Don't get me wrong--I love being a mom, and I cherish the two little people that God entrusted me to raise. But some days, I just have to shake my head and laugh, when I think of how different my life is now that I'm a mother.
Take, for example, boobs. Yes, you read that right. Boobs. Before I became a mom, boobs were sort of an afterthought--they were the body part I would occasionally show off in a low-cut shirt, but I generally didn't think about them unless I was headed to the gym or out for a run. Fast-forward to life after kids, and they have taken on a whole new life of their own. They are a food source, a place my children (and even the family dog) go to for comfort and a "soft place to fall." And now, instead of trying to find clothes to show them off, I drop large amounts of cash on bras intended just to make them look normal, and not like an extra fat roll around my waist.
Then, there are dates. Before kids, a date was thrown together on a whim, with no thought for logistics other than making sure I had done laundry so I could wear pretty underwear and a matching bra. Now, planning for a date night is like putting together a full-scale invasion of a foreign country. We start 2-3 weeks in advance, in order to find a sitter. We make reservations. I plan to make sure I have food on hand that will be easy for the sitter to prepare. On D-Day, I start early, laying out PJ's and the kids' meds, books for bedtime and making sure their security blankets and loveys are present and accounted for. I coordinate the shower rotation for Brad and I to get ready, accounting for the 13 interruptions we'll have by little ones needing a snack, or help with their legos, or just needing to be held. At T-1 hour, I'm running around like a crazy woman, half-dressed, trying to keep from getting snot smeared across the shoulder of my little black dress. When we FINALLY manage to get out the door, I am so exhausted from the endless lists of details running through my head and the energy it took to pry the clinging, crying child from my hip and hand her off to the sitter, it takes a good 30 minutes before I can actually enjoy myself on the date. IF we get to go, that is. The last 3 or 4 times we have planned for a date, a sick child on date night has thrown all of the plans out the window.
Now illness--that's a whole 'nother ballgame, too. