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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Motherhood is no joke

(Sorry for the delay, this was supposed to post at 8am but didn't)

When I was a teenager I saw this awful Meg Ryan/Alec Baldwin movie where Meg Ryan swapped bodies with an old man. And Alec Baldwin kissed the old man to show that what mattered was on the inside. Or something. Oddly the kiss wasn't the most horrifying aspect of the movie (for the record though, age gap of 50 years? not cool). Instead, I was appalled that Meg Ryan's character was still old in her head. Still said "chop, chop" and hung out with geriatrics. Something about the idea of the old man essentially wasting his wished for youth me and being trapped in his head freaked teenage me out.

I bring this up because as a new mother you notice the changes in some areas of your life and complete lack of change in other areas. Becoming a parent is like that body swap only you expect (or worry) your mind will automatically convert to match your new external status. As a woman, I'm creeped out how other woman seem to rush into shucking their previous identity to be "Baby Blah-blah's Mommy!" and pour absolutely all of their energy into their children. The side effect being the insanely competitive parenting where people think you're strange if you want to have a life and not live through your kids.

Navigating these strange waters has left me surprised at my secrets thoughts. I had these uneasy suspicions that maybe the birth would mean that I would suddenly want to wear mom jeans or adopt some psycho parenting belief system and subsume myself into the baby or something. And then I gave birth and….nothing. All that shit that seemed irrational before we became parents is, in fact, still batshit crazy.

For both Husband-cat and I there has been some level of disbelief that we are still the same people. We have the same non-child interests as before birth, just with new parental additions to our personalities. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. To become someone else, but so far still me. And yet…so many people make their lives their children it feels weird to work to make a full life where my sense of self isn't put into my daughter. I honestly cannot understand why I would burden her with that. Baby Flails-a-lot is a separate person, an individual, and not an extension of me. All I can do is give her the best training/advantages/love/environment/support possible. The decisions will be hers. She's the most important thing in the world, not the only thing.

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