Things I Never Did Before I Had A Toddler-A Look At How Parenthood Changes Our Perspective
The Mommy Makeover
I remember back before I became a mommy. I was very particular about certain things, and like many parents-to-be, I vowed that there would be certain standards I would uphold no matter what.
I was under the illusion that children were very complicated to teach, but easy to maintain. It only took a short time for me to realize that the reverse was true.
You don't have to put much effort at all into teaching children. In fact, they learn things at an alarming pace. Especially things you don't want them to learn just yet.
Forget all the things I swore I would and would not do after I became a mother. Raising a toddler is all about taking the easy way out as often as possible to reserve energy, and the freedom to be absurd without being judged.
Here are some "NEVERS" that happened to me, and just might happen to you too someday!
The home is one of the first places to take the biggest hit. It doesn't take long for the usual tasks to fall into a certain order based on priority.
Before I had a Toddler, I NEVER:
- Slept in a bed filled with cheetoh crumbs. (Its not bad. They kinda work like exfoliating body scrub.)
- Realized my house was so dangerous. (Who designed all of this hazardous furniture with corners?)
- Defined de-cluttering as "Locking up anything smaller than a bowling ball." Because it might be a choking hazard.
- Put off vacuuming. (too much trouble to take the outlet covers off.)
- Used gallons of bleach. (Yep, my house stinks. That is the smell of dead germs.)
- Uttered the sentence "Hey! Don't put your toothbrush in the potty!." to another person.
- Watched an entire episode of "Thomas the Train" while dusting. (Anyone but me think those faces are creepy ?)
- Left a light on at bedtime. (It is not to scare off monsters. It is to illuminate the toy obstacle course so I don't kill myself in the night, or worse...wake up the baby!)
- Had to wonder if the clothes in the hamper were dirty.
- Sanitized a floor twice a day because it was inevitable that a dropped snack was going to be eaten.
- Used pantyhose to tie a cabinet door closed.
- Thought it was normal to keep all my pillows on the floor around the bed. Just in case someone rolls off.
- Cooked twelve meals in one day.
- Put my shoes on only to discover a missing cookie hidden in the toe.
- Had to use butter to get someone unstuck from under a sofa.
- Realized how many toys could fit under a refrigerator.
- Opened the refrigerator to discover a stuffed animal, a set of keys, and a flip-flop. And totally ignored them.
- Wanted all my dishes and decor to be unbreakable plastic.
- Decorated by hanging things as close to the ceiling as possible.
Okay, I Lied...
Along with these things that I never imagined happening, there were the things I had seen Other Mothers doing. I never actually swore I wouldn't do these, but in my mind I had definitely listed these as no-no's. Beware...sometimes what you say you won't do is harder than what you say you will do.
I swore I would NEVER, but I did:
- Let my baby play in dirt.
- Take a bath time photo.
- Cook meals in the microwave.
- Put everything breakable out of reach.
- Do anything dangerous. Like sit on the sofa, before the age of twelve.
Health, Beauty, and Personal Grooming
Hooray for the super-mom's of the world that look fabulous while maintaining a perfect home, raising un-bruised children, and juggling a career.
I used to have certain ideals about my body and personal life. But like other things, those ideals have sagged a little in the past year.
Before I had a Toddler, I Never:
- Went more than a day without a shower. (There will come a day when turning on the faucet takes more energy than you have left.)
- Went to the store without make-up. (I'm dressed, what more does the world expect today?)
- Went a day without wearing dangling earrings. (It only takes one good yank...)
- Opened an eyeshadow compact to discover it had been pulverized and mixed with other colors. Then wore the new color anyhow.
- Jumped out of the shower and ran through the house wearing only a towel because I heard a strange thump. (Followed by a suspicious silence)
- Shopped for a purse based on how much it would hold and whether or not it had any dangerous attachments.
- Bleached my keys to make sure they were germ-free.
- Sang anything in an Elmo voice.
- Sang "Peanut-Butter Jelly Time" in a pediatrician's office.
- Slept in sneakers.
- Imagined myself taking a breast pump with me on a date.
- Wore an orange shirt with a green and yellow headband. Because that's what my kid wanted me to wear.
- Waved bye-bye to the contents of a potty.
- Chose outfits based on how many stains they might hide.
- Discovered cat-hair in my hair brush.
- Washed my hair with Sesame Street shampoo because it was in reach.
- Tasted a variety of children's medicines to make sure they weren't yucky.
- Considered my belly-button to be a source of entertainment.
- Used a Hello-Kitty Band-aid. On myself.
- Took a nap in the middle of the day. I hate naps almost as much as my toddler.
- Slept less than six hours a night.
- Admitted that I don't have all the answers.
- Actually looked forward to waking up in the morning.
Have your kids ever made you do things you thought you would never do?
