10 Things That Changed When They Showed Up

1. Choice in beverages.
Although my evening wine has changed from a luxury to a necessity, which keeps the amount of booze consumed high, there has been one significant change post-kids: Now, instead of seeing how quickly I can chug shots, I’ve moved to another drug. It’s how quickly I can chug coffee… which is inevitably cold, even if I’ve microwaved it 3 times (and I am not an iced coffee girl).

2. My opinion of:

  • Mom Jeans: I resist, but I gotta be honest – Although I hate the style and everything about them, when I’m playing on the floor at home, in music class, or bent over at school to undo all of the kids’ winter gear, I do not enjoy (nor does anyone else) getting an eyeful of Mom Crack.
  • Minivans: Again, I resist. But, I have some serious automatic door envy – both the convenience factor and the fact that you can actually fit into parking places without your door smacking the car next to you. And don’t even get me started on the TV. I am generally opposed since I use television too much already at home, but the concept of being able to make a real phone call while my kids coma out instead of yelling “Mommy ALL DONE PHONE” has serious appeal.
  • Television for kids, in general: Thank you, Dora, for teaching my daughter how to count in Spanish while I cram leftover food from my daughter’s plate into my mouth. TV may be the only reason I have an ounce of sanity left.

3. I can’t lose weight. Well, that part’s actually the same. But now, it’s often because I eat too few calories in a day while frantically running laps of the house. It’s a cruel irony.

4. My view of cleanliness: I like clean. A lot. I love the smell of Lysol. A lot.

  • Home: Hosting play dates in a ranch house means the full house is generally visible. I try to keep things “picked up,” which is a nice way of saying filthy but hidden. I do, however, still freak out when my son can grab fistfuls of dog hair off of the floor and put them in his mouth. And when my daughter can dig full snacks out of her booster seat. Those are the moments when I realize just how far my station in life has fallen.
  • Humans: No clean Gerber babies for me. There is a certain degree of nose and food gook I will allow on their faces, even when going to school or church. As for me, I know some moms can go without, but I will get up at 2am if I have to for my shower. And by 8am, I will already look like my hair’s been in an eggbeater. 5pm – Full-on Nick Nolte mug shot.
  • Clothes: 2+ years into this, I no longer do costume changes for the kids during the day unless someone has had a diaper blowout or soaked themselves (at least one full sleeve). Dirt, food, milk, formula, juice, boogers… Deal with it. My clothes: if a sweater or pair of jeans has 3 crusty patches or less, it’s fair game. And there is always someone’s snot on the cuff of my shirts. What’s that fabulous scent you’re wearing? Spit-up by Reflux.

5. 21-year-old guys in bars are no longer hot. My view of sexy is completely different. Those young guys, ripped or not, are no longer where it’s at. You show me a man having a great time with his kids, and that is hot as hell (the right pair of jeans still helps).

6. Germ phobias increased exponentially. I have always been a hypochondriac. But now, I’ve thrown in a stockpile of anti-bac and a hands-on knowledge of most of the disgusting childhood rashes. It’s not that I am afraid of my kids getting sick – It’s the vision of being under house arrest that is insurmountable.

7. Achieved complete ease with disgusting bodily functions. Prior to the arrival of my spawn, I would gag at the thought of vomit. I now understand that all of the horrendous things that happen to you during pregnancy are just preparation for the non-stop horror show of disgusting things that can come out of a tiny person’s body. I now watch my daughter projectile hurl onto her plate almost nightly (I kid you not – This girl will go to all lengths to avoid veggies). I watch, smell, and clean up unfazed. I touch more poop on a daily basis that I ever dreamed possible. I haven’t made peace with it; I’ve just resigned myself to it.

8. My efficiency and speed is superhuman. A physical therapist told me that many women marathoners greatly improve their race times in the year after being pregnant. She said she thought it was because they were “hormonal powerhouses.” I disagree. I think it’s because of two things: (1) necessity: time is short so get out there and get ‘er done; and (2) any time I can mentally run away from my home, I do so as quickly as possible!

9. Increased volume sensitivity. On one hand, I can tune out most noises just for survival. My kids are loud and busy and they never stop. But there must be something that kicks in the moment those hCG levels go up. The teenage boys in the neighborhood are all punks and music is always too loud. And TV can instantly send me through the roof… Why does every person talking about finances and sports on television constantly yell? Same with Dora and Diego? No one in my home needs any lessons in this area.

10. A greater ability to enjoy the little things. Lest it appear that I detest parenthood, I do have to concede that having children has helped me enjoy the little things. Who better to stop you in your tracks with those gorgeous smiles? (At least until you realize what they’ve broken.)

Originally posted at It Builds Character

Tracy May is editor and contributor at It Builds Character...and other parenting cliches, a group blog about parenting survival. She can also be found on the ChicagoNow network at Plight of the Suburbanite. Contact her at chimomwriter@itbuildscharacter.com. 

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