We all know our lives will change when we become parents. However, I truly believe that you cannot comprehend the extent to which it will change until you actually bring that little bundle of squirming joy home. Here is my personal list of changes. These may or may not apply for everyone, but from my friends with kids they each have experienced these to one extent or another.
TV shows and movies
I vowed that my child would never watch Barney, and yet she loves him. One fateful day my dear husband recorded Barney and the rest as they say is history. Now that overstuffed purple dinosaur ranks right up there with Elmo and Curious George for her.
Granted I can watch my television programs once she goes to bed, but long gone are the days of a four hour Stargate marathon, or catching up on the last three episodes of Smallville in one sitting. The vast majority of the TV that is watched in our house has some sort of cartoon or puppet character. The same goes for movies. Thank goodness I was already a fan of Disney movies or I might have become mad as a hatter by now.
I have begun to use words that I’m sure aren’t in the dictionary and begun using other words that I stopped saying 30+ years ago. And still other words have been removed completely or replaced. No longer do we use the toilet, it is now a potty. And there is no going to bed at night or for a nap without a pac (pronounced pass, short for pacifier). And of course since I want to be a “good” parent all four letter curse words (not that I used that many to begin with) have been replaced with gobbledygook words such as flibbertigibbet, fudge-bucket, or balderdash. And then of course there are the traditional owwie, boo-boo, and bonk. And I’m pretty sure that I have used the word “princess” more times in the last two years than I did in all my life prior to my daughter being born.
Of note: my spellchecker actually recognized flibbertigibbet and balderdash, so apparently they aren’t made up words after all.
We have all heard the stories about new mothers and lack of sleep, and the golden day your child first sleeps through the night. Well, I’m here to tell you the changes in sleep routine continue long past that first night. My daughter is somehow incapable of sleeping past 7am. It doesn’t matter if it is Thursday or Sunday. Nor does it matter if I was called out of bed three times during the middle of the night to get her a drink of water, or find her special bunny doll.
When it is time to go to bed I am now required to lay down with my Sugar Muffin for “one minute” while she drifts off. Of course this one minute is actually expected to be more like 10-15. And there have been nights when it turned into 25-30 because I too fell asleep… at 8:30.
I remember the days when my husband and I could decide we wanted to see a movie and actually go see that movie the same day. No more. Now we need to plan at least a week in advance so that we might find a sitter for my Sweetheart. Quick trips to get ice cream together are now a well thought out excursion complete with bib and wipes. Going out to eat requires more thought than just deciding what we are in the mood for, it requires packing of the diaper bag, figuring out what my daughter will eat and bringing games and/or toys to entertain her after she has decided she doesn’t want to eat anymore.
Alone time in the bathroom is a thing of the past
My beautiful daughter loves me very much. A fact I am ever grateful and in awe of every moment of the day. This adoration means she wants to be with me every moment possible. She follows me everywhere, even to the bathroom. At first I thought it would be a good teaching tool, so that one day she too would learn to “go” on the potty. But she has shown little interest in what I am actually doing. She just wants to talk to me, sing to me, or show me how she can stand on one foot. All of which are absolutely adorable… the first 25 times.
It’s all worth it…
… most of the time. There are moments when I wish I could shirk all my responsibilities of being a mother and have five more minutes to sleep in. But then my little one leans over and says, “Mommy I know what will make you smile” and then she kisses me on the cheek and says, “I love you.” At that moment my heart swells with happiness and all previous notions of escapism have vanished.