How to Be a 4H Mom (in 16 Easy Steps)
Warning: You're about to enter an alternate universe- the universe of 4H. And if you've ever wondered how to rock this universe as a mom, now you can, in 16 easy steps. STEP 1: Marry someone who grew up on a farm. Have kids. Move to that farm.
STEP 2: Sign your kids up for a program called 4H.
STEP 3: Pay a lot of money for a baby animal, say, a pig or a lamb.
You Your child then cares for the animal, feeding it and watering it and even walking it. Pay even more money for "feed" (which is fancy farm talk for "animal food.") Your "child" continues to care for the animal all summer long.
STEP 4: Worry that your animal won't "make weight." "Make weight" is farm for "it weighs enough and you can sell it at the fair and pretend to break even." But every 4H parent knows your animal might "fail to make weight," which is farm for "you did a crappy job raising this animal and all the money and time put into it was a waste. Find a nice neighbor who will buy it from you for $70. You're a loser."
STEP 5: As the fair approaches (where your child will show and sell his animal) your 4H-experienced husband will inform you he has a training to attend at work. So YOU will be in charge. Blink twice and ask him to repeat himself.
STEP 6: On fair-eve, stay up late with your kids, helping them frantically fill out their record books that they were supposed to be keeping all summer long.
Write help them write the required essay on what they learned that summer. Just google some stuff.
STEP 7: On fair morning, wake up at the crack of dawn to don your most farm-looking shirt (plaid..?) and follow your GPS to the fairgrounds, trying to look like you know what you're doing. Walk quickly with your eyes fixed straight ahead and your body language will say, "I know what I am doing. I am 100% confident in my 4H skills. Hello?? I'm wearing plaid."
STEP 8: When his name is called, help your kid get his pig out of his pen. This involves pushing and prodding and pleading with the REALLY HEAVY pig to stand up. Then more pushing and pulling and ungraceful wrestling to get the pig to walk to the ring. You might let a girlish squeal escape when the pig knocks you over and almost wiggles her way out the wrong exit. Other parents will try not to stare.
STEP 9: In your efforts, brush your leg up against the backside of the pig, right as she is pooping. A few steps later, the pig will urinate directly onto your shoe, soaking your sock. You realize that's why every other parent is wearing boots. Tuck this information away for next year. Keep urging the (screaming) pig on, ignoring the wet squishiness that is now your sock, and almost cry in relief when a nice dad notices your pathetic state and starts moving the (seriously, SCREAMING) pig into the ring for you.
STEP 10: Now, your child gets to demonstrate how well he can "show"
your his pig to a judge. And by "show," I mean tap it with a stick 12,437 times around the ring, trying to keep it away from the fence and the other pigs, while smiling and making eye contact with the judge. Your child's eyes need to say, "I am having fun. It is fun to tap pigs around a ring. I am not at all frustrated that my 260lb screaming pig is not responding to the annoying stick-tapping and keeps heading toward the exit. I am loving this so much."
After 15 minutes of pig tapping and fake smiling, your child is dripping sweat. He gets either a red or blue ribbon for his tapping skills and leaves the ring as you snap 23 more pictures. Then, your heart drops because you realize in horror:
YOU HAVE ANOTHER CHILD WITH ANOTHER PIG.
STEP 11: Sprint back to the pig pen, breathlessly congratulate Child #1 on his ribbon, and begin the process anew with Child #2.
After the judge judges every kid, he judges every pig. So into the ring they must go again. When the judge comments about each pig, you'll want to nod so you look smart to the other parents. He'll say things you don't understand, like "There's a lot of power working in this gilt and a lot of width of chest, although not as massive in her overall width up top. I appreciate her sound pastern, as well as her nice loin junction, but I'd like to see a little more length of cannon bone, especially when compared to these top three."
STEP 12: Just nod.
If your kid's pig wins 1st in his class, you'll learn he has to come BACK into the ring AGAIN to be judged against the other 1st place pigs.
STEP 13: Do not cry. Because that would appear ungrateful. Try to look as pleased as possible as you walk back to the pig pen to break the good news to your child and force the pig AGAIN into the ring.
When it comes time for the actual sale of the animals, your child will enter the ring
of shame alone while big businesses and corporations bid on his pig. The auctioneer will be chanting things like,
STEP 14: You're not exactly sure what "3" means, but you know it has to be better than 2. Resist the urge to stand up and yell, "Someone give him 3!! SOMEONE GIVE THE MAN 3!!!!! FOR THE LOVE, SOMEONE BID ON MY KID'S PIG!!!!" Because that would be tacky. Just sit there in a silent sweat, wishing you were unconscious.
STEP 15: After the fair is over, take some pictures of the kids/pigs/ribbons for Instagram. Use clever hashtags like #4H4ever and #pigsarecraycray.
STEP 16: Make your way back home and collapse (still smelling like pig) on the couch. After your nap, I would advise showering and getting into some non-plaid pajamas while congratulating yourself.
Because you are a 4H Mom. And if there were a blue ribbon for such a thing, surely it would be yours.
Now go have some bacon.