It turns out I was terribly mistaken about this whole mommy thing.
Pre-baby, I showed up EVERYWHERE 15 minutes early. I judged people who showed up late, even if they had a kid. I thought, “Well if you’re ALWAYS late, why don’t you know to start getting ready earlier?” Now it’s a good day when I’m only 15 minutes late. It really doesn’t matter when I start getting ready. And the hold-ups aren’t always Mitchell’s fault, although I nearly always blame my tardiness on him. Usually, I start getting ready two hours before I have to leave. At about an hour before I have to leave, I consider myself completely ready, so I let myself get distracted. I play with Mitchell, I think “Oh, I’ll just unload a few dishes from the dishwasher,” and then those few dishes lead to reorganizing the cabinet that Mitchell destroyed a few days earlier, or I start to rethink my outfit and try on five different outfits. And then I start to get Mitchell ready, and then when it finally comes time to load the car, I have to go back inside for ten different things that I forgot. It’s not that I don’t feel ashamed of myself when I’m late. I’m as annoyed with myself as I used to be with others who showed up late. But, the thing is, I care a lot less about being annoyed.
Pre-baby, I also wondered why in the world it seemed that people with babies could accomplish so little. They seemed to go by Joey Tribbiani’s unemployment rules: one thing per day. Now that Mitchell has reached his three-stop-maximum time, I get it. And, thanks to this sleep-deprived brain of mine, I seem to ALWAYS need something from Dillon’s or Target. It doesn’t matter how many lists I make, I either leave something off the list or, even if it was on the list, I forgot it at the store.
Pre-baby, nothing would make me bristle up quicker than someone telling me I would love my dogs less when a baby came. I couldn’t understand how a baby could possibly affect my love for these dogs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love these dogs and have absolutely no plan of locking them away or, God forbid, getting rid of them. But there are some days when I swear I’m going to wrap Laika’s paws in cloth if I hear her pace while dragging her claws one more second. And sometimes I think if I have to wipe a strand of drool off his head one more time, I’ll go buy one of those dental vacuums and strap it to Laika’s mouth. And, while I’m sure he doesn’t shed any more now than he did pre-baby, sometimes I feel that my entire house is coated in a layer of fur. I vacuum, dust, and mop constantly. And, even though it used to be terribly convenient that Kingsley could let himself inside, it seems that now he times it perfectly to hit that latch over and over and over again right when Mitchell is SO CLOSE to sleep.
Pre-baby, I watched a few Nanny 911 episodes and called myself a child behavior expert. Psh, who would give in to a child’s temper tantrum? Psh, who would let a child dictate what will happen and when? Now there are days when it would probably only take one more meltdown for me to completely give in and give him exactly what he wants. The meltdowns are a recent thing, and luckily in the last couple days they’ve eased up. And he’s stopped demanding nothing but snacks for eating. So there’s hope on the horizon.
Pre-baby, I judged people whose houses turned into one giant playroom. Kids have a bedroom! Toys should go in the bedroom! Now, any shelves under three feet in my house are filled with baby toys. Even if all of his toys would fit in his room (which, thanks to some unfortunately-sized Christmas gifts, won’t happen until Mitchell enjoys his own wing of the house), what would we put on those bottom shelves? Books? Nicknacks? You must be dreaming, fool. If Mitchell didn’t destroy them he would claim them as treasures and hide them (seriously, this kid is worse than a dog with a bone).
Pre-baby, I judged people who didn’t maintain their own identities sans baby. Go out with your girlfriends! Have a drink! Do something by yourself! Nowadays, I can’t find anyone to do anything with because they all have their own lives, and when I do get out by myself, I come back to a child that won’t unlatch himself from my hip. Last night I went to a photography class (don’t worry, my pictures won’t get any better; this was just a get-to-know-your-camera class). I got all glammed up (first of all, how sad is it that a photography class is a reason to get glammed up? second of all, how sad is it that “glammed up”=jeans and eyeshadow?) and, within the first two minutes, committed Mommy Mistake #1: I took a random small talk sentence from a stranger and managed to reply with something akin to “OMG MY BABY IS AT HOME. I’M A MOM. I’M NEVER WITHOUT MY BABY. WHAT AM I TO DO WITH MYSELF IF I’M NOT WIPING A BABY NOSE, CHASING HIM, SMELLING HIS DIAPER, OR KEEPING HIS HAND OUT OF HIS PANTS?” She covertly chose a seat across the room from me. This morning, Mitchell was still suffering from separation anxiety. As soon as I started to get dressed, he took up his position on my hip and refused to leave. I never knew that it was possible to put on a bra, shirt, or jeans one-armed. The girls may have been a little lopsided, but we made it out the door looking decent enough for story time.
Basically, almost everything I vowed to do pre-baby has not come to fruition. Ah, best-laid plans. Luckily, at the end of the day, I get to say “Give me a hug” and get a fantastic hug and sometimes even a sloppy drooly kiss on the cheek. Sometimes even from Mitchell!