I guaran-effing-tee that any mom who reads this blog need read no further than my title to know what this is going to be about.
Every so often, I have a child-free friend ask me what things change the most when you have kids. And they don't want to know the obvious things (you get less sleep, you can't just pick up and go anywhere without some planning, you stop buying clothes for your bizarre new body and instead buy them for the little critter who looks cute in everything).
What they really want to know about are the changes that you can't expect and no one tells you about. There are the post-partum changes (you can somehow pass a human head from THERE and yet peeing hurts...night sweats will plague you for weeks post-delivery...oh, and did we mention stitches? You haven't LIVED until you're actually relieved when a medical professional pulls a chair up to your crotch and exclaims, "You'll only need about 14 stitches!"). There are the emotional changes (crying when you drive past the hospital you delivered at...crying every time you try to fill out a page in the baby book...crying crying and more crying). There are the mental changes (putting someone else above you all the time...thinking it's a great night when you got 5 straight hours of sleep...deciding there's nothing wrong with a pacifier after all, considering your daughter seems to think it's her BFF).
There are also changes for the whole family and in your relationships. Everyone - you, your husband or partner, your parents, his parents - has to adjust to this little life that controls everything. Darrick and I were just discussing this the other day, and we were like "We have no life. Our life consists of planning around Luca's life." The beautiful thing about it is: suddenly, you just don't care. I remember pre-baby when people would be all, "You'll never have MONEY to go OUT and you can't DRINK and you can't go to the MOVIES...", and at the time I thought maybe that would suck. Now, however...well...I have yet to see a movie that makes me laugh, cry, and feel the insane pride and joy as watching my kid. Yep, I am officially one of "Those" lame women.
Anyhow, aside from all that, the one thing I would say was the biggest adjusment was what I refer to as 'Life in 3 minute increments'. It's also commonly known as 'Baby, you're cute, but PLEASE for the love of all that is sacred, let me set you down for MORE than 3 minutes so I can get something - anything - done!'.
Yes, child-free friends. Live it up and enjoy your excessive margaritas, sleeping in, movie-going on a whim, carefree 'adult time' with no sleeping baby in a car seat in the room (not that I would know...a friend told me about that one), and spending cash now. But, more than that, enjoy:
- Getting to use both hands to eat. While sitting. And talking to friends/family. And not balancing a baby on your boob/lap/shoulder/in a high chair while using the other hand to shove mashed apple in his/her mouth.
- Being able to bend over to pick up something you dropped, rather than relying on the freakishly finger-like dexterity of your toes to do the deed.
- Showering without concern over whether the resident 15-pounder is napping/with Daddy/occupied in a manner not involving kitchen knives, nail files, or power cords.
- Blowdrying your hair. Seriously. It's not as though I can claim to have been some stylish woman with my hair always done before, but I think I've blown my hair straight...hrmmm...4 times since Luca was born? So, about once every other month. You go ahead and do the math on what proportion of the time I spend looking like complete ass these days.
- Making any meal without fear of dropping your baby and/or her pacifier into the frying pan as you balance her on one side and a spatula on the other.
- Applying your makeup, start to finish, without having to play interference between your baby and the coffee table, dust bunnies, and the power cords (again, with the power cords...they attract babies like shiny objects attract birds).
You see, once you have a baby, you will find that your life will be divisible into 3 minute increments.
Quick! Get your hair washed, rinsed, and conditioned! You have THREE minutes before baby wakes and is mad as hell at you for DARING to shower on her watch!
Quick! Go ahead and TRY to finish making that cheese sandwich in THREE minutes, before baby army-crawls across the 16' expanse of smooth and safe tile, and straight toward the dogs' wet and very unsafe water dish.
Quick! Make a phone call and get it done now. Because I can guarantee that your kid --- much like most husbands --- will give you just about THREE minutes to say whatever you have to say before demanding your full attention once more.
Quick! Throw the wet laundry into the dryer, start a new load in the washer, run the dry stuff up the stairs and attempt to lie it flat so it doens't wrinkle, all while pretending in earnest that you will ever actually find time to HANG those clothes before they end up just getting taken piece by piece from the pile and worn. And get that all done in THREE minutes, before the baby starts eating dryer sheets or tries to pull off the dog's ear and eat it.
Speaking of, I've now been ignoring my child for close to THIRTY minutes, which means she's probably drooled all over Piggy's ears, chewed some power cords, spilled the doggy water dish, eaten 2-3 dust bunnies, and is crying in a corner. Ah, the life of a mom!*
*Please do not call CPS. We all know this is a joke. My kid can't possibly get in that much trouble while safely incased in her babycage.