trying to go with this whole mom thing

This whole mom thing is weird. I can’t quite believe that’s what I am. Please, I’m still not over the whole pregnancy thing. Really? Human beings are born out of other human bodies? You would think by now someone would have come up with a way to make babies in a green house. Why do kangaroos get pockets but we don’t?The public aspect of pregnancy was weird. Coworkers I never said hello to would come up, let their hands rest on my belly, and ask personal questions. I hated how this profound, personal change in my life was made so explicitly obvious by the way it took over my body. On the day I went into labor, I saw Steve Buscemi. He was hiding his face, because you know, he’s famous and it must be incredibly distracting to be regularly recognized. But I was like “Dude, Steve Buscemi, I hide my face to YOU, man! I’m in freaking labor so don’t look at me!”

As for the mom thing, that’s a whole other dimension beyond my comprehension. Some friends with children say “I can’t remember a time when [insert child’s name] wasn’t here. I can’t remember life before them.” Uh, I remember my pre-Baby life all too well. For so long, I kept waiting for things to revert to “normal.”

I see when people meet me for the first time how they immediately dismiss me into the “Mom Bucket.” Literally, a light goes out from their eyes. It makes me want to grab them by the cuff of their tattered rock t-shirt and say “Look dude, I was cool! I was in a band!” (I was never in a band, but you know what I mean.) The other reaction I get is complete and utter acceptance. Now, married with a child, I fit into a recognizable demographic, and as a lifetime member of the misfits, I find this unsettling.

So this baby — he’s like an irrevocable life alteration, huh. Don’t worry. I’m not returning Baby or changing my mind. Je non regrette nien. The jokes he has inspired alone are worth having him around, as well as his giggles, Michelin Man body, stomach crunches, and dinosaur noises. If Husband and I did not have Baby, I would have carried the bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth till I died. (Sorry to sound so dramatic, but that is how I feel.)

But with any change, even one as welcome as Baby Is Magic, there is a lot to get used to. For example, it’s no longer Husband and Wife, but Husband and Wife and Baby — so our attention, affection, and devotion gets split three ways instead of two (or mostly, just one — Baby gets all). I have to make room in my thoughts, heart, apartment, relationships with other people including Husband, and time for Baby.

I think one of the hard thingsto get used to is I have lost my mind. I really miss having my mind. Because of Dad’s Mind Cancer, I have been cognizant that I am able to navigate complicated, tedious, dry contracts or map out a short story that represents my life p.o.v. and just appreciate it. No longer, dude. Now I am continually leaving things behind, losing track of receipts right in front of me. Sleep deprivation, hormonal sea changes — it all contributes to Mind Cloud. I am in the midst of a fourth revision of a novel and have no idea how I’m going to get it done when I think like that guy in Memento.

Today, I was thinking how becoming a mom is like reincarnation, or what I think reincarnation might be like. You’re in your new life, but you carry this memory residue of the past. The thing is it’s not very useful to keep holding onto the vestiges of your old life. So here it is — I am going to let it go. I am going to forget the life that was there before Baby, so I can be more fully here in Mind Cloud Land.

10 Replies to “trying to go with this whole mom thing”

  1. Dude, that last paragraph is the most depressing thing I’ve ever read. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

    And it’s funny — because I’m a guy, all my friends are waiting for me to revert to normal. “How’s the baby? Great! So, what are you doing Tuesday night? Oh, on diaper duty, right… so how about Wednesday?” And I’M the one who has to tell THEM that it doesn’t work like that anymore. But I hold out hope. I can start partying again in 18 years, if not before, and I am going to hold on to those pre-baby memories as tight as I can, if only so I can still remember what to do when I can finally go out again.

    As far as being lumped into a recognizable demographic, enjoy it — you now get to subvert it from the inside. Pretty cool, right?

  2. haha, sorry it was depressing. also, i’m told it’s all transition stuff, but now you do have this new person around. tell me that’s not weird? we still sometimes hear the baby cry and go “there’s a baby in here?” and i don’t mean it to be totally depressing, but it is, tony, we have a new life. and for me, i keep bopping around like i can do things the way i used to. and i just recently realized, nope, it’s different at least for a while.

  3. I was just thinking about this today after hearing a Brian Leher repeat. It was about how having kids doesn’t make you happier and it tanks your relationship/marriage. Cool! So here’s the thing – I think we expect the baby not to change things. We read books about the changes our bodies go through, is the baby growing a liver this week, is she/he getting enough tummy time but we don’t prepare for the life change. It’s like planning the wedding and not considering the marriage. BTW, G is really sick and I haven’t slept much so that’s where this is all coming from. She’s going to do something awesome later and I’m going to be all “I made her!”

  4. j, did you read that ny magazine? it says the same thing, how most couples are less happy once the kid is there, but then kind of concludes more ambiguously. i don’t think it’s possible to fathom how much your life changes. if you did, maybe you wouldn’t do it. i’ve seen my friends go through it and i was all, what the hell are you talking about? but now? totally different and totally different brain. it’s crazy.

    sorry the girl is sick! hope you guys both get to sleep soon. my kid actually does sleep well but i’m always exhausted anyway. What?

  5. I have found myself wondering, over the last six weeks or so, why the hell me n’ the missus decided to totally obliterate the lives we’d made for ourselves and with each other, all so we could have the vast majority of our waking moments revolve around this crying, pooping succubus. And then I remember. It was the wife’s idea. Still don’t know what she was thinking. But hey, our baby is ridiculously adorable, and it’s not like we can give her back or anything. So I’ve decided to enjoy it. Hooray for parenthood!

  6. I saw that NYT article too – it was pretty depressing despite trying not to be. Something like: “Having another child lowers your happiness even more, but not by that much …” Gee thanks for that reassurance. But, the fact is, I had read similar surveys before I got pregnant and I still desperately wanted babies. That drive to have children is buried so deep, for many of us at least, that the practical side just doesn’t matter all that much (apologies to all the husbands who get caught in the sweep). And I have a confession to make, something that maybe wouldn’t show up in a happiness survey: pre baby, when I was trying to fall asleep or calm myself down, I would imagine myself floating on a raft in the water, or lying in the grass under the sun. Now, I imagine P. He is my happy place, no matter his food flinging, my exhaustion or his refusal to let me remove his poopy diaper.

  7. oh once she’s older, you might be able to reclaim your previous life. i just dunno if you’re going to want the same things, you know? what do i know. i love that you call her succubus…and you guys are cute

  8. kmm, i just dug up your comments in the spam filter and am glad i did b/c they are hilarious. yes, i was in a band…high school band and yale band. not what i had in mind, not sure it was ever cool, but now i can cross that off my bucket list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.