How to Make a Mother
The test of a good mother is never how they react to the status quo but always how they cope in a crisis
When your child is still very small, teach them how to knit, how to draw a bath, how to bake a pie, how to make a bed, and how to serve tea. When they grow up, if they are unwell in any capacity always suggest a cup of English breakfast (with a splash of milk), a hot bath (with lavender salts), clean sheets (with crisp corners), and some sort of sugary pick-me-up — homemade preferable.
When your child is nine, and the other kids in their class are sorted into two groups (one group considered the “good readers,” and granted access to the “Great Books Club” that meets once a week in the library, and the other group, unnamed, forced to busy themselves with chores and mundane activities in the classroom), recognize that something is wrong and tease the fact that your child was not chosen for Great Books out during carpool so that you don’t have to see their eyes when they tell you they think they must be very bad at reading.
Take them to Dutton’s and wave your hands at the stacked shelves, making sure your face is close to your child’s when you say, “You can have any book you want. Pick as many as you can carry.”
Leave with every book L.M. Montgomery has ever written and a month later, when your child has finished them all, go back and do it again. Continue this tradition well beyond the B.A. your child earns in English literature and the M.F.A. they end up with in creative writing. Continue to buy them all of the books — great ones and otherwise.
When they are 12 and everyone they know is getting bar and bat mitzvah’d, break the news gently that you will not be buying them a new dress for every party but agree to let them pick one perfect gown to be used throughout the season. Take them to Bullock’s department store in Westwood Village. When you enter the marble-floored, high-ceilinged lobby, dodge the elegant salesgirls all trying to lure you to their makeup counters and go straight to the dress department. Allow your child to try on gown after gown but when you can’t find something satin…