Is anyone else still trying to catch their breath after these past few weeks? Whose idea was it to put all these holidays so close together? It must be those damn pagans again.
I feel like I’ve been exhausted for years – in between hosting get togethers at our home, seeing out-of-town friends, last minute Christmas shopping, last minute Christmas shopping returns, working, and the several attacks of the itis that I’ve had from all this amazing food I’ve stuffed down my stomach.
And, on top of that, our son turned two years old this past Sunday.
I spent much more time on preparations for the day than I thought I would. We had nothing large planned, just breakfast cupcakes and a trip to the trampoline park, because what better way to start off the new year with an activity very likely to produce injury and lead to thousands of dollars of out of pocket medical costs? Yay high deductible health insurance plans!
But since our actual activities didn’t take that much preparation, I instead spent the days and hours leading up to James’ birthday going through old photos and videos of him and sobbing in my bedroom, the pantry, backyard, and an assortment of other places that would lead to even further ridicule if I were to name them.
The idea of my baby aging like the majority of population worldwide tends to do had me emotionally fucked up. And, the worst part is, I pulled this same crap last year. Back then, I thought that maybe I still had some post-birth hormones surging through my body. That’s what I told myself to stop from feeling like such a little bitch.
But I can’t rationalize the emotions away this year. It’s just who I am now. Believe me, I wasn’t always like this. While I’ve always considered myself somewhat of an emotional person, I’ve never been particularly emotional with basic bitch things, like watching loved ones age. But every time I look at my son, I flash back to times like the day he was born, or the days where he would sleep on my chest for hours, or that very brief time period when he didn’t know how to talk/babble back. I’ve become irritatingly nostalgic. It’s one of the ways that I’ve turned into a worse person since I became a mother.
Some other ways that I’ve worsened as a human being:
More empathetic to the plight of children
While empathy has its utility in certain times and places, having an excessive amount of it around children has caused unnecessary strain in my life.
It used to be that the only time I contributed to help a child with anything is when I received cookies out of the deal (and none of that Thin Mint crap, just the good stuff). But I had no issue with walking past a hooligan selling their paraphernalia outside of a Tom Thumb, with absolutely no acknowledgement at all. There was no hesitation in my step as I ignored their calls and left their “Excuse me, would you like to buy a…” outside of the grocery store automatic doors where they belonged.
Look at that shit. This was $10. Each. I bought two. I don’t know where the other one is. I didn’t need it, I knew I would never use it, yet I still bought it.
I’d hoped that it was just one-time demon child magic, but it’s not. One day, it’s a camp card; the next day, it’s lemonade. STOP TAKING MY MONEY, DEMON CHILDREN. Ugh. They’re all so cute and innocent. Always trying to do sickening things like help out a charity or save up for a camp. So gross. Yet I’m a sucker for it each time. How did I become this way?
Oh, that’s right. I’ve got a cute, little monster of my own. I guess I realize that some time in the not-so-far future, I will be that poor schmuck escorting my kid around to pry people’s hard earned money away from them in exchange for whatever crap useful and necessary item my son is selling.
Maybe this is subconsciously a pay-it-forward to the future me?
More likely to resort to bribery to get what I want
If you’re a parent and you haven’t bribed your kid to behave or bend to your will, then you’re either not a parent or you’re a liar. We all do it. I’ve been bribing my son since before he could understand a lick of what he was receiving in the deal.
Bribes are great. And because I find them so useful, I start thinking to myself, “Why doesn’t everyone start bribing to get what they want?” I mean, is bribing someone really that different from walking into a store and making a purchase?
I want Item A at Shop A. Shop A wants my money and then they will give me Item A in exchange for my cash. I give Shop A my money, they give me Item A. Everyone is happy. Boom. Capitalism.
Okay, so now I want Behavior A from Person A. Person A wants my money (or chocolate or juice box, take your pick) and will give me Behavior A in an exchange. I give Person A the money/chocolate/juice box and they give me their calm, peaceful existence down the Target shopping aisles. Everyone is happy. Boom. Capitalism.
