10 Awesome (but rarely mentioned) things about being a Mom
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
1. Better Snacks
Once you have kids that eat real food, you suddenly find your pantry, freezer, and snack cabinets filled with food from yesteryear. Our best friend was staying with us a few weeks ago and it was never more obvious that we now have great snacks as he announced in happy surprise, "What?! You have Pringles and String Cheese?" With kids, our house is generally fully stocked with cookies, assorted berries and fruit, and mini muffins. And everyone thinks you're a 'great mom' for baking cookies with the kids regularly...um, Mum gets to eat those too. Boom.
2. Mad Baby Holding Skillz
Before becoming a Mum, I distinctly remember wishing that I looked and felt more comfortable holding very young babies. I remember my own Mum would smoothly cradle someone else's new baby and it just looked so natural and easy for her. Becoming a Mum very quickly gives you this ability that makes you look and feel like a baby holding expert. Somehow your body recognizes with nostalgia, 'oh yes, I know how to do this.'
3. The Check-in Glance
From the moment your child learns how to do anything, you'll start getting the Check-in Glance. It's that little sneaky look kids give their Mum when they're about to do something (a) new, (b) naughty, or (c) potentially dangerous. The Check-in Glance is the momentary check reserved for Mums to see how they will react and whether this activity will warrant laughs, time-out, or pain. Sometimes the Check-in Glance is matched with the Mom Glare (see below).
4. The Mom Glare
The Mom Glare is the face a Mum can flash across the table, a room, or the grocery store aisle that stops their kids in their tracks. With a swift turn of her head and the glare poised on her face like stone, it says, "Oh, hell no, child. Stop now or something is going to happen that you will not like." I smile in recognition when I see other Mom's pulling out the Mom Glare in public. It's like, 'you go, Mumma - I see you, I respect that." (Teacher's have a similar glare). The power of the glare is supernatural.
5. Hand holding
Hand holding makes a serious comeback after becoming a mother and it's a sweet comeback at that. Sometimes they reach out for you when they attempt stairs, sometimes you reach out to them before crossing a street, and other times you have to grip their wrists as they twist and wiggle to try to get loose. No matter, a large part of the day is holding hands, and it's an ever present reminder, just as the rhyme goes, "I have a hand and you have another. Let's put them together and we have each other."
6. Half asleep cuddles
There's something magical about the moments between awake and asleep - its a time reserved almost exclusively for parents where children are uncharacteristically sweet and cuddly. In the moments right before they are complete awake in the morning, or just on the edge of sleep at night; little hands reach up to your cheeks, little heads nuzzle into your neck, and their sweet rhythmic breath sounds like peace on Earth. These are the moments that save the entire day from all of the spills, tantrums, and declarations that you will never, ever get enough sleep. Somehow the 30 seconds to 2 minutes of half asleep cuddles are what makes being a Mum all balance out.
7. The Weight of your Child
There is a strength and confidence that comes with realizing that your body recognizes the exact weight of your own child. You unconsciously know which hip feels most comfortable for lugging around 45 pounds and what you can carry in your other hand as you balance the 25 pounder on your side. You find the power to pull a wagon full of tired toddler and pine cones while also carrying the bruised-knee preschooler on your back. Occasionally, you'll pick up someone else's kid and realize in a sudden unfamiliar flash how different it feels from holding your own child. Your body startles and sends a message quick to your brain, "Wrong kid, Not Yours," with no need to look at their face or hear their voice - it's the weight of their body that is the dead give away.
8. Inside Jokes
There's just nothing like being on the 'inside' of a joke with a 3year old. When he announces at the Sunday extended family dinner table through a giggle that, "Catch that turtle, Live Action!," and you find that you are the only other person laughing while everyone else makes well-meaning albeit confused smiles. You know that its 'funny' because the two of you were playing Turtleman that afternoon together in the living room with pillows. They might not always be actually funny inside jokes, but no matter - you're in the know, and it's like you're unequivocally part of the cool kids' club.
9. Safety Zone
There is no safer place than a parent's arms to a child. When something is scary, or unfamiliar, or embarrassing - they run to you. You become a safe haven for anything ranging from a dark room to the guy with big eyebrows in church. Not only are you safety for your own kids, but for other people's kids too. 'A Mom with Kids,' is what we teach our kids to look for if they ever get lost. 'A Mom with Kids' is almost always a surefire way to find safety - just as I would do for their kids, I trust other Moms can recognize fear in my child's eyes and make them feel safe and then do what it takes to bring them back to me.
10. More than you are
There is this odd thing that happens as soon as you become a Mom that everyone talks about: Mom Guilt. As a Mum, you suddenly feel guilty about doing anything for yourself, because, well you're a Mom now. The thing is that it's fueled by the little people in your house. It's not so much that you become invisible (since they scream out for you in a panic if they find that you're not in the room that they thought you were...like, honestly, do you think I've disappeared?!), but more like you're inhuman. I imagine their little minds thinking, Mom must not really eat because she's always getting us food and leaving the table 36 times during meals to refill my drink and clean up my messes. And Mom must not really sleep because she comes into my room to rub my back 4 times a night and she's awake when I go to sleep and awake when I wake up. And Mom must never need any time to get ready because she looks like the most beautiful person alive even with me peeking into the shower the whole time and hanging off of her dress while she puts make up on that I just dumped all over the bathroom floor. And it's really exciting when Daddy comes home from work and Mom is just the one that is here all the time anyway. As I written have before, Moms are like the sun; impossible to imagine that it won't be there in the morning - so it's easy to ignore, and take advantage of, and forget to acknowledge*. It's not a lack of love or respect, it's an honest belief that we are more than we really are. And somehow even though that little fact sometimes feels like a terrible, exhausting, unappreciated thing...it's really the most awesome thing of all.
*to my own mom, who is like my sun - I love you and thank you.