The 13 Inventions Moms Really Need
1. Clear ketchup.
2. Shots that tickle.
3. Sugar-free, vitamin-filled, cavity-fighting lollipops that coat kids’ teeth in the perfect level of fluoride.
4. Emergency toilet paper and diaper air-drop delivery. Your nine-year-old used up the last square of toilet paper just before bedtime? No problem. No need to resort to tissues or—heaven forbid—paper towels. Call the air drop hotline, and an emergency super-soft eight-pack will land in your front yard within five minutes. Your husband forgot to mention that he used the last diaper while you were out, and every diaper bag has already been cleaned out? No problem. Call the airdrop hotline. (For a small additional fee, milk, bread, children’s ibuprofen, humidifiers, and poster board for your fifth grader’s last-minute school project can also be air-dropped.)
5. A drive-thru kid-wash. Hold child out the car window—or better yet, buckle them into a small bucket seat that attaches to the side of your minivan, like a motorcycle sidecar—and then kids go for a fun ride! While Mom and Dad put the van in neutral and relax inside, rocking out to non-kid music and munching on hors d’oeuvres, the happy child gets sprayed by colorful soap bubbles, tickled and cleaned by a fun scrub brush, and gently blown dry. For an extra fee, their teeth can get brushed and flossed, too. When you pull the child back inside the van, they are ready for bed: clothed in fresh pajamas, hair combed, teeth shining. The minute you get home, you can toss a clean, happy child in the bed.
6. An instant food lukewarmifier. What’s a food lukewarmifier? It immediately heats or cools any food to that perfect but elusive lukewarm temperature that picky kids demand. No need to cook your child’s food, then put it in the freezer for a never-fast-enough cool-down, only to find that you’ve over-cooled it, and now you have to microwave it all over again for exactly nine point two seconds. All while your starving toddler shrieks and stabs your table with their baby fork.
7. Pacifiers that gradually wean the child automatically: Like, maybe the pacifier begins to release a gross-tasting flavor (probably kale) when the child reaches 18 months of age. After a few hours or days of this flavor, the toddler decides, “Hey, I don’t like my pacifier anymore. All done. Habit broken. Now Mommy doesn’t have to get a second job to fund my braces.”
8. Emergency mute buttons for children. For those humiliating parenting moments when your child points at a stranger and shouts something horrifying like, “Look, Mommy! That man has a baby in his tummy!” These buttons would come with remote controls that reach to the back of the car, across the dinner table, even across the playground or shopping mall.
9. Family-size invisibility shields (complete with sound barriers). Press a button, up goes the shield, and voilà—instant privacy. Your kid starts throwing an epic tantrum in public, and you can’t properly deal with them while all the bystanders are glaring at you and judging your parenting? Shields up! Your potty-trainer yanks down their Pull-Up and tries to use a potted plant in the mall for a toilet? Shields up! Your child goes digging for gold in their nose in the middle of a restaurant? Shields up! Your toddler walks up behind you, goes for a hug, but accidentally hikes your skirt up for the whole world to see? Shields up!
10. Cough medicine for babies that is safe and homeopathic and actually works. Because BABIES COUGH ALL THE TIME, ALL NIGHT LONG, WHENEVER THEY GET THE SLIGHTEST SNIFFLE, AND NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE SAY, HONEY AND VICKS BABY RUB DON’T HELP AT ALL. (Okay. Rant over.)
11. Mad-Eye Moody Eyeballs for moms—you know, from Harry Potter. These magical eyeballs can roll 360 degrees, see through the back of your head, and even spy on people through walls. (Ideally, you would be able to assign a different Mad-Eye Moody Eyeball to each of your children, to help you keep track of multiple kids at once on crowded playgrounds.)
12. Go-Go-Gadget Arms. You remember, from the classic 80s cartoon “Inspector Gadget” (recently revived on Netflix). These arms can extend like 50 feet in any direction, even around corners, to rescue people and grasp unreachable things. These arms can morph into drills, screwdrivers, crock pots, dental equipment—whatever shape you might need. A pair of Go-Go-Gadget Arms would especially come in handy while driving with children in the backseat: Toddler drops pacifier on minivan floor and begins to shriek? Go-Go-Gadget Arms to the rescue! Three-year-old gags on a piece of apple and may need the Heimlich maneuver while you’re doing 65 on the Interstate? Go-Go-Gadget Arms to the rescue! Six-year-old can’t put straw in juice box and has a meltdown? Go-Go-Gadget Arms to the rescue! Brother keeps pinching sister and making her cry in the back seat? Go-Go-Gadget Arms to the rescue!
13. Emotionally intelligent holograms of Mommy that can attend any function with your children, for those times when you need to be at two field days, one swim meet, one parent-teacher conference, and a piano lesson all at the same time. A basic hologram would not do. The hologram must be empathetic: able to comfort the child who has lost the sack race; cheer enthusiastically for the child who has won third place in the 50 backstroke; nod and “hmm” at everything the teacher says; and commiserate with (while also gently disciplining) the child who forgot to practice piano this week.
Okay, your turn: What inventions do you really need to help you survive motherhood?
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Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.