Elizabeth Davies: You can always tell a mom
Not long ago, I asked the five women sitting closest to me what they did for a living.
One was an engineer. Another was a librarian. There was a research scientist, a missionary and me – a journalist.
So what on Earth could such a diverse crowd find to gab about? The one thing they had in common: motherhood.
Twice a month, in various spots around Rockford, Ill., dozens of mothers get together for a few hours of solitude and solidarity through the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) program. With their children being watched by kind people who are willing to tolerate 15 4-year-olds for two hours, these mothers have the chance to bond with others, use grownup words and reconnect with the women they used to be before having children.
Perhaps the strangest thing about attending a MOPS program is the statistically high number of pregnant women you see walking around. It makes sense of course: Mothers to the under-6 crowd are pretty likely to have another baby. It’s their stage of life. But it doesn’t make it any less odd to see five preggies hovering over the doughnut table.
In all honesty, you wouldn’t need to be at a MOPS meeting to pick out the mother of a toddler. We don’t exactly wear uniforms, but we stick out nonetheless.
Should you need to find the mother of a toddler – we are, after all, the ones who always have tissues and snacks on hand – here are a few telltale signs:
1. She’s the one singing, “Elmo loves his goldfish, his crayon, too” under her breath.
2. There’s a big bulge in her pants pocket. If you had x-ray vision, you would see: three tissues (two partially used), a toy dump truck, a pacifier, the gooey remains of a graham cracker and a single wet sock (don’t ask).
3. She perpetually walks in a hunched-over position with her arms outstretched, as if she’s trying to chase someone really, really short.
4. There is a stain somewhere on her clothing.
5. Her hands appear to work completely independent of her brain. They will be changing a diaper or doling out Cheerios, even as she is discussing the intricacies of geothermal science.
6. No clutch purses here. She’s carrying a bag the size of Alaska on her shoulder, to make sure she has an adequate supply of sippy cups, goldfish crackers, and the obligatory change of clothes for when Outfit No. 1 becomes covered in grape juice and cheesy goldfish.
7. The two cup holders nearest this woman contain: 1) a carryout coffee cup and 2) a sippy cup. There’s a good chance at least one of these cups is decorated with a picture of Elmo.
8. She will say one of the following phrases at least once a minute: “Stop that!” “No-no!” “Do you have to go potty?” “It’s someone else’s turn.” “Hold mommy’s hand.” “Do NOT put that in your mouth! Icky.”
And just something to remember: These are former executives and accountants using the words “potty” and “icky.
Rockford Register Star