Unfortunately, most of the developed world does not agree with me on the benefits of bribery. I’d like to think of myself as just a progressive thinker. But it’s also entirely possible that being a mom has made the idea of “morals” more open to interpretation from me.
Increased willingness to lie to get what I want
Once again, if you’re a parent and you haven’t lied to your kid for purely your own benefit, then either you’re a liar or your kid hasn’t reached the age where lying to them has become a viable option.
Yes, I do occasionally lie to our son. But they’re just white lies! Like when it’s bedtime. James hates going to bed but he loves baths. They both occur around the same time and “bedtime” and “bath time” sound awfully similar to his immature ears. So if I say either, he starts screaming “No!” and runs off to hide somewhere in the house. The only way to avoid this is if I say it’s time for a “bubble bath” at which point James immediately drops whatever he’s doing and practically runs towards the bathroom yelling, “Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles!”
A couple of weeks ago, I needed to give him a bath but we were out of bubble bath. That didn’t stop me from telling him that it was time for his bubble bath. I remember my husband kind of looking at me in confusion as we were both perfectly aware that, sadly, there would be no bubbles tonight. I was not going go let him make me feel bad about that itty bitty tiny white lie. It’s not my fault that James’ can’t tell the difference between bed and bath. If I get him to the bath, he’s happy, I’m happy and, more importantly, not out of breath from chasing him all over this damn house.
But parents lie to their kids all the time.
The Easter Bunny? The Tooth Fairy? All LIES.
And don’t even get me started on this fool right here.
Disclaimer: I never grew up believing in Santa. It’s another entry in the lifelong saga of things I never learned as a child. And I didn’t really have much thought about introducing Santa to James until this last Christmas. I was wrapping presents for him when Josh peeked over my shoulder to see who I wrote that the present was from.
Josh: “From Mom and Dad? What about Santa?”
Me: “What about him? He didn’t go broke buying all this shit, I did!”
It became clear in the conversation that followed that Josh was intent on having James learn about Santa from us. Which is a lie, even though it’s a socially sanctioned lie. I decided at that time that while I support lying to your children in certain situations, maybe what this world needs is just a little more honesty when it comes to the big things.
So the only thing I agreed to change was the names on Jamie’s present from “Mom and Dad” to just “Mom”.
Higher tendency towards paranoia
My husband and I were relaxing on the couch the other day when he suddenly turns to me and says, “Why don’t we watch Bird Box?”
I stared at him a bit, perplexed. Did he forget who he was talking to? I don’t do scary and I don’t do movies that are determined to stress me out. This characteristic of mine has only increased since I became a mom. Following Jamie, I’ve generally become adverse to post-apocalyptic movies and television shows. Out came my son, but he left behind the anxiety-inducing paranoia that makes me constantly think of situations where I may not be able to protect him.
I’m assuming that I can’t be the only one that can’t get through an episode of The Walking Dead without thinking of how very dead my family would be if we were dependent on keeping my son quiet so the zombies couldn’t hear us. The boy can’t whisper without using his diaphragm to project. We wouldn’t stand a chance.
And I have thoughts like these everyday, regardless of what I am watching. It’s this innate, biological need to protect my son at all costs that lead to me behaving like a batshit crazy person at times. For example, within a few weeks following the birth of our son, I:
- Ordered a first aid kit for the house
- Bought a weather radio
- Stocked up on canned goods
- Purchased several cases of bottled water in the event that we lost access to clean water for an extended period of time
- Discarded several cases of bottled water that ended up sitting in my car for a year because I was afraid that if we drank it, we would all get cancer
- Found instructions on how to build a bomb shelter
- Began reading the Zombie Survival Guide my husband had purchased as a birthday gift for me after we started dating (which I had not touched since receipt of the book)
I’ve had to minimize the amount of news I watch since the phrase “climate change” became a trigger for me.
Anyone else feel like they’ve deteriorated in quality since becoming a mom? Let me know in the comments!