I love my son. He’s the best. An energetic 3 year old with a bright smile and enthusiastic laugh, he brings joy to my life.
But, not gonna lie, being a parent changes things. There are things I can never go back to, things that are ruined potentially forever. There are the obvious changes, like your body and your budget, but there are subtle changes, too, that snuck in when I wasn’t looking.
Here’s a list of things becoming a parent has ruined:
1. Working late.
As a court reporter, there are times when I need to work odd hours to finish a transcript and meet a deadline. When I was single, it was easy to pull all-nighters, as long as the dogs got walked. When I got married, it was a little harder, because now there was someone whose company I enjoyed waiting on me, but who understood the importance of getting work out so money could come in.
Then I made a human, and being away from that human for long periods of time became painful. It’s one thing to drop him off at daycare at 8 and pick him up at 5, ready to be with my goofy kid after some good grownup interaction. But add another 5-6 hours where I’m not home so I can focus uninterrupted? The. Worst. And if he goes to sleep without my snuggles, am I even still a mommy??
Obviously, children make it hard to watch anything other than Paw Patrol 24/7. But on the off chance that we get a babysitter and movie tickets, the list of movies I can handle is much shorter than it used to be. If there’s a child that is in peril in said movie, or even worse, dies, I’m done. Especially if I didn’t know it was coming. Even commercials can disturb me, and leave me in tears. It’s better now that I’m past a very difficult postpartum season, but I suspect it’ll never really go away.
3. My mouth
No, I don’t mean swearing (although if I’m honest, I have sworn more since having a child than I have in my entire pre-child adult life, but that may also be traced back to postpartum issues). I am a grown woman who has said the word “potty” unironically to other grownups. More than once. Even more than that, my stories all involve my kid. My references are fewer memes and movies and more PBSKids and Nick jr. (gosh, I’m such a Marshall haha!!) I even find myself wandering around work singing to myself as always, but now instead of songs from Hamilton, it’s more likely to be Baby Shark.
And some good things, too
To be fair, many things are much better with kids. Here are some things vastly improved by tiny humans:
1. Halloween Costumes
Family costumes are so fun. I used to pride myself on the most elaborate explanation for not dressing up at all: Time Traveler from the Future Blending in with Locals or Survivor of a Zombie Apocalypse Who Found Clean Clothes.
Now I spend a good part of the year planning what we can do and how to make the costumes perfect. Last year we were Adventure Time, and it was epic if I do say so myself.
2. Birthdays/all the holidays
Gifts are my primary love language, so birthdays have always been special. But picking little kid parties is a special hobby all its own. The only downside is that I’m no Pinterest mom, so my vision doesn’t often match reality, but just the opportunity to try is a blast. Christmas and Easter, that’s a given. All the stuff I’ve been too old for is new again, and I have permission to enthusiastically behave like a child with another child!
I grew up traveling the United States and parts of Canada with my grandparents in their Airstream trailer, and some of the best memories of my childhood come from those trips. Just the idea of showing my little one beautiful landmarks, exciting places, and historic sites full of re-enactors fills me with anticipation. I mean sure, traveling with a child is hardly an easy task, but if you start young, you can encourage the wanderlust and set them on a course of exploration that lasts a lifetime.
4. The future
At the risk of sounding cheesy, a child is nothing but untapped potential. Every day he does something hilarious or brilliant or daring and I’m blown away by all he might do. As long as he grows into the kind, happy, and wildly brave man he’s heading toward, I’ll be a proud mama.