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 favorites may still be: “congratulations on your recent body piercing” and then it listed a variety of options of which you could check one. Celebrating real moments…..not just holidays was their focus, and I loved it. Greeting cards I fear are on their way out; however, I recently decided that motherhood might do well to celebrate some of it more common milestones with its own line of cards. So here are my top ten favorites:
1. Congratulations on only seeing one pink line!!
This card will features a bored stork sitting in a coffee shop with some friends. Let’s be honest we all have those friends who you swear have a fertility statue below their beds. Some women struggle for years with conception, and then there’s this cross section of your friends who simply think their babies into existence. These women basically live in light terror every month that technology and western medicine may have failed them. They buy pregnancy tests in bulk, and 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 take the test….oh and dark chocolate there should totally be dark chocolate to send with it.
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 a 2 year old to release their bowels 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…liberation is achieved…and you need to obviously throw that woman a poop party, and give her a card.
3. Congratulations on getting through an entire dinner without anyone complaining or without you having to remind children to pick up their forks!
The title feels a little long, but lets get real…. this milestone is monumental. These mothers may also appreciate if you include some kind of wrinkle eye cream because this milestone is not achieved without MANY furrowed brows.
4. 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 mean aspiring artist who prefers the medium of permanent ink….well there’s a special club in heaven for you, and all the furniture is white just FYI. With each unauthorized artistic offense you are forced to clean, your life span will shorten by 8 months…no one else will tell you that, but its true. Buy the protection plan for your furniture, invest in magic erasers, and above all purchase a 5 gallon bucket of rubbing alcohol friends….trust me…just buy it. These women deserve a card after navigating upsetting moments like these, and maybe a Fifth of Tequila.
5. Congratulations on surviving your child’s unauthorized scissor usage on: a dolls hair, their siblings hair, their own hair, a neighbors hair. (I pray you only have one to check.)
The neighbor kid’s hair part is particularly painful. Luckily this card comes as a two pack, one for your mourning friend, and one for them 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.” 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 at the hand of a pair of scissors. They will find the scissors.
6. Congratulations on not apologizing for your child’s mismatched outfit!
Motherhood is a series of desiring to control every thing your child does, while simultaneously struggling with the reality that you in fact control very little of what they do. Maturity in motherhood teaches us the importance of picking ones battles. In the instance of many an aspiring outfit-selecting preschooler…this rite of passage may mean allowing your child to confidently march out the front door wearing a cheetah dress with rainbow stripped leggings, and her black church shoes.
You only get this card when you can navigate the entire day WITHOUT apologizing for what your child is wearing. If you are truly worried neighbors or strangers at the store may in fact assume you might have selected your four year olds horribly miss-matched attire…..well we might need a whole other line of cards just for you.
7. Congratulations on surviving your first de-loucing!
Apparently teachers are not allowed to notify parents of an outbreak of lice anymore…..because…..we wouldn’t want to make a child feel bad. Such as I understand it anonymity is not completely lost in our modern age. I think there is a work around here educational system, especially since this delightful inconvenience could be so easily nipped in the bud with early warning, and one quick wash and comb through. Despite our best efforts there is a very good chance that your child may one day bring an unwanted houseguest into your home, and when that day happens there needs to be a card for surviving this milestone….and possibly a gift card for a massage.
8. Congratulations on navigating your first call to poison control!
Lets be honest theres likely little you could tell the operator at Poison Control something they have not already heard. We all have the moment when we decide the phone call is a good idea. It might be overreacting on the side of caution, but sometimes the cathartic call is for more for your benefit than for the child in question. Be aware that despite this phone call being made, you will still spend the next several days googling things on Web MD, and will receive an arguably passive-aggressive poison control newsletter once a quarter from here to eternity. A card might be just the thing your distressed friend needs to remind them that they are not a terrible mother, and that it is infact okay to leave your children momentarily unattended to use the bathroom.
9. Congratulations on navigating a public display of emotions with dignity!
We’ve all been the mom who’s child is causing a total scene. 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 courtesy finger symbols, and chant “strong children make strong adults, strong children make strong adults.” You totally have this!!
10. Congratulations on sleeping through the night!
This 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…..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 greeting 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, and it only happens once so this milestone also deserves a dinner out.
Motherhood lived in technicolor reminds me to truly celebrate these victories with each other….because community….is what makes the world go round. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to open my own Etsy shop…this mom card thing really needs to happen.
Summer Smith is a speaker, writer, and motherhood blogger. She and her family are currently navigating the suburbs of Northern Virginia. As the mother to four young children, Summer maintains her sanity thanks to her sense of humor, copious amounts of coffee, and Amazon Prime. Maya Angelou once said, when reflecting on her childhood, that her mother left an impression like technicolor stars in the midnight sky. Influenced by these words, Summer blogs at her website Motherhood in Technicolor, and can also be found on her Motherhood in Technicolor Facebook page.