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  • Writer's picturePhyllis H. Moore

Motherhood the Second Oldest Profession

Witty, huh? It's not mine. It's a quote from Erma Bombeck. I'm old enough to remember when Erma had a weekly column in most big city newspapers. She was a great writer and laugh-out-loud funny. However, she could also be serious. She was the author of many books covering a wide range of topics, mostly about women and their responsibilities.

She has been quoted many times from her writings on husbands, motherhood, aging, and children to what it's like to be a woman. She had a platform before we knew what a platform was. And her platform wasn't limited because she was widely read by both sexes.

On Mother's Day, I think of her poem, When God Created Mothers:

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.” 

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.” 

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.” 

It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.” 

That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded. 

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.” 

God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….” 

I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine-year old to stand under a shower.” 

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed. 

But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.” 

Can it think?” 

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said theCreator

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. 

There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.” 

It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.” 

What’s it for?” 

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.” 

You are a genius, ” said the angel. 

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.” 


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Saralyn Jacobson Richard
Saralyn Jacobson Richard
14 may

Beautiful sentiment, and very true. Erma Bombeck was my mother's favorite humorist. This poem was obviously written about her!

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