Years ago, I heard one of my fellow authors say that almost every book could be enhanced by the presence of a wise older woman. I try to include one in most of my books since I write about families where the mother or grandmother is a big part of the story and everyone benefits from her life experience.
Recently, I was patting myself on the back for thinking up a new way for a maternal character to impart wisdom without seeming like a know-it-all. Then it occurred to me that I could practice imparting some of my own wisdom. After all, I’ve been at this mom thing for four decades – and I’m something of a know-it-all.Here’s what I know:
· The toddler who pulls all of your pots and pans out of the cupboard and then scoots into the farthest corner so you can’t reach him because your vastly pregnant belly is in the way, will then poop his pants and fall fast asleep as the scent of his fragrant offering fills the kitchen – and that’s the exact moment when someone will come to the front door.
· Mother Nature really fell down on the job by not providing moms with three hands and a head that swivels all the way around. It’s much more effective to give the fishy-eyed stare to a misbehaving child if you can be face-to-face with him. Glaring at said child in the rear view mirror just doesn’t cut it.
· The number of times the back of your car seat will be kicked on a long trip is in direct proportion to the number of miles you drive. For example, five hundred miles will net you at least twenty five kicks per mile for a total of twelve thousand five hundred kicks. I know this because I counted.
· Eight year olds are perfectly capable of doing their own laundry and of helping to clean house. If they throw a wet load of clothes into the dryer where there’s already a dry load of clothes, they can then have the privilege of drying, folding, and putting away both loads.
· Ten year olds can cook. You and your family will eat some awful stuff, but in future years, your daughter’s friends will think she’s a gourmet chef because their mothers didn’t teach them to cook, and your daughters-in-law will love you.
· If you raise sons, it helps if you collect something you enjoy, but which isn’t too complicated, like salt and pepper shakers, so they know what to give you on your birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s Day. I collect bells and Depression glass (some of which appear above) and my kids have found some lovely pieces for me.
There’s more, but the best piece of wisdom I know is that you always love down. You love your kids more than they love you, and that’s perfectly okay because that’s the way they’ll love their kids – unconditionally. It’s a skill that can be taught.
Patricia Forsythe is the author of twenty-five books for Harlequin, with many more to come. She loves creating stories with interesting characters and happy endings.