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Words that describe mothering

(12 Posts)
RachaelandAgatha Fri 24-Jul-09 13:59:55

I have been reading the book "What Mothers Do" by Naomi Stadlen and early on in it she laments the lack of normal English words to describe the intense process and varied activities involved in mothering, particularly the early stages with babies. She points out that many words exist to describe the type of bad mother - neglectful, abusive, impatient, over protective etc - but not the actions and deeds of the good mother. I had a think about this and you know I think she is right.

So mumsnetters here is my dictionary of some words I've used to describe my day and actions to DH as I mother DD now 8mo. Please fell free to add your own. Together we can create a baby-raising vocabulary!

Jiggling - the action of holding a wriggly baby on your knee/lap and using your voice, hands and massively exaggerated facial expressions to entertain them often while constantly bouncing them. This can go on for the best part of an hour several times a day, frequently seen in public waiting rooms. Physically exhausting.
example: "I spent the afternoon jiggling the baby".

being baby pinned - unable to reach a phone/door/go and pee/get a drink as you have spent ages getting the baby to settle and they fall asleep on your lap and you daren't move. Think of butterflies pinned into display cases in museums or Gulliver staked to the ground by hundreds of little Lilliputians.
example: "I was baby pinned until 3pm".

going on a baby walk - the action of strolling into town with pram/buggy once a day so you can see other human beings on the flimsy premise that your food cupboard really needs paper plates/dijon mustard/spring onions.

exploring - with older babies you lie or sit on the floor and react to some object as if it were utterly fascinating and extraordinary and you'd never seen it before with much stroking, ooh and aahing, sniffing poking etc until the baby takes notice and joins in.
example: "we explored the vacuum cleaner" as opposed to "I did the vacuuming".

reading - intensely watching the baby to see what tiny twitches of their facial muscles, slight change of cry or hand motion indicates pooping/hunger/tiredness/illness etc and responding accordingly. Has to be done for hundreds of hours before you become any good at it.

armtime - the time a baby is spent on your shoulder, hip, in arms everyday as they are calm and content there but will cry if you put them down anywhere. Different to cuddling as you are usually trying to do something else at the same time. Also physically exhausting.
example: "DD needed lots of armtime today".

poopalanche or mudslide - unbelievable amount of poo squidging out of a nappy and all over the baby's clothes.

Now I can describe my day to my husband like this "today I jiggled the baby while having breakfast then we had a lot of armtime as we got dressed and tidied the bedroom she smiled at herself in the mirror for the first time. Later we explored the TV remote control, you may want to wipe it dry before watching anything, then I read she was tired, rocked her to sleep and was baby pinned until 1pm. After lunch we went on a baby walk which is why you've got chicken livers, an iceberg lettuce and half an iced bun for tea. Had to deal with a poopalanche which upset her as she ended up in the bathroom sink, I should probably go and empty it, so she needed more armtime then I jiggled her while updating your mum on the phone." Husband "so you just made the bed then..."

thefortbuilder Fri 24-Jul-09 14:03:05

mine is easy - today I spent pretty much the whole day trying to stop the ds's (3 and 16m) from killing each other while trying to stay sane and run a business and the house grin

sorry probably not what you were looking for

oneplusone Fri 24-Jul-09 16:39:41

I should have thoroughly read the job description, including the small print, before I took on the job, as I am most definately not cut out for it.

Sorry, not what you're looking for, having a very bad day.

TurtleAnn Fri 24-Jul-09 21:33:56

DH keeps pointing out that 'total cost of ownership' was not disclosed prior to purchase

nikkilh76 Fri 24-Jul-09 21:41:25

insane - make a complete fool of yourself in public just to amuse your tired/hungry/fed up baby while you try to complete the shopping!!

southeastastra Fri 24-Jul-09 21:43:34

aw it's so cute how much we worry when our children are babies. they grow up so quickly and then you're basically on yer own advice wise

chocolatefudgebrownie Fri 24-Jul-09 21:46:17

Bloody hard work!

Greatfun Fri 24-Jul-09 22:06:55

I don't have a word for this other than role playing - tonight I was playing the part of the monster on my 3 year old DDs demand which involved me pretending to be a robotic monster who smothered DD and DS in kisses. They thought it was hilarious. I was losing the will to live on the 10th go.

LovingtheSilverFox Fri 24-Jul-09 22:21:01

Letting it go - when DD decides that at 3 yo she knows what she wants to wear and puts on best dress, jogging bottoms and thermal socks combo on the hottest day of the year. Then picks activity as painting (everything except the paper in front of her) and a water fight. Best dress meets the bin that evening, but with everything else, and DTs to deal with I just let it go.

LovingtheSilverFox Fri 24-Jul-09 22:21:46

Sorry that should have been let it go

LovingtheSilverFox Fri 24-Jul-09 22:24:10

Breakquast that meal at the beginning of the day which starts out with "I want rice krispies" "Not rice krispies, I want Weetabix" "No not Weetabix, I want toast" "No not toast, Weetabix" "What are you having Mummy?" "A breakdown darling" "Yes I want one of those".

oneplusone Sat 25-Jul-09 13:08:18

Silverfox, I love it! Thank you for cheering me up.

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