.

i did have to talk to Matthew to let him know, yes when he had too he could park in front of our house.
number 1 8 can really come in handy with kids, if you don’t have the look or tone go get it, even if you have to stand in front of the mirror and practice.
Thanks for the smile.

Amanda 2 years ago

I’ve totally got that mom voice & look down! It doesn’t always work though… Haha!!

And my mom can still scare the hell out of me with her mom voice. I just got chills down my back thinking about her voice!

Ariana 2 years ago

Feeling pretty successful today. I think I can check off 2, 3, 7, 8, and 10. And my stern voice, I call it devil mom voice. I only bring it out when absolutely necessary, but it WILL get the attention of everyone within ear shot.

Coco 2 years ago

It’s been said that glitter is the herpes of art supplies…

And balloons? I simply hate them and agree that no good ever comes from having balloons around.

Odd Dad 2 years ago

I film (almost) every art project and load it on YouTube and then I throw it in the recycling bin. Then I can tell the kids they can still look at it anytime they want online, but we don’t have room in the house for all those pieces of homework and such. Of course it takes a long time for me to get off my ass and film said masterpieces, so I end up with boxes of artwork in the basement collecting dust.

Krista 2 years ago

#11 The ablilty to find a specific toy, shirt or shoe at any given time.

Sharon 2 years ago

I know about balloons and glitter. Both of the them are forbidden from crossing my threshold. And my kids don’t even ask anymore.

Stephanie 2 years ago

I can say ‘No’. I’m pretty good at it. It’s taken time, though, to learn. I just hope I’m not TOO good at it now.

Kate 2 years ago

YES. That’s my version of the perfect mother, right there.

Jen 2 years ago

I would pay BIG bucks for the look or the tone. HUGE.

MomChalant 2 years ago

I second the annoying phase followed by another equally annoying phase. You just described my child with that sentence.

Candy 2 years ago

I think that for the “magical look” entails instilling a sense of fear in your kids, first.

I’m very busy working on that right now….

Frugi Dublin 2 years ago

Haha this is great- made me giggle! 😀

jasbeeray 2 years ago

I wish I had the foresight of no. 5 & am soooo truly guilty of no. 6