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The Momification Process

I sat down for the first time the other day around 11:30am after having spent an hour battling the baby down for his nap. I had already been awake for six hours at the time, but sadly, I was still wearing pajamas – dirty pajamas, none the less. My pants were soaked with bubbles that the baby had spilled when we were playing outside at the ass-crack of dawn and the sleeves of my shirt were covered in snot since the baby had a cold and we somehow managed to use all eight boxes of tissues I had purchased earlier in the week. 

I sipped my cold coffee that I had poured two hours earlier and thought about my plans for the day. Depending on how long he slept, we would hit the mall to get the baby a new pair of overly-priced shoes since he’s already outgrown the pair we just bought two months ago. I swear, you’d think I was buying fucking Italian leather loafers for the price these things cost. In his 15 months of life, I’ve definitely already spent more on shoes for this kid than I have spent on myself in the last five years. Anyways, I was planning on heading to the shoe store before meeting up with my girlfriend for an afternoon play date at the park. On the way home, I reminded myself, I needed to stop at the store for soy milk. Oh – and more tissues, I thought, as I pulled off my snot soaked shirt and turned on the shower. I undressed, looking forward to a few minutes alone, as I noticed three Cheerios fall out of my bra when I unhooked it. I looked in the mirror at my half-naked self. My previously long hair had recently been cut into a mom-bob to avoid my son pulling on it. My eyebrows hadn’t been waxed in weeks. The bags under my eyes were so big and dark that they could easily have been mistaken for black holes, right there on my face. I reconsidered the plans I had made and realized that I had become a slave to my son’s sleeping schedule and play date plans. In this moment, it hit me that as much as I had resisted to losing myself to motherhood, I had been momified. 

Women begin the modification process the moment that we learn we are expecting. Immediately, we are forced to change our eating habits, we give up alcohol, and we limit our beloved coffee intake. We quickly learn that we are physically unable to stay awake past 8:00pm due to the little life sucking the energy from within us and that puking is a fairly regular pregnancy pastime. And for me, pregnancy was only the beginning. After the baby was born, I became a full-on mom. I traded in my People for Parenting Magazine. I gave p my sporty, stick-shift sedan for a spacious, top safety rated SUV (a beige SUV, I might add). On top of that, the backseat has now collected probably an entire box worth of Cheerios and due to the overwhelming spoiled milk smell, I’m going to assume that there are at least two dirty sippy cups underneath the seats. While I swore this would never happen, the high-wasted Target brand denim capris that I am rocking at this very moment are dangerously close to being categorized as mom jeans. You think that you will be different. You think that you’ll be able to balance parenthood with your previous life. Then, without even realizing it’s happening, you too will give in to momification. 

Let me back track a little bit here. When I worked as the director of a childcare center, I met a lot of moms. I spoke to them on a regular basis, considering that I was responsible for the well-being of their children for the better part of the work week. I not only knew their names, but I knew their husbands’ names, I knew where they worked, and of course, I knew their children inside and out. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I received in which the mom on the line would greet me with, “Hello, Cait. This is Sophia’s Mother.” Don’t you have a name? I spoke to these women every day when they would drop off and pick up their children, so they had to know I knew their names. Right? Could it be that when a woman becomes a mother, she becomes so involved in raising her child that she actually identifies herself soley as “Sophia’s Mother?” As a childless person at the time, I vowed to myself that when I became a mother, if I ever introduced myself as “So-And-So’s Mom,” I’d slip into some skinny jeans, make a stiff martini, and remind myself that I am an actual woman with a real name and an identity outside of being a mother.

Now, 15 months into it, I am beginning to understand that it’s extremely easy to lose your identity when your whole world revolves around your children. They are the most amazing and important thing that has ever happened in your life, so naturally, you become preoccupied with their every waking want and need. That being said, I think it’s important to maintain some sort of sense of self – after all, I was an independent, educated, successful woman for 27 years before I became a mother. Every once in a while, I have to remember to turn off the Toddler Tunes station and listen to Top Hits on Pandora. I have to tell myself to put on a pair of sexy sling backs rather than one of my many pairs of “mom flats.” And most importantly, if I ever introduce myself to you as “Greyson’s Mom,” help me change out of my mom jeans, hand me a martini, and remind me that I had a life of my own before I had a life as a mom. 

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