Ok, so here’s the post that I was trying to write when my fingers told me that I really wanted to write about something else…
It’s no secret that your life changes drastically when you have a child. Getting pregnant is an investment. You invest 10 months of your time, 100% of your hopes, dreams and fears, plus your body, your personal comfort, and sometimes even your health, knowing (and hoping that everyone who has kids wasn’t lying to you in some F-ed up prank) that everything you put into it will pay off once you are holding that sweet little baby in your arms. And then, of course, you spend the rest of your life investing in this child and hopefully reaping the benefits before the stock market crash that is called the teenage years hits… but I digress.
Like any long-term investment, along the way there are many gains and losses. I always knew that when I had a baby I would be gaining…well… a baby. (I didn’t graduate Cum Laude for nuthin!) I also knew that I would lose a few things. Mostly inconsequential things such as sleep, sanity, working brain cells and hopefully at least 60% of the baby weight. However, over the past year-and-a-half there have been a few losses and gains that I didn’t count on.
My Hair – I had heard a lot of horrifying tales about different physical things that happen to you when you have a baby, but no one ever told me about the hair thing. Besides my boobs, my hair was pretty much the only thing that actually looked better when I was pregnant. My ass may have looked like cottage cheese in a mesh sack, but my hair looked like a “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” Pantene model. That’s why it was even harder to take when, about six months after having my daughter, it started to fall out. In clumps. And then, to add insult to injury, all these tiny little baby hairs started growing back around my hairline. Now, when I put my hair in a ponytail, I look like a nerdy girl at my Bat mitzvah… you know the frizzy-haired girl with the food in her colored braces. That one. Sigh.
My Time – No surprise here. I knew that this baby thing would be a time-suck, I just didn’t realize that even when she is at daycare or napping, 100% of my time would be devoted to her. Between all the laundry, shopping, worrying, cooking, cleaning, obsessively calling the doctor, worrying, researching the best strollers, car seats, educational toys and preschools to waste, I mean spend, my money on, I now have no time to do all those things for myself.
Sleep – Again, no surprise that I would get less sleep after having baby. However, what I didn’t realize is that when you become a parent, you lose the right to have a good night of sleep ever again. Even though my daughter now sleeps through the night, I do not. Why? Because at the slightest sigh, cough, turn, creak or fart I bolt upright, jamming the monitor to my face to make sure she is still in one piece. I can only imagine what this will be like when she is teenager out with friends. Or a boy!!! Do they make a video teenage monitor?
My mind – dlfkjath[naf’dpijht[pajf’nadl;fjhdonladj. ;atlebtpiebgldnvbdlnd;kla!! That’s how I feel at least 68% of the time.
Vanity – I guess this is not really a surprise either, but I always (disillusionedly) thought that I would be one of the cool moms with great bedhead hair and casual yet stylish clothes. You know, like Jessica Alba. Now I realize that if I was not Jessica Alba before I had a baby, then motherhood certainly won’t turn me into her. Instead I have greasy bedhead hair and casual yet decidedly unstylish clothes. Sue me, I’m tired. Not to mention, ah;bvdo;vnoiwubgvfwnpvopwirjfkm!
My keys, wallet and the ability to match shoes – At any given time, I have only one of the three.
My Boobs – I never had big boobs but at least they were perky. Now they are smaller than ever and somehow still saggy. Well, at least I got a cool blog title out of it.
My identity – Pre-baby I used to be a lot of things: Hotshot producer (at least in my mind), smartass, fun-loving friend, spontaneous wife, wino (ok, I am still a wino), foodie, party-goer, book-reader, dream-chaser. Now, I am pretty much one thing, and one thing only: Lyla’s mommy. Seriously. When I meet other moms at the playground, they ask what my daughter’s name is, but never mine. When I talk with friends, family, and my hubby most of our conversations revolve around Lyla. Most of the time I don’t mind this. She is my favorite topic of conversation. She is my greatest accomplishment. But sometimes I miss… well, me.
Yes, I have lost a lot of things since having a baby. I could actually go on and on with this list, but I will spare you more of the Tale of Two (saggy) Titties. Instead, let’s focus on the gains. First and foremost, I gained a daughter. Nothing on the list of Losses can even compare to how much I have gained from her. However, there are a few more gains that have surprised me.
Friends – Personally I have never been a fan of mommy groups. I just don’t like the idea of forcing myself to be friends with someone just because we have kids who are the same age. We may have that in common, but you wear a scrunchie and so we shall never be friends. However, since having my daughter, two wonderful things have happened: First, I have grown even closer to the friends I already have. I may not talk to them as much, but something about the bonding that happens when you complain about your kids has drawn us closer than ever. I have even grown closer to those friends who don’t have kids. When I see how much they love my daughter it makes me love them even more. The second thing that has is happened is that, despite my mommy prejudices, I have managed to make a few new amazing mommy friends. We came together because we have kids around the same age, but we have stayed together because we generally like one another’s company. I have even “met” some amazing mommies (and daddies) through this blog that I now consider friends. Sometimes there is nothing you need more than for another mommy to tell you that you are not totally failing. I am even beginning to rethink the whole mommy group thing. Do they have mommy wine clubs?!
A new career – Pre-baby I had a great job as a producer. I made good money, I worked a lot of hours, and most of the time I really liked the work. However, I always dreamed about going back to writing. Writing is my love. It is the only thing in my life that I do because I have to do it. I am not myself if I go very long without putting pen to paper (my preferred form) or fingers to the keyboard. But I was scared. Freelancing is tough. I knew it and my boss reaffirmed it when I tried to quit the first time. (Long story short: I chickened out and worked there for another year.) But once I found out I was having a baby, the money seemed a lot less important than the time I would miss with my daughter by working those long hours. I finally had the courage to quit my job and start freelancing. I make less money but have never been happier. Except when my computer breaks and I can’t call IT to fix it. Then, I curse my freelance status and stress-eat.
A really weird belly button – I never cared much about my belly button. I never liked it, I never hated it… until I had a baby and was left with this weird one. Now, I have an irrational disgust for mine. It is stretched out and kind of saggy. And I have stretch marks inside of it. And that misguided belly button ring that I got on spring break when I was 17 has come back to haunt me, ten-fold. You were right, mom!
A new outlook – Since becoming a mom my priorities have definitely changed. My daughter is the center of my universe, as she should be. But besides my priorities, my whole outlook has changed. Little annoying things don’t matter as much, and little amazing things matter so much more. I may have less of an identity, but I have become more of a person.
The ability to say wise things like, “You just don’t know what it is to be a mom until you are one.” – I always got annoyed when people would say this before I was a mom. Now I am a mom. And now I can say that being a mom is the most amazing thing in the world. Earth-shatteringly, mind-bendingly, pants-peeingly amazing. So amazing that no amount of losses could ever tip the scale. So amazing that I just can’t tell you how amazing it is until you are a parent and you find out for yourself. Yes, I can now say this kind of thing and then smile with self-satisfaction, just like those other annoying moms. And damn, it feels good!
photo credit: Clint Chilcott via photopin cc