We’re still working on little Bear’s crawling skills…and it is frustrating. I get frustrated thinking about all the time I didn’t put him on his belly…and he is frustrated because I keep pushing him to move in a way that he absolutely does not want to move. It was somewhere in between attempting to put his knees together and him dive bombing on his quilt when I realized that I really need to chill out. I could read 100 contrasting articles about whether or not crawling is an indicator of learning disabilities…but at the end of the day, what does it say about me that I am worried about B’s ability to learn when he is in school? Sure, we all want our kids to breeze through school without a hitch, but the chances of that happening (socially, academically, or spiritually) are slim to none.
While cradling my sweet little boy after he erupted into tears, I realized that I am so grateful that he is my son…and whatever happens in the future, I will be thankful. IF he has difficulty in school, I will be sure be his biggest advocate. I will sit with him through the frustration and help to empower him to fight through all of the problems that school can bring. I have to learn to appreciate MY SON and stop comparing myself to other mothers.
And so, the topic of this article hit me all at once. I never, in my wildest imagination, thought I would ever care so much about an eight month old not crawling. I thought I could rest in the beauty that is him sitting and playing with toys. I didn’t anticipate the pressure that would come from disapproving glances or careless remarks that make you question what you’re doing as a parent. Thus, I share the ten things I didn’t anticipate when I became a mother:
1. You will forget the last time you brushed your teeth, and showering becomes sinful.
So, the first few weeks run together. You’re up at all hours of the night and you forget that you used to have an opportunity to sleep for eight hours, completely uninterrupted, every.single.night. Then you start to forget the last time you brushed your teeth. Sometimes, that means you’ll brush those puppies six times a day…sometimes, it will be over 24 hours since you brushed them, but one cannot be responsible for personal dental health when tending to the needs of your babies.
The showering thing lasts for like eighteen years. I guess I’ll just get used to it. Showering alone is a thing of the past (unless, by some miracle, you can coordinate a shower and nap simultaneously).
2. You will forget what it is like to relax while you’re away from home.
Hey, little mama. Remember that one time when you were alone, away from the house, and you didn’t have a care in the world? That long run gave you enough endorphins to ignore the ever-present nagging voice in your head that says, “he’s waking up from his nap,” “he will need to eat soon,” “RUN FASTER!” Maybe you had enough time to get a pedicure. You certainly weren’t thinking that your little one was bawling his eyes out while you feel guilty for getting your feet massaged in a bubbling tub. You don’t remember that? I don’t either.
I’m not saying you’ll never relax again. All I’m saying is that you are never going to have a complete afternoon when you don’t think about your little rascal.
3. Nothing in your closet makes sense anymore.
I used to wear a gold boyfriend watch every single day. It was my thing. I love that watch. Now, it makes about as much sense as brushing a catfish’s teeth. I don’t need an oversized gold watch to tell time…nor do I need a faux fur vest, chiffon blouses (those stain really easily), large dangly statement necklaces, hoop earrings…etc. Although, it is nice to look and remember what it was like to adorn myself with said accessories.
4. You begin to care an inordinate amount about bowel movements.
And you now know why there is a poop emoji. You certainly don’t care about your own bowel movements (unless of course you’re fresh from the delivery room…and…well…everyone seems to care about your bowel movements). Now, it is about surveying your little one’s diapers hoping for that beautiful gift that seems to make everyone happier. Never. Not in a million years. Did I think I would care SO much about bowel movements.
5. You will become hyper-aware of other parenting strategies, and begin to take mental notes for the future.
I went to Publix a few months ago and overheard a conversation between a mother and her two children. The two were extremely well behaved; the mom was obviously skilled. There was a moment when the little boy picked up a package of sprinkled Entenmenn’s doughnuts.
“I have ALWAYS WANTED these mom.” His little doe eyes looked up at his mama with sincerity and patience. It was the cutest thing. So cute that I would have purchased the doughnuts, for goodness sakes.
The mom responded in a way I didn’t expect.
“Let me look at them.”
He held up the bag high for her to see.
“Ok, go and put them back.”
“But I really want them!”
“I know you do, sweetheart. And now I know what they look like for the future. Thank you for showing them to me.”
The little boy returned the doughnuts to the shelves, with fresh hope that someday his doughnuts would come.
Will he ever get those jimmied doughnuts? Who knows. But my hunch is that he forgot all about them when they left. It was the most beautiful parenting move I have ever seen.
6. You get mom strength.
There is no elaboration needed here. Lifting a little one a million times a day will make you think you can carry every single grocery out of the car and onto your counter. And you can. You have mom strength.
7. You can hear EVERYTHING.
Baby sighed? You wake from deep sleep. You can hear just about everything, from any distance…and sometimes you hear whimpers that may or may not have ever happened
8. You develop ridiculous and futile obsessive compulsive disorder.
Does ANYONE else care deeply about the way the dishes are loaded in the dishwasher? The toilet seat? Clothes on the ground? It drives you crazy, and yet, there isn’t really any need for any of these things to be “just so.” You develop a system in your head that becomes SO clear that anyone should be able to figure it out…and yet, no one gets it. THE IRONY OF IT ALL! Perhaps it’s time for you to re-think your strategy…it is FUTILE to be OCD when you bring home a BABY.
9. You begin to talk about your boobs more than anyone ever should.
For nursing mommies, you begin to talk about everything: the shape, the weight, the pain, the supply, the demand…the biting, the scratching, the distraction….
For bottle-feeding mommies, people want to talk about your boobs as if they have expertise on the topic…why couldn’t you? why didn’t you? don’t they work?
Who knew that boobs were a relevant/appropriate dinnertime conversation piece..?
10. Somehow, you are the only one who knows where anything is.
This is probably contributed to #8, but somehow, you become the expert on where everything is inside the home. You don’t remember things being so difficult to find before you stayed at home with the baby…but now? What have you done?
Because I’ve developed #8, I encourage my husband to look with his special eyes. He usually finds what he is looking for. Special eyes? You bet. Love that man.