You know, the ones that make stupid faces in front of their baby and talk nonsense words?
I've never been that crazy about kids, so I was crossing my fingers that what people said: 'it's different when they're your own!' would ring true in my life.
Fast forward almost 3 months after the birth of my daughter, and I can say it is true. But I could have never prepared myself for how radically (and suddenly) my life, thoughts, and desires would change once our Sarah arrived.
Some things that have changed are superficial: like how my conversation skills have taken a turn for the worse.
I swore to myself before I had children that I would never become one of those parents. You know--the ones that cannot go more than one sentence without referencing their kids? But during the first several weeks when I was home (many times alone with the baby the whole day), I realized how desperately lonely it can be staying in the house with a little human whose only form of communication is varying degrees of crying.
So desperate was I for discussion with another adult that my transitions in conversation had become somewhat erratic... So when the company who was handling my maternity leave called to verify some information, I found myself saying "yes, that's right, she was born May 10th. Speaking of being born, how 'bout them Braves??"
---silence on the other end---
Me: "... I mean... yes, I'll be returning to work once my FMLA is up... So what do you have going on this weekend?!"
The increasing awkwardness in conversation is just the tip of the bottle, though.
I walked into my CrossFit gym this week and quit.
Just like that.
The sport I've loved for the past 2 years, which I stuck with through injury, a hectic work schedule, and 9 months of pregnancy. But after my return to a full-time job I simply could not justify spending almost 2 hours of my evening in a gym while my infant daughter (who I haven't seen all day) gazes up at me from her car seat with a kind of polite indifference.
So I quit. Because in this season of my life, I'll sacrifice having a toned tummy if it means I can spend that time with my baby girl.
But it's not just my priorities that have changed. Driving has changed. I really am more careful now (aren't you proud mom??).
Now I'm not saying that I've ever texted while driving (or written notes in my calendar. Or 8 paragraph long emails to clients. Or read entire facebook threads), but now I think "is this really worth driving off the road for? What would Sarah do without me?"
And I'm sure all moms out there can sympathize with the ever-present problem of red lights. Sarah LOVES to ride in the car. But the second, and I mean the MOMENT my car rolls to a stop, she cries. So I've employed a tactic whereby I stop about 60 feet from the car in front of me so that I have sufficient time to tap dance on the brake pedal until I'm about a millimeter from the bumper of the car in front.
All while inwardly cursing the existence of red lights.
I've already prepared my speech for the police officer once I get pulled over for running said red light. "But SIR! The baby would have woken up had I NOT run that red light! So really, it's just safer for everyone."
Surely any decent human being would understand that.
And eating! I always used to (silently) scoff at people who would say things like "I forgot to eat lunch today!"
Really? How ridiculous.
Before motherhood, the probability that I would 'forget' to eat a meal was up there with forgetting to go to work. Or remembering to go to the bathroom. Or other involuntary actions. Like blinking. It just happens.
But with an infant in the house, I've gone for almost an entire day sometimes before I suddenly remember that I've only consumed 3 spoonfuls of soggy cereal and 2 sips of lukewarm coffee. Because after lugging a 14 lb bag of wet sand (also known as the baby) around, changing endless dirty diapers, singing songs that I only know 1/4 lyrics to and re-doing the swaddle blanket for the infinite time, eating has usually dropped to the bottom of my priority list.
But then I remember that I am milk machine, and unless I want my baby to starve, I better eat a biscuit.
And I never thought I would be overjoyed by getting a little human to burp in my face. My sister and I share a common loathing of bodily noises (especially when they are expelled by our husbands), but when your baby has gas, the belch that follows a feeding is like music to my ears. Honestly it's a little weird how happy I get when I'm burped on.
And anyone who knows me well will attest to the fact that I am generally annoyed by children. So no one could have been as surprised as me at the reality that I just FEEL differently towards other kids now.
I'm less annoyed at other people's crying children in stores and restaurants. It's like all mothers of young children have an instant connection.
I saw a mother with 4 kids in Target the other day who was trying to cope. One of her boys was sprinting to the front of the store barefoot while his mother (laden down with the youngest 3) shouted 'to the LEFT!' and pointed wildly to the front corner of the store. She smiled apologetically to the other shoppers (who were watching the scene with disapproving looks) and explained that he had to go the bathroom.
I felt like gripping her by the shoulders and shouting "I IDENTIFY WITH YOU!" in her face.
I even took the liberty of giving the judgmental shoppers the stink-eye when I passed them.
And while I may not be quite ready to join a mommy-and-me baby yoga class, or get involved in an online discussion about the contents of my baby's diapers, I think I'm well on my way to becoming one of those moms. The ones who make stupid faces and talk nonsense to their baby.
Because I'll tell you what: witnessing your baby learning, growing, and changing, and seeing their face light up with wonder is like nothing else on earth. Seeing Sarah smile is more beautiful to me than any sunrise or sunset I've witnessed anywhere in the world. Hearing her start to laugh makes my heart happy in way that just doesn't compare with the joys of globe trotting. And witnessing the miracle of watching her change moment by moment is just magical.
And I can't wait for tomorrow to do it all over again.