Look, I don’t mind if having a baby was the best thing that ever happened to you. Kudos! I’m happy for you. Still, I figured now would be a good time for me to issue the world a warning:
The next glassy-eyed, placid mother that comes up to me and asks me, “Don’t you just looooove being a mom? Isn’t this just the beeeest thing that ever happened to you?” is going to get kicked in the shins.
I really hate that question. Either I lie, which I don’t like to do, or I disagree and sound like a baby-hating psychopath. Any answer except an enthusiastic “Yes! Ohmigosh! Babies are great! I’m so fulfilled! I love my life, and I’m never unhappy, and every time the baby vomits into my hair I giggle with glee!” is taboo.
Don’t get me wrong— I love my son. I LOVE my son. He’s incredibly cute, and I’m not just saying that. I mean, take a look:
That’s a cute baby. They don’t come much cuter than that. And you know what? I don’t just love him, I actually even*like* him. Every day he becomes more of a little person. Hearing him laugh makes my heart light.
But you know what else? Sometimes I feel like I am the only person who squeezed a baby out of my uterus that didn’t drink the kool-aid. Being a mom is hard. The DragonMonkey wasn’t something that The Bean and I were exactly planning for, and I have to be honest: I miss my freedom. I spent the first few months of the DragonMonkey’s life feeling like his real mom was going to show up at any moment. This baby wasn’t actually MINE, was it? I mean, uh, forever mine? As in, he’s not going away? And I can’t even leave him in a kennel while I’m gone out of the house for a few hours? You mean I have to take him with me ALL the time?
It took me YEARS before I caved in and started carrying a purse. Now I can’t leave the house without a boppy, a blanky, a bib, a bumbo, a bottle, a big bag, and of course, the baby. Don’t even get me started on that diaper bag— I think if I searched really hard, I might actually find a diaper in it. I think I can also find a collection of spoons, an old crayon, an old baby shoe, several toys that he never actually plays with, a couple of spare outfits, the catalytic converter to a ’53 Mustang, a crusty bib (the clean ones always run away whenever I need to go out), an empty bottle, a bunch of cheerios dust that are ground down in the bottom of it, and probably the cure to cancer if I dug deep enough.
How can someone so little need so many accessories?
And how is it that, even though I’m carting around a pastel-colored suitcase full of baby crap, I never have anything that I actually need? Other moms always do. Being a mom is hard… being a mom in Southern California, surrounded by eco-green, germ-free, hot young moms really sucks. I’m stuck somewhere between envy and embarrassment when I see how naturally this whole mothering thing comes to other women.
“Awww… did baby fall down and go boom-boom? Awww… Come here. Mommy will take out her pain-relieving Neosporin and SpongeBob Squarepants band-aid out of a neat little compartment in her perfectly arranged diaper bag—the one that matches her beautiful shoes and her size 0 mini skirt! There, all better! Are you hungry? Here, have some baby-sized organic banana and squash tidbits that Mommy grew in her own backyard and cooked up in the oven this morning just for you! Wash it down with some filtered water from your expensive sippy cup that promotes hand-eye coordination and will ensure that you graduate from law school at the top of your class!”
Me (looking up as another mom tugs on my sleeve to point out that the DragonMonkey has fallen down): “Oh. Oh! Ummm. Come here, baby. Umm. There, there. Ummmm. Shhh. There, there. Hmmm. That looks like it’s bleeding. Good thing you’re wearing red today, huh! It’ll blend right in! Oh, are you hungry? Oh, crap. I forgot your food. You’re too young for Starbucks, aren’t you? Hmmm. Ummm….Want some cheerio dust that Mama found at the bottom of the diaper bag? Look, if you suck it off my finger, it’s almost like food!”
In my next life, I’m going to be born with the make-up gene AND the mothering gene. I will mince onto the playground in my perfectly-matched outfit with my styled non-frizzy hair. My well-behaved, well-nourished, highly intelligent children will be the envy of all.
Either that or I’m coming back as a cat. That sounds like fun, too.