Becoming a parent is a life altering event. You go from being in charge of just you, to having this whole other human being that relies on you for everything. They also somehow quadruple your laundry load.
It’s intense. And it colors everything in your world. Suddenly you find yourself wearing these parenting glasses that change the way you view everything. It’s like Predator vision, only everything is in primary colors and has soft rounded edges because holy shit everything is a death trap.
It’s great, because kids are awesome and great (and I’m just going to keep saying great over and over again because I have a three-year-old and it’s great Great. Great. Great.)
But it’s also a great ruiner of things. Because you do change the way you see the world. Things that once seemed benign or inconsequential now matter a great deal. Things you loved have become problematic. And some things just don’t make the transition with you to your new life as a parent. My kids, who I love so very much (THEY’RE GREAT) have ruined a lot of things for me. Like…
Blueberries, because they kinda smell the same whether they are in a bowl or in a diaper. Now, every time I smell blueberries my brain goes immediately to poop.
Movies and TV shows, I used to live for both of these things. The scarier or more dramatic, the better. Now my husband has to prescreen everything for me. If there’s a new movie coming out, he has to read up on it ahead of time. If what he reads is questionable, he watches it. Which is how I knew to skip Witch, Don’t Breathe, and the rest of Penny Dreadful. Thanks husband, you da’ real MVP. Also, why isn’t there an app for this? Someone help me make an app for this. It will be like Mr. Skin but for parents, not boobs.
My body, and not just in the “my belly now looks like an overstuffed plastic grocery bag” kind of way. My elbow hurts from carrying a clingy, teething, 20-pound baby around 24/7. I get pins and needles in my fingers. My bones creak and crack. I legit dislocated my shoulder WHILE SLEEPING around Christmas. And yes, I pee myself a little every now and then, but that’s small in comparison to my cracked tooth from a toddler headbutt and the bruises from bouncing strollers and car seats off my shins every other day.
Sleep, and I’m not talking about how hard it is to come by (because, duh) but if I get woken up in the middle of the night (which usually happens because with two small kids someone is always having a nightmare or cutting teeth), I can’t fall back asleep. I never used to have that problem. Now as soon as my eyes open my brain kicks on, and I start thinking about my to-do list, or whether or not I remembered to pay the electric bill. Or how I am going to find time to get my toddler into swim lessons while simultaneously caring for the baby, because we moved down the street from a large lake and I find myself constantly worrying about it.
Peace and quiet, because when the kids are here it’s horribly suspicious, and when they’re not, I miss them. It’s a special sort of crazy when you spend all day longing for the isolation of bedtime, and then spend the first ten minutes they’re finally sleeping looking at pictures of them on your phone. Or taking grainy dimly lit pictures of them sleeping, because goddamn they are cute and sweet and you’re kinda a weirdo.
School, because in addition to sending my daughter out into the big exciting world, I worry about whether she will become overwhelmed by academics, be picked on for her quirky personality, or be at the wrong place at the wrong time when a gunman enters the building and opens fire.
All the foods I love, because I inevitably have to share them. And nobody wants just HALF a pickle.
Staying up late, because kids don’t care that you’re tired because you discovered Riverdale on Netflix. Or that you binged it during your few hours of peace and quiet last night, when you weren’t looking at pictures of your kids, taking pictures of them sleeping, or you know, just watching them sleep. AND I HAVE ONLY WATCHED SEASON ONE OF RIVERDALE SO DON’T ANYONE DARE SPOIL ANYTHING FOR ME. IT DOES NOT MATTER THAT I AM 36-YEARS-OLD, I LOVE IT.
Cars, because what if we get into an accident? What if we roll the minivan, or get hit head on by a drunk driver? What if we’re out on one of our walks down to that death trap of a lake and someone runs a stop sign and hits us? What if what if what if…
The future, because someday my kids will be all grown up and all this shit that weighs on me and drags me down will be done and over and it will be back to me just taking care of me. And while it’s just me and my husband (oh my god, I did NOT just forget about my husband), we’ll have to live with the fact that that they will be out in the world without us. These little people who used to have to touch my toes while I was going to the bathroom, because they just couldn’t stand to be away from me, will go days without checking in with me.
And that will be perfectly normal because that is how life works. They grow up and they move out and someday blueberries will just smell like blueberries again. Maybe my parenting glasses will show me more colors, but I have to assume I’ll always want them to show me the rounded edges of the world, if only so that I have the illusion that I can somehow make things safer for my babies. Even when they’re not really babies anymore.