I have a confession to make. I was a much better mother before I ever had children. I knew how to potty train children in a week because I read about some crazy method online. I was NEVER, EVER, under ANY circumstances going to use the DVD player to babysit my children while I did what ever it was mothers who did that kind of thing did. I would never "let myself go" or drop the kids off at school in my pajamas. I was already planning trips to the park and the wonderful friends I would make and the peaceful playdates we would share.
Man, I WISH I had become that mom. If I could say I'm not guilty of breaking half of the above mentioned "nevers".... no, just one... then I would be a "better" mom than I am today. Truth time: I'm so glad I didn't turn out to be that mom. It would mean the Stepford Wives are real!
But in the interest of confessions and getting to know you, here are a list of my becoming a parent Before and Afters.
1. Before: I always made sure my face was put on and my clothes matched before leaving the house.
After: I have learned that setting the bar really low is the way to go. That way, when you slap on a little eyeliner and mascara, people notice and tell you how nice you look. As for the clothing matching thing. I have to admit, there have been a couple times that, when I got to the store, looked down and drove right back home because I realized I was moments away from ending up on the website People of Walmart. And we all know that friends don't let friends show up on the PoW website. (Speaking of which, where was my husband with the warning, anyway?)
2. Before: I will host playdates with fresh baked treats and witty conversation.
After: Ha. Good luck getting invited to my house. The place is always a wreck and as for the treats, well they are fresh baked... from Kroger. And witty conversation... just save that until your kids are all in school and you can meet up with friends and feel pitty for the ones you've just left behind.
3. Before: I will never wear PJs to drop off.
After: Um, hello, if I'm willing to go into a store in unacceptable outfits, what makes you think I'm concerned with what I wear in my car? Another confession moment: There was one day I was in my PJs and Kidlet #1 told me I needed to talk to his teacher immediately. Of course, not thinking of myself, but only his academic success, I walked into his hallway only to find out it was nothing big and a note was coming home that day. On the bright side, I did remember to put on shoes before leaving the house... and a bra.
4. Before: I will never use the DVD Player as a babysitter.
After: HA! I kept this one. Because we have Netflix. Heck, my children realized there was a special "kids" section on the page before I did. Which was irritating when Dear Husband and wanted a stay-in date and all we could find were episodes of Caillou and Power Rangers.
5. Before: Legos are great toys that inspire creativity and help develop fine motor skills.
After: Legos are the weapon of the devil. Don't believe me? Come walk across my living room in the dark on any day... if you dare.
6. Before: Potty training will be a breeze and we'll have it done in 7 days.
After: Okay, it took a lot longer than 7 days, but I took the, "Eh, I've never seen a healthy 16-year-old kid wearing a diaper" approach, so it was low pressure. I think I should get partial points for this one.
7. Before: Our sex life won't take a plunge after kids. After all, they have to go to bed, right?
After: Sure, they go to bed... in MY bed... sleeping sideways... with their foot in my nose... while their head is snuggled in the crook of Dear Husband's arm. Um, hello... eight months of carrying Kidlet#1 around and eight and a half with Kidlet #2... surely that deserves shoving your boney elbow in Dear Husband's spleen once in a while.
8. Before: When Dear Husband and I brought Kidlet #1 home, we would stare at him adoringly and have romantic heart to hearts while I fed the precious product of our love.
After: The Lord was looking out for my 3 am, snoring like he was sawing logs Dear Husband by making sure I didn't have an ice pick under my mattress during those solo feedings.
9. Before: Postpartum happens, but with time you can get through it.
After: Baby Blues happen and you can get through THAT with time. Postpartum is a whole other beast that required 6 months of anti-depressants to get my hormones under control and 2 years until I was able to put aside the guilt of how I felt toward my amazing Kidlet #2. (And yes, the fanmance between Tom Cruise and I ended when he went after Brooke Shields... I was ready to tell him EXACTLY what he could do with his vitamins.)
10. Before: I waited until I was 30 to have a baby, so I will be rational and sane all the time.
After: My mommy mantra after two weeks with Kidlet #1 was, "Crackheads have babies all the time and they survive." (Don't turn on my ladies... it was two weeks with a premie. I completely get this one.)
11. Before: I knew what love was.
After: I knew what having your heart walking around outside your body felt like.
And those are the Mayor's observations about early childhood. It's nothing like I imagined it would be. It's so much more! Feel free to share your Before and After epiphany in the comments section and remember, Kidletville isn't a destination. It's a journey and the road is paved in wrong side up legos.