Monday, September 29th, 2014
Each month in Parents, we print the 27 truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our November issue features a quote from Erin Huizen at Life in the Hood. Read her full blog post below.
Life as the mom of a toddler is exactly how I imagined it’d be: the convergence of one little boy stuffed entirely with wiggle worms and an easily out-smarted mom who doesn’t know the first thing about raising toddlers, these two forces swirling together, creating one big crazy $hit storm tornado.
(P.S. Raising a toddler also means I don’t have much time to blog, and therefore I’ll be using a lot of sweeping generalization to get my point across for the next few years.)
Actually, toddlerhood isn’t that bad, but the adjustment period is quite a shock.
At first it feels a tad bit like you are in prison, except I have heard that prisoners are allowed to take coffee breaks wherein some one-foot-tall inmate isn’t using a foreign, mono-syllabic language to demand access to the touching of her mug.
Anyway, somewhat rapidly, the world I once knew vanished. The world in which I could cuss, talk to another adult without stopping to answer un-English questions and comments mostly dealing with dogs and motorcycles, eat chocolate and cookies all day with zero accountability, and walk through a neighborhood anonymously without having to talk to every dog-owner and interesting-looking person with a light saber my son decides to engage.
That world is gone, replaced by one in which every thing I do, every plan I make begs the question, will this cause a tantrum? And if so, how large?
Maybe it’s this line of thinking that has caused me to go a little PTSD, minus the P.
While anxiously awaiting the discount grocery store to open its doors last Sunday morning, I decided we could try the coffee shop with the small kid’s play area. Though last time we graced this establishment, my toddler breezed past the toys straight to the trash cans, and after picking up all the diseases he could from their flapping lids, made his way behind the counter to help make sandwiches and serve soup.
This time he found a truck and a couple of baby-boomers rocking to music that wasn’t playing. He dug it and nodded his little head to the non-existent music as well. Just to make sure things didn’t get awkward, I bobbed my head too.
The woman told my son the music in her head was always better than the music they played there anyways.
He nodded some more, adding a fist pump.
“And if you keep your head banging like this,” she swirled her neck around and did a soft-core head-bang, “then no bad thoughts can get stuck in there.”
I liked that idea.
When my son is around and I need to think, I’ll sing a lot of made-up songs, some words, some simple melody, mostly humming. Lately I’ve been catching myself doing this without him around, mostly in public bathroom stalls, along with the head bang.
I’ve also noticed that many standards I am certain I once held dear, I cannot, for the life of me, muster up one fart about now.
Standards such as: not showing my bra-strap; being on time; mopping > once a year; masking my feelings for the sake of others; avoiding going out in public with avocado stains caked into my pants or poop crusted in my watchband; wearing shirts inside out, backwards, both, or the same shirt and pants for days on end if the avocado and other food-crust gods are blessing me as such; listening; using plates; refraining from acquiring most of my calories from what I can pick from the car seats, etc.
Knowing I’ve gone a little looney, I still try to preserve somewhat of my “self”, since it’s been beaten into my selectively porous mother-skull that I must be sure to take care of myself in order to take care of my child.
But sometimes it feels like I’m trying to preserve myself to the point of being a tree in the petrified forest, and I get the urge to just let go.
I still work-out, have my bud in child care two hours a day so I can do my thing, attend a writing group, read, etc. Despite all this, I still sense my identity as it once was is in a serious state of flux, it’s slipping away, and when I come out the other end, I’m not going to be the same.
The world will have become my padded room, the bathroom stall my stage, the unwary dog-owner my confidant. I will have happily gone insane. I will be a mom.
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