Having a toddler takes a certain toll on relationships, (romantic and social) as well. Toddlers are still in that stage where they are totally self-absorbed. The also have a built-in radar that alerts them, even in the deepest of sleeps, that mom and dad have snuggled on the couch to watch a movie together.
Before I had a Toddler, I NEVER:
- Spent half of a romantic date on the phone with my mother. (Is she okay? Does she miss us? Do we need to come home?)
- Considered take-out pizza to be a special event. (No dishes! Yay!)
- Knew that seeing a man wash dishes could be more touching than flowers and chocolates.
- Spent most of a date-night looking for the perfect toy to take home.
- Thought that adult friends were immature if they couldn't get excited about Little People dolls.
- Made excuses for not going out because it is more fun to stay home. (Today? But we were gonna do Play-Doh...maybe next Tuesday.)
- Had fun conversations with total strangers just because we both had children.
- Rated other people's children on a bully scale.
All Is Not Lost...
Just because a few things have changed doesn't mean I have completely lost my sense of self. There are still some standards to which I cling with superhuman obstinacy. If I have made it this far, then I can continue to hold strong throughout the future.
When I have kids, I will NEVER:
- Buy or drive a mini-van.
- Use spit to clean a dirty face.
- Sneak out of the house. (I would rather a teary goodbye, than no goodbye at all.)
- Hide to eat snacks
- Dress my kid in clothes that would embarrass them later.
- Brag incessantly to strangers.
- Use my child as leverage.
- Go shopping in pajamas.
- Go out without brushing my hair.
- Dress the child in just a diaper before going out.
And by golly, I haven't!
Some changes in your life can't even be categorized. They are subtle, one-of-a-kind moments. You are so intent on what you are doing that you don't notice how peculiar it is until later.
Then you just laugh at yourself and shake your head, because you are a mom now, and the new you is here to stay.
Before I had a Toddler, I NEVER:
- Got excited over new sippie-cup models.
- Stayed stranded at home for three days trying to find my keys.
- Placed a rubber duckie in time-out because he tripped someone and made a boo-boo.
- Ate prunes to prove they really were food. (they aren't.)
- Kissed a dirty foot to cure an owie.
- Stopped in the middle of a project to crawl like a dinosaur or play dress-up.
- Gave my drawings to a child to scribble on.
- Changed shoes in the middle of the day because someone wanted me too.
- Pretended to drink bathwater from a giraffe squirty toy.
- Talked to someone all day without expecting an answer.
- Had my nose busted and didn't fight back. (oh, those accidental head-butts!)
- Kissed someone who was wearing their dinner on their face.
- Had to ask the question: " Why is there an elephant in the dishwasher?"
- Took a shower with bath toys because I was too tired to clean the tub.
- Heard my partner ask; "Is this toothpaste tube in the bed for a reason?"
- Automatically looked in a toy oven first for any missing item.
- Stood in line at a store and gave instructions to my husband over the phone that sounded like: "Her green cup? Its behind the entertainment center, beside the plug-strip, with the sock and the jingle ball. No, if she eats the cat food don't call poison control. Just give her some water." While people stared at me.
- Spent more time sterilizing a shopping cart than buying groceries.
- Delayed an outing for an hour because a favorite PINK shirt was in the dryer.
- Carried everything imaginable in one bag, just in case it was needed. (because the ONE day you don't take the Tylenol is the day it is desperately needed.)
The Best of Times
There you have it. A glimpse into the secret future of babies becoming mobile. Raising a toddler is the most wonderful experience. Everyday is full of surprises, some good, some not so good.
There are times when you will throw your hands up in exasperation, and times when you will fall on the floor laughing at something so silly you can't even explain why you are laughing.
Sit back and relax, (but don't get too relaxed...you will have to jump up in a minute to see why the house is suddenly so quiet.) You are in for the coolest adventure ever, and life will never be boring again.
Parent Milestones Through Pre-K
Eek! That has germs!
Gross. I'll clean that up in a minute.
You are gonna croak if you lick that.
SSHH! The baby is asleep!
The baby is asleep. We can watch a grown-up movie if we turn it way down.
SSHH! Mommy is trying to sleeeeep.
Change the baby's entire outfit several times a day so it is cute and matching.
Buy mix and match outfits, argue with toddler about which pieces they can choose.
Whatever. Wear the zebra pants, the tutu and the furry boots with a cowgirl shirt. Just do it quickly so we can go.
I'm going to teach baby how to do things independently.
Install better babyproofing against independent child.
Give me the screwdriver. Don't think I don't know what you are doing.
I'm going to teach baby to talk.
I'm going to teach better communication so baby can learn to ask questions to alleviate frustration.
Please stop asking whhhhyyyy. I don't KNOW why the moon looks moldy!