Lily is on my laptop working on a business class project, so I am writing on my phone, which is always a little weird. As she works, Lily is intermittently asking me questions and musing about wishing she had a life skills class to teach her how to do random things like take a screenshot on a MacBook. I, of course, scoffed at her, because as the mother of a teenager girl and a tween girl, scoffing is my second language.
But, she does have a point. When my Nana was a girl the essential life skills she learned were domestic based: cooking, sewing, piano playing, painting, how to sit up very, very straight, fork usage and of course, how to sternly tutor your granddaughter in French.
I have taught my children all of these things in varying degree (in fact Nicholas just spray painted some trees putting his painting skills to use), but I feel like they have to learn even more things, like, as my brilliant, yet sometimes scoffing daughter suggested: how to take a screenshot on a MacBook.
While there are YouTube videos for everything, nothing replaces a mother’s love and teachings. So here are the 5 life skills I plan to teach my brood by the end of 2021:
1. How to effectively respond to conversations using Gifs.
Listen, there is an art form to writing and responding with Gifs. Sometimes, you might notice my husband responding to my blogs on Facebook with a Gif that makes absolutely no sense (he was also formula fed, so there are deep issues!). The key is to pause and act out the Gif on your own to see if it feels like the right response. If it feels ridiculous, then you are on the right track.
2. DIY contact tracing
In these pandemic days, you’ve got to be on top of contact tracing. Forget the public health professionals: they are overworked! My children need to know how to work their networks and social media timelines to figure out who has what and when and how far away they were at the time.
3. How to use dry shampoo
In these busy times, there is not time to stay home and wash your hair and blow dry it (that was what 2020 was for!). And I cannot have children who leave the home with wet heads (the horror!). It is essential that each of my children knows the effective and proper use of dry shampoo (and also when you have to take the plunge and lather up!).
4. How to use a postage stamp
The other day, my son used a sheet of stamps to decorate a plastic bin. He was very proud until I told him he just covered his junk bin with CASH MONEY. Stamps are currency! My children don’t know how to mail a letter or write a letter or where the post office is or the difference between a stamp and a sticker! If you are wondering how to use a postage stamp, you simply stick it on an envelope. Then place the envelope in your handbag and leave it there until you see the person in real life and hand it to them.
5. How to unclog a sink
We have a bathroom sink that is always clogged. It’s annoying. They believe the clog is remedied by a magical, invisible plumber. But there are two ways to unclog a sink: first, do not put trash down the sink drain; second, call your father. He knows the magical, invisible plumber.