From Party Girl to Motherhood: Let’s Get Chocolate Wasted
By T. Erika Parker-Smith
Prior to becoming a mother, after 4 years in and 2 children, I still cannot believe that I AM someone’s Mommy; I digress. I am a reformed party girl! Now my evenings include dancing to tunes spun by DJ Lance Rock, a little cha-cha-cha compliments of Dora, and kissing boo boo’s with Doc McStuffins.
Late nights entail getting chocolate wasted on hot coco heavy on the whipped cream, cuddling, and story time instead of walking barefoot on city streets after a long evening of dancing, in search of something to eat from whatever late nightspot happens to be open; or continuing the party at the after party. Spontaneity comes in the form of hugs, love, or the occasional bodily fluid explosions instead of South Florida weekends hashed out on Thursday.
Motherhood means I love bedtime, because I can eat dessert without having to share, and watch a movie from beginning to end, unless I fall asleep. I enjoy those quiet moments when everyone, hubs included, is asleep and I am alone with my thoughts; free to do what I will.
Please don’t get wrong, I love being a Mom! It is an adventure like none other. Seeing yourself reflected in those little eyes, greeted with smiles of genuine elation when you enter a room is priceless, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the world.
Yet, it is a transition from independence, sharing not only your living space, but your body, too. My breasts were never the same after breastfeeding. Whoever said, “You can’t cry over spilled milk” was not a breastfeeding, breast-pumping mother! All of a sudden, they went from “fun bags” to providers of “life nourishing manna”, and the thought of them being sexualized seemed perverse. That took a minute to reconcile, especially when they start producing for someone who isn’t an infant. In those moments, I learned to laugh at myself and put down the type A, control freak, semi-order addicted persona co-opted in womanhood. After all your tits just squirted a grown man’s face with milk, how can you not?
How refreshing it was the first time you learn, they, the partner in your adventure, likes to be squirted the face with milk, and doesn’t mind that your clothing often times smell of milk and baby. How he thinks you are the most beautiful woman alive with your milk stained clothes, disheveled hair, and extra fluffy midsection. Feeling like your former glamorous pre-Mommy self just ain’t happening, and you don’t know where she went or when or if she will reappear, because who the hell has time for stilettos when chasing a toddler, and they simply get dirty at the park after repeatedly sinking in the grass and sand?
Who has time for a full face of war paint, hairstyling, and wardrobe consultations? Gone are the days of changing outfits five times and spending an hour or two on hair. Now, it’s great if everything fits and coordinates, not matches, just goes, as my husband often says. Flats are my friends, as are yoga pants (mostly only worn at home). Give me a great pair of cute flats with a pop of color, and I am sold. I attempt to wear heels, on occasion, and curse myself as my toes burn and my heels cringe. Who the hell invented these things, some sadomasochist with a sense of humor? Screw you, sir or ma’am!
Never having really been into makeup, I find that I secretly love lipstick now. My mom was right; it does brighten up your face, especially since 4 hours of sleep is the new norm. Except when your head fills with all sorts of scenarios after reading the news online, and you lie awake pondering the dangers of escalators after reading about someone being strangled, maimed, amputated, or somehow tangled in such a seemingly benign contraption. Holy cow, we can’t even ride the escalator now? Not that elevators are much better. Yeah, we’ll just stay in our haven of child proofed wonder, homeschool, and not allow them to venture out into this fun house filled world of traps and hidden dangers until they can vote, drive, and get married.
I jest. Our home is child proof via adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Save them and saves us from us! We clap and cheer when they fall while encouraging them to get up on their own; unless we hear an usual sounding thud or blood followed by the silent cry, then comforting is in order. In the vein of our various former coaches, yes, we tell them to walk it off!
People are often surprised at how they fall, laugh, get up, and keep running, jumping, diving, or whatever acrobatics they were doing when they tumbled. Which are the grand life lessons, I’ve learned being a mom: We all stumble, fumble, and fall; but we get up, laugh it off, try again, and eventually we master it, one step at a time. Forgive easily and delight in simplicity.
So, do I miss that old pre-mommy life, some aspects, yes like going to midnight movie premiers or IHOP at 3am just ‘cause. Would I trade my life now for the ability to do that, nope! Motherhood has honed my woman warrior spirit. After two natural out of hospital births, in my mind, there is nothing I can’t do in this journey called life. Let me just say, that was a feat, because I do not do discomfort, oh hell we’ll just call it what it is, pain well. Discomfort was my term while preparing for natural birth. Don’t let the tattoos fool you either; I hate needles, the site of blood or any other displaced bodily fluids. That has not changed. However, mess with my kids and I will become a lioness and rip your jugular from throat without batting an eye.
Which leads me to play dates and meeting other Moms, nothing induces my introverted sensibilities like “family” social functions. I realized during my oldest daughter’s infancy, that I don’t the mean-girls-turned-mommies thing well nor do I care that your little Johnny does calculus and speaks three languages and he’s only 16 months. Truly all I want to do is poke you in your heavily made up eyes with a sippy cup straw, because no I haven’t given any thought to which Kindergarten my daughter will attend, and no I did not get on the waiting list yet for whatever pre-k program du jour little Johnny is signed up for! You know why, she isn’t even 2, yet. She can still be a kid and just do what kids do. No, she isn’t in 57 activities. Sorry I don’t understand your self-induced hectic schedule and stress levels. Yes, I understand that waiting until she is 5 to put her in dance classes or whatever activity means she is are already 2 years behind.
Oh rats, she doesn’t spell her name right now, and she is almost 4 years old. Yes, we just started to formally do educational lessons via ABCmouse.com. Oh, she’s behind already with that, too, because little Krista knew her ABC’s, how to write her full name, address, and phone number by the time she was 28 months. Kudos to little Johnny and Krista; that is lovely and quite the accomplishment; to bad no one asks those questions on college applications, resumes, or when starting a business. Your dedication and commitment is inspiring, is my actual reply, as my daughter proudly makes dirt cookies a few feet away.
Our children are loving, strong willed, witty, imaginative, little girls. They have parents who love them, some say spoil them, but in our house we believe only fruits and veggies spoil, not people. We tell them they are beautiful, smart, capable, important, kind young ladies. We build them up so they are ready when the world comes with the ability to shake off, ignore, and rise above the judgmental superficial minutia that really isn’t important anyway.
Motherhood reinforced the truly-not-caring-what-other-people-think nature I was taught and grew up with, because I am who I am. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just me, and that’s beautiful and perfectly imperfect. And when I am having one of those anxiety filled moments wondering am I being the best mom and woman I can be. Questioning whether I am really doing enough, my oldest daughter sprints into the room, throws her arms around my neck, and says, “You’re the best Mommy. I love you.” That is all the validation I need. In my mind, they deserve the best Mom they can get, which entails me continuing to strive at being the best person I can be.