In Kids & Family

Parenting is "Mmm Mmm Good!" ... Most of the time.

Motherfest: If parenting had a slogan, what would it be?

During my first year of parenting, I lived inside a blissy bubble, a warm and dreamy nest illuminated by the glow of a bunny-shaped night light. Back then, I often remarked that if parenting had a tagline or slogan, it should be the Peace Corps slogan: "The toughest job you'll ever love."

I still believe this, but the post-baby years have been different, both more challenging and more rewarding. In general, parenthood delivers a lot of laughter, compassion, patience and love, but I must admit that occasionally other taglines seem more appropriate.

"Sometimes you feel like a nut ..." The Almond Joy / Mounds tagline packages the motherhood experience quite accurately. After all, completely irrational youngsters, especially toddlers, are cute-faced culprits when it comes to perpetuating the crazies. A few years ago, I explained to my then-toddler why there isn't a mailperson inside my computer who delivers the e-mail, and the very next day, I struggled to figure out what he meant when I gave him a sippy cup and he wailed for "a pile of water" instead. I really think I would have been less nutty if my brain could have stopped looping the lyrics "and they swam and they swam all over the dam" for a few minutes.

"I'd walk a mile for a Camel." The daily smoking of cigs went "off the air" in my life around the same time Carrie Bradshaw quit on "Sex and the City." Unrolling fruit roll-ups with nicotine-stained fingers just seems wrong. But deep down, in my heart of hearts, I must admit that after a particularly grueling day, I would probably walk two miles for a smoke ... and hitchhike another 10. On really, really frustrating days, the old Tumbleweed Southwest Grill tagline "Need the Weed" comes to mind.

"Takes a licking, keeps on ticking." Yep, just like Timex watches, moms take a lickin,' all right, and I don't mean that in a good, "after-hours-with-daddy" sort of way. Few people talk about the injuries involved in parenting, but head butting, hitting, biting -- or unintentional back pain from all the lifting -- can produce big ol' owies.

"Calgon take me away!" You couldn't pay me to bathe in our tub on most days (who has time to scrub in between free-peeing boy baths?), but this classic tagline has spoken directly to parents for two generations. All mums and pops have moments when the kid's freaking, the phone's tweeting, the dog's yapping and the desire to take a hot bath -- or to drown yourself in the tub -- is a soothing thought. (Actually, my entire house is a wreck right now, so if anyone has a line on "The Quicker Picker-Upper" send it my way.)

"Kid-tested." I'm seven years into the mom game, and after experiencing everything from emergency room breakdowns to pride swells the size of Uranus, I can honestly say I feel akin to the Kix cereal tagline, "Kid-Tested." (I hope my boys feel the second half of the tagline which is "Mother Approved.") Sure, this bowl of Life cereal is testing me, but for the love of Mikey, I like it.

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