10 Strange Skills You Develop as a Parent


School started for my kids last week and it was the best week of my life. Okay, not the best week of my life, but pretty darn close. It was, however, the best week of my 1-year-old twin’s lives. They are blissfully free of the over-abundance of sometimes painful and questionable “love” given to them by their older sisters, who are 7 and 4. It was the first week of 2nd grade and VPK, and my house is quiet and happy and peaceful 7 hours a day; and I love it. But I’m off track; when I was picking up my 4-year-old before my 7-year-old the other day, a woman stopped me with the nicest compliment.

“That is hands-down the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen,” she said to me. Apparently, it’s a skill to remove two 17-month-old twins from the back of my SUV, carry them both in my arms, close the car door, wave my key fob to unlock the school door, open that door and gather my 4-year-old’s lunch and belongings – and her little body – and carry the twins and all that stuff back to the car, opening doors and closing them with no hands – in under 5 minutes start to finish. I admit, it is a skill. I can get my twins in and out of the car, buckled and unbuckled and rebuckled in less time than it takes most moms to get their one kid out of the car (I know this because they tell me regularly). I never would have considered this a skill without all the compliments I receive on my ‘supermom’ ability, but it did lead me to think of all the other strange skills I’ve developed since becoming a mother 7 years ago.

Carry on an entire conversation with a screaming baby without hesitation

If you can put it in a text message, please do so. My mother, bless her heart, is the worst texter ever. So she calls. Scratch that; she sends me a text that says, “call me,” so that I call her. Because she can’t call me? I don’t really know. Either way, she’s about the only person I speak to on the phone, and she has to let me know from time to time that there are kids losing their ever-loving mind in the background. I just don’t hear it.

Do dishes, laundry and clean the house without making one sound

My husband and I can clean our entire house without waking up one kid (and we have four of them). We can do laundry, dishes, vacuum, mop – you name it. We can do all this, and get dressed and ready in the mornings, without making one sound at all. We are ninjas.

Super-sonic hearing

I can’t hear my husband when he’s sitting next to me telling me about his work day (snooze) but I can hear my daughter across my rather large home whisper that she’s going to go into the pantry and get a cookie. And that’s from my office, on the complete opposite side of the first floor, outside the slider that separates the girl’s “Wing” from the rest of the house, down their hallway and through her closed door with the twins’ toys playing in the playroom, the television blaring and the other three kids making too much noise. I can hear her make bad decisions. I just can.

Eyes in the back of my head

I can sit at my desk in my office and work, staring at my computer screen and see my daughter in my bathroom, through the closed (solid) slider that leads from my office into our master bedroom, across the room and through the closed slider that leads to the master bath, going through my perfume about to spray it all over everything and cause me to gag for three days straight. I can see her out of the eyes I’ve grown on the back of my head.

Detect a lie without even looking at my kids

Please; they have nothing on me. I can spot a liar liar pants on fire without hesitation. My kids think I have superpowers.

Keep white carpet spotless with four kids

It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Did I mention I also have a white leather sectional and solid white leather dining chairs in the formal dining room? And they’re all spotless white despite every single day use by our kids? Yeah, that’s a skill.

Convince my kids everything is chicken

They won’t eat it if it’s not, so I have managed to convince my children that everything from broccoli to steak is chicken. I’m either a certified genius or they are idiots. It could go either way. But they’re cute!

Carry everything all at once

Everything; I mean everything. I can unload four kids from my car every single afternoon carrying the twins, a back pack, two lunch boxes, two cups and whatever insanely oversized and ridiculous bag I’m carrying that day – and groceries if I have them. I don’t do second trips. Parenting is all about timeliness and as few trips as possible to the garage to get everything in the house. Too many things could happen in the 30 seconds a second trip requires.

Do anything in half the time

It used to take me an hour to blow dry and straighten my hair and apply my makeup. Now it takes me 20 minutes from start to finish. I’m quick; I haven’t much time and I’m too vain not to look and feel good throughout the day, so it’s not an option. I had to make it work.

A sudden lack of ability to find home after a solo trip anywhere

Since becoming a mother who is with her kids 24/7, I have developed this skill for getting super lost on the way home from the supermarket I’ve been shopping at for the past 11 years. It’s strange how I cannot find home when there are not kids in the car with me.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images


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