Saturday, June 21, 2008

Things That Have Changed Since I Became a Mom

1. My definition of a good nights’ sleep.
Before Baby (BB): 8 – 9 hours of deep, dreamless sleep.

Now: only getting up once to nurse the boy and getting to sleep for 4 hours in one stretch.

2. My wardrobe.
BB: I used to get dressed with thoughts like: “What would be fun to wear today? What would reflect my style and personality, fit the weather, and would be suitable for what I’m doing today? Would Brendan like this outfit?”

Now: “Is it machine washable for when Owen spits up on me? Can I nurse him discreetly in public wearing this? Does it fit my new post-baby shape?” and after a particularly rough night, the only question I ask is “Is it fairly clean?”

3. My reaction to news or stories of bad things happening to babies or children.
BB: I felt sad.

Now: I grieve for these children and their parents. I feel an overwhelming urge to go pick up my baby and hold him tight and never let him go. The emotional reaction to these stories just overwhelms me, almost to the point of tears. Sometimes I have to turn off the TV or stop reading.

4. What counts as “a productive day”.
BB: Doing all the dishes and all the laundry, going to the bank and the library, sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom, straightening up the house, sorting the mail, checking email and responding to messages, finishing one of the projects on the “to do” list.

Now: Getting dressed, eating all 3 meals, doing half the dishes, and taking care of Owen.

5. Date Nights.
BB: We got dressed up a little, went out to eat, and then saw a movie, play, or concert. Date nights happened every Friday night.

Now: When we find a babysitter, we go out. Sometimes we go for dinner or a movie or a concert. Date nights happen once a month. We try to still do something “date like” on Friday nights…but it’s usually watching a movie from Netflix after Owen is asleep, sometimes with frequent breaks when Owen isn’t sleeping well.

6. What I’m reading.
BB: One or two historical mysteries each week, plus a non-fiction book, a couple magazines, and the daily newspaper.

Now: Board books. Lots of board books. At least one Sandra Boynton book a day, plus others like “Busy Kitties”, “Chaat and Sweets”, “Happy Baby 123”, and “Mommy Hugs”. As for grown-up reading material? It’s a good week when I read the newspaper every day.

7. How I get ready to go out.
BB: The focus was all on me: Making sure I had all the right accessories for my outfit, packing up a couple snacks for myself and a book to read, double checking my hair…

Now: It’s all about Owen. It’s a miracle if I remember to look at myself in the mirror on the way out the door, much less bother with accessories! And a book for me to read? Well, see #6 above…

8. What I do in my free time.
BB: Scrapbook, hang out in coffee shops, read, go for long walks with Brendan, play around with an art project, sit and think and daydream.

Now: Sleep.

9. What I worry about.
BB: Is Brendan safe? Does this outfit look okay? Am I being a good wife? Am I living my life the best that I can?

Now: Is Brendan safe? Is Owen safe? Does this outfit look okay? Am I still attractive after having a baby and my body getting all weird? Am I being a good wife? Am I a good mother? Am I living my life the best that I can? Am I setting a good example for Owen? What if I lose Brendan or Owen or both of them?

10. What brings me joy.
BB: Brendan, sunny days, our cats, flowers, fresh fruit and veggies, chocolate, sitting in a coffee shop with a good cappuccino, walking in the woods, sitting and watching the ocean, Disney World, a good book, snuggling up with a cozy blanket on a rainy day….

Now: Owen’s laughter, Brendan, Owen’s smiles, sunny days, seeing Owen and Brendan snuggling together, our cats, watching Owen learn to pet the cats, flowers, introducing Owen to the smells and textures of the world, fresh fruit and veggies, watching Owen’s face when he tastes something new, chocolate, holding Owen when he’s sleeping, anticipating all the new discoveries Owen will make…

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