The Complete Mother Workout

by Liza Cameron Wasser

Motherhood has developed and strengthened so many of my innate talents. Especially my patience and concentration. Motherhood ensures that these two qualities get a daily aerobic workout.

I have developed my ability to concentrate throughout the years by learning how to balance the checkbook while loud rap music blares in the background. Seems like only a few years ago it was Raffi's Baby Beluga and just a little while before that it was a baby with a pot and a wooden spoon. Oh, they grow up fast. And I have had lots of practice concentrating on the job at hand through all kinds of noise.



What noise? Oh, that noise. That's just Hortense practicing the tuba. No, it's okay. The house always shakes like that when she practices.

But concentration, now that's my strong point. I can follow a recipe while explaining algebra homework and never confuse 1/3 cup of flour and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in the casserole that is baked for 45 minutes at 350 degrees while Mr. Jones travels for 1/2 an hour at 60 mph due east and Ms. Smith travels for 1/4 hour at 30 mph due west. If they both start out at 3:00 where will they be in relation to each other when they are both finished. Or maybe Mr. Smith travels due east for 45 minutes at 300 mph while Ms. Jones travels due west for 3 1/2 hours at 1/2 mile a minute, no wait, Mr. Jones puts 1/2 cup salt and 1/4 pound of sugar in his gas tank and pushes his car to the garage because it won't start and Ms. Smith burns the casserole at 450 degrees for 3 hours and so she calls out for pizza. Delivered, of course, because the gas tank has sugar in it. So the answer is: Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, or it's free!

You want to talk about patience? No problem. Patience is my middle name. I've done tons of patience work-outs. Over the last 17 years I have refolded 65% of the laundry, first due to toddlers "helping" and then, later, to older children who, no matter how many times you explain and/or show them, will always fold the towels in precisely that way that makes it impossible to store them in the linen closet.

Over the last 17 years I have sung Baby Beluga 97,645 times and wiped cake batter off the walls 873 times due to children who turned the dial on the mixer when I turned around to get the eggs even though I said not to, because they didn't know I meant not to turn the mixer "on" on, they just thought I meant not to turn the mixer "all the way on."

Over the last 17 years I have--What? No, go ask Pop, I'm busy now. I'm writing. An essay. About mommies. No, not now. No, I'm trying to think, please go ask Pop. I think they're in the bottom drawer. Did you look? Well, then I don't know where they are. Did you look underneath? Go ask Pop to help you look. Look. I can't help you now. Go ask Pop. NOW! PLEASE!--What was I talking about?

Oh, yes, patience and concentration. Absolutely essential to good mothering.

Liza Cameron Wasser is the mother of five and an aspiring writer. She would like to dedicate this essay to her children, who are her favorite writing subject and without whom this essay would have been done much sooner.

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© Copyright 1997 - Liza Cameron Wasser. All rights reserved.