I’ve been a parent for just over two years now and in that short but profound time, I’ve learned a thing or two. Of course, I’ve learned to function like a human (or pseudo-human on the worst days) running on less sleep than I got during finals week in my college days. I’ve learned that coffee is the life source, cure all and holy grail of parenthood. I’ve learned that just because a child ate something yesterday and loved it does not ensure that they won’t fall to the floor in a puddle of tears the next time that very same dish is served. But, more than all of these valuable lessons, I’ve learned something that I wasn’t quite ready to admit: becoming a mother has made me completely oblivious to the socially unacceptable things I do almost hourly. And I don’t think I’m the only one. The list that follows is my honest observations of my new “parent” self. I’ve realized that though I haven’t completely let myself go, doing so isn’t an unheard-of idea.
- The baby voice: I know- my pre-mom self would be cowering in shame. I remember seeing parents with their adorable babies and cringing at the way they talked to them- have they forgotten their dignity?! But here I am, two years later saying things like “No, Evie, big girls have to eat all of their noodles” and “do you need to put your poop in the Elmo potty?” I won’t even get in to the things I say to my five month old.
- Not thinking twice about picking noses or bodily fluids: Just the other day my daughter came to me and said she had “yuckies” in her nose. Without weighing my options, or thinking at all, as a matter of fact, I used my finger to dislodge said “yuckies.”
- Using bribery to get my way: I don’t know whether to be ashamed of this or proud of my cleverness. I find myself telling my two year old that “we will go see the llamas if she hurries and puts her coat on” (my daughter has an odd obsession with llamas) or she can have a cookie if she sits still for ten seconds. Bribery is money in toddler-dom.
- Giving no thought to my appearance for extended amounts of time: This might be the most shocking of all, since pre-mom me wouldn’t have gone out in public without at least a coat of mascara on. These days I just assume that any passersby will see my entourage and understand that it hasn’t always been this way.
- Locking myself in the bathroom to ensure that my sanity is still intact: This needs no explanation. Only a bar of chocolate and a (appropriately sized) glass of wine.
Are you shocked by this list of social atrocities? I didn’t think so. Because though parenthood certainly changes you, it’s almost always for the better. The tired, makeup-less eyes? Think of them as evidence of the hours I was awake nursing my baby. The bathroom wine visits? They’re the only “me time” I get. The bribery and baby voice? Those I have no excuse for- but I have no doubt that every other parent does the same thing as I do.
If this list of traits seems familiar, resist the urge to reminisce about your pre-child days, the days of sleeping in and makeup and full sentences. Instead, embrace parenthood as it is- messy, socially awkward, hard and beautiful.