Two women were talking about their individual families. The conversation went something like this: I have the perfect son. Does he smoke anything? No. Does he drink alcohol? No? Does he use foul language? No. Does he drive fast? No. Does he have sex? No. Does he break curfew? No. Well, I guess you do have the perfect son. How old is he? He’ll be six-months next Wednesday.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was one of England’s greatest preachers, a towering biblical intellect in the pulpit and impeccable in his delivery of truth. But he was also a physician. And once when the good doctor was speaking to a group of Christian medical students, they complained that because of the heavy demands of their academic studies and hospital rounds, they didn’t have any time left for personal devotions (i.e., Bible reading and prayer). Dr Jones bristled and said, “As a physician, I have been where you are, and like anything in life, there is time for what you really want to do.” But then after a long pause, he added, “However, I make one exception to what I just said: mothers of pre-school age children. They do not have the time or the strength.” Now when I read that, I thought to myself, you wouldn’t expect to hear this from a man who was the epitome of the proper English gentlemen. Yet he somehow understood the Herculean task a young mother takes on. So how does a young lady determine if she’s up to the task? Take the test!
#1 CHILDREN & PREPARATION – First for the ladies: Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there. After nine months, remove five percent of the beans. Second, for the men: Go to the local drug store, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket and arrange to have your salary paid directly to the head office.
#2 CHILDREN & KNOWLEDGE – Find a couple who are already parents and critique them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Then suggest ways they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour. Enjoy it – it’s the last time you’ll have all the answers.
#3 CHILDREN & NIGHTS – Walk around the living room from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. carrying a wet bag weighing 10-15 pounds, with a radio tuned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. At 10:00 p.m., put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep. Get up at 11:00 p.m. and walk the bag around the room until 1:00 a.m. Set the alarm for 3:00 a.m. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2:00 a.m. and make a cup of tea. Go to bed at 2:45 a.m. Get up at 3:00 a.m. when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4:00 a.m. Put the alarm on for 5:00 a.m. Get up when it goes off. Make breakfast. Keep this up for five years. And look cheerful!
#4 CHILDREN & DRESSING – Buy a live octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed to do this? Five minutes.
#5 CHILDREN AND CARS – Forget the sports car. Get a mini-van. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Take a coin and insert it into the compact disc player. Open a box of crackers and mash them into the back seat. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.
#6 CHILDREN AND WALKING – Wait. Then go out the front door. Come back in again. Go out. Come back in again. Go out again. Walk down the front steps. Walk back up the front steps. Walk back down the front steps. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes. Stop, inspect minutely and answer at least six questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insects along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house.
#7 CHILDREN AND SHOPPING – Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child (a fully grown goat is excellent). If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.
#8 CHILDREN AND FEEDING – Hallow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side of the melon. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and start swinging it side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while at the same time pretending to be an airplane coming in for a landing. Continue until about half the cornflakes are gone. Then tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.
#9 CHILDREN AND TRIPS – Make a recording of someone shouting “Mommy” repeatedly. Important note: no more than a four-second delay between each “Mommy” and include an occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet. Play the tape in your car, everywhere you go, for the next four years.
#10 CHILDREN AND CONVERSATION – Start talking to an adult. At the same time, have someone else continually tug on your dress hem or blouse sleeve while playing the “Mommy” tape mentioned above.
#11 CHILDREN AND TELEVISION – Learn the names of every cartoon character and watch nothing else on the screen for at least five years.
#12 CHILDREN AND MESS – Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and curtains. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor and then randomly drag items from one room to another and leave them there.
#13 CHILDREN AND WORK – Pick a day on which you have an important meeting. Put on your finest work attire. Take a cup of cream and put one cup of lemon juice in it. Stir. Dump half of it on your nice silk blouse. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture. Attempt to clean your blouse with the same saturated towel. Do not change as you have no time. Now go directly to work.
When you have completed the above, you are now ready to have children. And you men thought you had the toughest job in the world!