Don’t you hate it when your mother-in-law is right and gorgeous cheerleaders are smart?
If I had a dime for each time someone (mostly my mother-in-law) told me that my life would change once I had kids, I’d have, like, 200 dimes (I’m not great at math). I don’t know why people (mostly mothers-in-law) want to scare you about parenting, but they do. Anyway, people (again, mostly just my mother-in-law) would tell me how much I would change, how my life would never be the same, blah, blah, blah. Me, being the independent, fiscally irresponsible, sort-of-career-minded-on-Tuesdays woman that I am, always resisted it. I won’t change, I said. I’ll still shop. I won’t save money. I’ll stay up late. I’ll sleep in. I’ll still go grocery shopping only once a month. Yeah, right.
The last time I slept in was November 14, 2001 — coincidentally, that was the day before my daughter was born. I save money now in an account for my daughter, and I check the balance every five minutes wondering exactly what 30 cents will buy when she goes to college. Now, here’s the really reckless part of motherhood – I do stay up late. Sometimes really late! Sometimes until 10 o’clock! That’s right, living on the edge. Haven’t seen midnight since the time I was at the stay-open-late pediatrics place, where they make you wait long enough for the original ailment to go away. I wake at 7a.m. Every day, 7a.m. Weekends, 7a.m. Grocery shop once a month? I’m lucky if can get away with hitting the store
once a day.
As for the rest of my time -— that’s changed too. This week, I go to ballet on Monday. On Tuesday, it’s Back to School night. On Wednesday, it’s gymnastics. Thursday is dinner at the rabbi’s house (if you think I would have done this before motherhood, think again — I’m a devoted follower of the retail religion). On Thursday, it’s Chinese. Friday I think I get to breathe, but I need to double check that. On Saturday, we have Redskins cheerleading practice. Yes, the Redskins. They have a junior cheerleading program taught by the actual Redskins Cheerleaders. And get this — on the first day of registration I thought my husband should go with us. To make me feel better, he said “Half of them really aren’t even that pretty.” I felt a little better, until he added, “Now, the other half — that’s a different story!” Even better than all of that is the drop-dead gorgeous pom-pom bunny teaching my daughter has a master’s from Johns Hopkins and a Ph.D. from Duke in biomedical engineering.
Anyway, you get the picture. I’m like a soccer mom to the tenth degree — and I only have one kid, so I have it easy. I see other parents with more than one. They run, sprint and then jump over cars just to get out of the school parking lot so they can get one cub to soccer, the other to gymnastics, and still wrangle the twin-filled double-wide stroller. Have their lives changed since parenthood? I’m guessing, just a tad.
There’s also the laughing. I used to laugh a lot before I was a mother, but now I laugh so much more. I laugh all the time. It could be that I’m over-tired or maybe motherhood is just funny. Driving to school one day, my daughter asked, “Mommy, when you make babies, do they give you the parts?” Over a sushi dinner, she announced, “I’m down to picking my nose only once a day.” Fortunately, we had finished the seaweed salad course.
My life since motherhood is a completely different life entirely, with a different person living it. I was invited to a mom’s night out this week and I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve really made it into the Official Brotherhood of Moms. It’ll be just like the old days — at an actual bar and everything. One problem, though: it’s at 8:00 p.m. on a Friday night and that’s almost bedtime.
Donna L. Cole is a freelance writer living in the Annapolis area. Her column, Mom in the City, will be published in Chesapeake Family magazine every other month.