Around 15 years ago, Hallmark came out with a line of greeting cards under the brand Fresh Ink. I thought they were simply fantastic. One of my all time favorite cards in the line may still be: "Congratulations on your recent body piercing" and then it listed a variety of options of which yo u could check one. Celebrating real moments.....not just holidays that was their focus, and I loved the concept.
I recently decided that motherhood might do well to celebrate some of its more common milestones with its own line of cards. Imagine if after your friend navigated the choppy waters of motherhood…and you sent them a card…they might look something like these:
1. Congratulations on only seeing one pink line!!
I know many women struggle for years with conception, but there is this small cross section of your friends who are beyond fertile. These women basically live in light terror every month that technology and or western medicine may have failed them. They buy pregnancy tests from Amazon in bulk. When the extra scary months happen, and they find they are a few days late.....there would be a card you could send them after they had to cave and pee on the little stick. Oh, and dark chocolate… you should totally send dark chocolate with the card.
2. Congratulations on your toddler pooping in a public restroom!
This card is obviously for the frazzled preschool mom who despite being taken seriously in the adult world before having children....cannot for the life of her get her preschooler to anticipate their bathroom needs in a predictable manner. Navigating the potty training process essentially forces a once capable woman to question all of her leadership skills, and shakes her to her very core. When "it" finally happens outside of the home...liberation is achieved...and you need to throw that woman a poop party, and undoubtedly hand her a card.
3. Congratulations on getting sharpie out of a sofa, chair, table, wall, toys.....(check one or ALL)
If you have one of THOSE kids....and by those I of course mean an aspiring artist who prefers the medium of permanent ink. First, there is a special club in heaven for you, and all the furniture is white just FYI. With each unauthorized artistic offense you are forced to cleanup over the years, your life span will shorten by 8 months...no one else will tell you that, but it’s true. Buy the protection plan for your furniture, invest in magic erasers, and above all purchase 100 boxes of baking soda and a 5 gallon bucket of rubbing alcohol...just buy them. These women deserve not only a card after navigating upsetting moments like these, but very possibly would welcome a flask of something heavily proofed.
4. Congratulations on surviving your child's unauthorized scissor usage on: a dolls hair, their siblings hair, their own hair, or a neighbors hair. (I pray you only have to check one.)
The neighbor kid's hair part of this scenario is particularly painful. Luckily, this card comes as a two pack, one for the now mourning mom, and one to apologetically send to the neighbor if necessary. Let me stop you right now, because I know what you are thinking, "This could never happen to me." Friend, do you own scissors? Than this can happen to you. There's nothing more eye opening than realizing your child has performed both vandalism AND breaking and entering in their determined search for a pair of scissors. They will find the scissors.
5. Congratulations on surviving your first delousing!
Apparently, current etiquette dictates that teachers are now discouraged from notify parents of an outbreak of lice in the classroom. I get not wanting to make a child the target of any negative focus, but lets keep our eye on the true enemy here. This is about the lice….and I could care less about offending those bastards. The truth is this infestation-situation has a short and arguably controllable window. So can we all agree, to not only celebrate the mom who willingly steps up, and awkwardly tells her child’s friends and classmates that these little terrors may be on the loose. That woman deserves not only a bloody card….but possibly a spa day.
6. Congratulations on navigating a public display of emotions with dignity!
We've all been the mom whose child is causing a total scene out in public. We are embarrassed. Our child is irrational. The noise level, you have no doubt, is off the charts, and beyond annoying to every one else in the store. You are pretty confident every one is judging you for being bested by a tiny human. The real truth is....we all get it.....we've all been there.....we all know you are not your child. Hold strong mamma.....take your card, which comes with companion finger symbols, so you can rhythmically chant "strong children make strong adults, strong children make strong adults." You totally have this!!
7. Congratulations on sleeping through the night!
This card likely should have confetti in it because this is a very big deal. When you took that Meyers-Briggs test back in college no one ever warned you about the unspoken fifth component. Namely, if you are or are not a person who can function under torturous levels of sleep deprivation. Five hours never felt so critical until its gone....and when that magical full night of sleep is finally achieved.....look out.....and bring on the mom card.
You'll recognize this celebratory mom because she will periodically burst out skipping for what might otherwise seem like no reason at all. This milestone is just all kinds of happiness, it only happens N once per child, and I think it also deserves a dinner out. That friend gets to stay up late…because no one is waking her up at 3 am. It's a party waiting to be thrown.
Motherhood lived in technicolor reminds me to truly celebrate these victories with each other....because community....is what makes the world go round. Let’s be honest there is a lot about motherhood that is thankless, but as I see it there’s no reason we can’t do our parts to have a little fun with these mom milestones. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to open my own Etsy shop...this mom card thing really needs to happen.