There are many books in the parenting section which contain the phrase "Things They Didn´t Tell You" in the title. Things about childbirth, babies, becoming a mother, co-parenting with your partner, what happens to your body during pregnancy and the collateral damage therein. At this point, I think we´ve all been told. It´s whether we want to listen or not.
Granted, there are just some things that are too cruel to tell the first-time pregnant woman. You know what they are; I don't need to tell you. (But the words "tearing" and "discharge" come to mind.) I do believe, however, that there is one thing we don't talk about that much that does affect us on a daily basis, once junior and his/her successors arrive.
Who are you?
Oh, you used to be the career gal, or ambitious masters student, or elite athlete. Terms that defined your very being. Well guess what you are now? You're Junior's Mom, of course. But you're also:
- That psycho Mom trying to get her kid to sit down in the grocery cart before he falls out and cracks his head open on the linoleum.
- That woman over there at the fancy dinner who has a disgusting and suspicious piece of schmutz on her right shoulder. Doesn't she notice it's there?
- That annoying person sharing the details of her newborn's last bowel movement. Oh, you'll do it. We ALL do it. Sometimes with complete strangers, or even men we once considered having sex with.
- That lady you smirk at when she says in the change room next to you at Winners - "I loooove this. It's soooo comfortable! Stretchy too!"
- The wife who grabs the baby from her husband and says "Oh never mind, I'll do it!"
- The person who finds new life in their old office team-building sweatshirts and fleece vests. "I never knew these would come in so handy. They go straight from the bedroom to the grocery store to the movies." (As an aside, um, no they don't. Not really. But you have a newborn. You're sleep deprived and your fashion sense is totally obliterated and unimportant. We'll forgive you. YOU, on the other hand, with the six year old...no excuse.)
- That Mom yelling "don't run" to her hyperactive children in the parking lot. Because if you say that, they won't run, right?
- That person oohing and ahing over the newest stroller, change table, playpen, and wet wipe warmer. Oh, you know it, sister.
- The wild-eyed woman at the public Internet portal entering the Google search term "green spikey poo".
And most of all, you'll be Mrs. Insert-Father-Of-Baby's-Last-Name-Here no matter what you do. No matter how many times you tell them.
But rest assured, once you take on all of these alternate personas, you also get to unload some old ones. Like being someone with loads of time on your hands, the person who can't decide which form fitting skirt to wear that day, and the couple who lingers over coffee and conversation long after the restaurant's posted closing hours...not to mention the person who wouldn't be caught dead in a "Team Strength 2002" t-shirt.
Kathy Buckworth's latest book, "The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood" will be available at bookstores everywhere March 23rd. Visit Kathy's blog at www.funnymummyfiles.blogspot.com