While walking out of the grocery store with my 3-year-old, a middle-aged man smiled sympathetically at me and offered to put back my grocery cart (that awkward, impossible- to-steer car that my son insists on). When I got home I caught a glance of myself in the mirror: yesterday’s mascara smudged under my eyes, hair haphazardly stuck up in a clip, and a spit-up-stained tank top. Later that day I learned I also had half a dozen Spiderman stickers on my back to complete the look. I took my hairclip out, shook my head, wiped off my eye makeup and gave myself a half-smile. Hey, not so bad, right? Ughhh…who was I kidding? I’m a sad, pathetic mess.
Rewind time five years. Freshly-showered, refreshed from a full night’s sleep, makeup applied perfectly, cute outfit that showed off a flat pre-baby tummy, I sauntered through that same grocery store, reveling the fact that guys’ glances lingered. Walking past the Diaper/Baby food aisle which was completely foreign to me (what the heck is a “Boogie Wipe”?) I saw a frazzled woman with a newborn in her shopping cart and a toddler running down the aisle, pulling things off the shelves and screaming as she ran. I looked disapprovingly at that woman and thought, “Would it hurt to put on a clean shirt? Who wears sweatpants in public? Is having a kid really worth it?” I continued on my leisurely shopping trip, no list, no coupons, no diet restrictions. My mind wandered to that night – what was I going to do? Maybe go out for drinks with my girlfriends? Should I get a manicure this afternoon? What should I wear? Maybe I’ll go to the mall and buy something new……
Fast forward to present day. My son screams “Mom!! Justus is crying! Where are my Legos?!” I sigh and turn away from the mirror. I guess this is the new me – the Mom version. I have turned into a walking cliché. You know all those “Mom” memes you see on Facebook? Yep, that’s me. I drive an SUV with a back seat filled with car seats, toys, and crumbs, I drink wine on my couch while wearing yoga pants that have been begging to be washed for a week, all my fantasies involve taking a nap, I am in desperate need of a pedicure but that doesn’t stop me from wearing flip-flops, and I haven’t seen the inside of a hair salon in almost a year. Last night my husband said “Nice outfit!” and I almost thanked him until I realized he was being facetious and I had been wearing the same outfit for two days (those famous yoga pants).
I miss my pre-mom self. Would I trade my life now to have it back? Of course not. Is it worth it? Of course. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss (even mourn) that carefree life where my biggest concern was what earrings to wear. But I have a new life now. I am a different person. I’m a better person. I’m Jack and Justus’s mom. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll take a shower before going to the store, even put on makeup and wear a cute outfit. But today, my baby would spit up on the cute outfit and my toddler would attach himself to my leg while I try to put on makeup (“Mommy can I help? Can I help? What are you doing Mommy? Can I help?”). So for now, I will continue to rock those dirty yoga pants and appreciate the sympathetic gestures from strangers, because yes, it really is worth it.
The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness.
When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe.
You relinquish that position to your children.
– Jessica Lange