Thursday, June 5, 2014

10 Unexpected Ways Motherhood Changed Me

I'm following Mandy's lead over at Words by the Glass (she's hilarious, by the way. Check her out:

1. I'll just get this one out of the way. Allowing yourself to (gasp!) poop at the office, or in public, doesn't seem so weird. You've shit on a table, in front of your partner and probably at least two other people, some of them strangers. So going in a toilet, a designated and sanitary place for the stuff, is no big. In fact, you're so happy to just be regular again, you welcome it. Pay the others in the restroom no mind. Although if you find yourself wearing plain-Jane shoes to work to disguise your under-stall self during your morning poo, I won’t blame you.

2. I allow myself to be more selfish with my time. I leave work on time so that I can pick my daughter up. My time now is really my daughter's time. (“Me” time isn’t a thing yet. And I accept that it may never be.)

3. Relaxing has a completely different meaning. Any time baby is not crying is relax time. Chores have become muscle memory, the lifting in and out of the crib, the motion of my hands as I change a diaper. But fear not, expectant moms: just because it’s routine doesn’t mean it’s boring. No, baby will mix things up with a poop on the wall, pee on your pillowcase and more bodily fluids EVERYWHERE. And somehow, giving your baby a bath can be relaxing. Until she pees in the tub.

4. I'm back on coffee. I say "on" because it’s totally a drug. It takes the edge off. Of mornings. Coffee is my new wine. Except that wine is still my wine.

5. I'm a safer driver. Not that I was that crazy-town before, but just consider me a constant at-least-five-over driver. I now find myself yelling at other drivers and scorning them from my window, saying to myself, "There are precious children around you!" and the old cliche my mother used to yell at me, "You may not value your life, but I do." This paragraph could also start with “I’m turning into my mother.”

6. I'm more generous. All relationships are more precious to me. I recently made two—yes, two!—cookie cakes for my brother-in-law's birthday. Before you start patting me on the back, I did really want some cookie cake myself. But I also iced and decorated them with a somewhat-sloppy birthday message to dress them up for the occasion. I really did want to show that I cared and give a little of my time and money (you know, I wouldn't normally splurge for decorating icing).

7. I think I'm nicer. There are people that I just can't stand sometimes. You know, the people who are too cheery, or too witty, or smart or funny. The people who you just can't stand because there's nothing you can't stand about them.
I think I try to understand them more, empathize more, tell myself that just because they're super-fucking-nice all the time doesn't mean they're hiding some deep dark secrets. I take niceness at face value now, because there just isn't enough of it in the world and I want more of it for my daughter.

8. I am also a monster she-beast. Let me tell you, I'm not always proud. A recent shameful moment: My husband's grandma started tickling my daughter's feet while she breastfed. My daughter, startled, lost the breast and cried. Before I had a second to think, I shot eye-daggers at this sweet woman who sends us hand-made cards for our anniversary, birthdays, Christmas, everything. I asked, "What are you doing?!" and immediately realized my anger was kind of inappropriate. It only took me another second to calm back down and get my baby back on the breast. But you mess with my daughter's feeding? I WILL SLAY YOU.

9. Which leads me to this: I have a new capability to experience so many emotions at such high intensities at the same time, it leaves me dizzy and wondering why I didn't buy the waterproof mascara. So much love, fear, anger, fatigue, protectiveness, hopelessness, beauty, excitement, nostalgia, wanting time to stand still for real. Wanting more babies but wanting this one, just this one, to stay little forever but also grow up to be President. It's really insane, guys.

10. I'm almost child-like in the way I make new mom friends. My mother used to tell me about how I was so outgoing as a child. I'd walk up to kids anywhere and say "Hi, I'm Liz. Wanna be my friend?" Then came puberty and the awkwardness of middle school that never really went away.
And now, as a mom, I’m more like a kid. I went to the baby group at my hospital, and loved it. I talk to other moms to know that I’m not the only one sucking snot out of a baby's nose in my "spare time." Or checking out diaper sales. Or pumping three times a day at work. Plus, we all have the whole labor story-thing over which to bond with other new moms.
We all occasionally have to wipe poop off of the walls.

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