Yesterday, as I rode Thomas the Train for the second time this month, I watched all the fellow mommies diligently shuffling their kids through the pouring rain, and I remembered something.
I remembered that before I had Junior, I made fun of moms. Mercilessly. They seemed so eager to please and to use the word poop. I didn’t like all their stupid containers and how they always needed to compartmentalize snacks, toys and diapers.
I thought women who became mothers morphed into Mombots who sacrificed their fun, quirky and sometimes irresponsible inner selves to the ravenous child beast and shared way too much personal information. I also thought that mom-types were predetermined much in the way that Barbie’s different personas are and that I had no choice about what kind I’d become.
Would I become Crunchy Vegetarian Mom who only wore corduroy overalls and ate trail mix? Would I become Cocktail Mom who had a stiff drink in one hand and formula in the other and who accidentally slept with Crunchy Vegetarian Mom’s husband, also known as Malibu Dad?
(Heh, heh. Don’t you love when people accidentally sleep with eachother?)
Now I have a kid, so I have a clearer picture. Although I use the word poop a lot and share way too much information (hello, blog?), I’ve learned that you aren’t arbitrarily engulfed by a mother persona; or if you are, you were probably leaning in that direction anyway.
I’m also happy to say that my former inner self is alive and well. I know this because my friends keep telling me: “It’s so great. You haven’t changed since Junior.”
Over. And over. And over again.
At first I thought, Yeeha. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. How could motherhood not have changed me?
I can think of the little ways I’ve changed. If I go to the grocery store without Junior, I can ransack the place in 23:04 minutes because I am so efficient now. I vacuum at strange hours of the night. I am a compulsive multi-tasker, often in ways that disgust me (like putting on mascara while talking to the credit card company while sitting on the porcelain bowl while supervising Junior’s bath while ruminating on my work to-do list).
But those aren’t necessarily good things, and they’re not fundamental. I didn’t go through nine months of labor to not only stay the same but also become unexciting, mechanical and anal. In a(nother) moment of self-doubt, I concluded that if motherhood hasn’t changed me, I must not have embraced my new role with enough testicle. Ergo, I’ve been mommying with only one nut.
Will the world ever be safe again?
Yes, yes, my kittens, it will. I’m happy to report that there’s a giant uniball at the end of this tunnel.
Last night, after Junior and I had dried off from our Thomas outing, my friend Jen came over with her four-month-old son. This girl is a trooper. Not only did she drive to Connecticut from North Carolina by herself with an infant to see her family and friends, she drove an extra hour to see me in Mulletville.
Jen and I drank wine and talked. Then we drank some more. Something beautiful happened, and it wasn’t just the wine buzz. The more we talked, the more I realized that despite being ridiculously sleep-deprived, Jen really hasn’t changed that much (cue sit-com “aha” moment). Her sense of direction still sucks. She’s still a bitch for never gaining weight. And she still manages to find cool shoes at the Maxi Pad. So, duh, she’s Jen, but with a kid.
It was like I got a glimpse of myself from my friends’ perspective and it wasn’t bad at all. It was gloriously reassuring. I love that Jen is still Jen; I wish I’d told her that. I also love that every day, thanks to this blog, I realize what a freak I am for obsessing about things that aren’t stress-worthy. I do have two nuts and I need to caress them and honor them with all my heart.
Simply, I need to give myself a mommy erection a bit more often. I hope you give yourself one too—and your partner*.
* Malibu Dad made me write that.
About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.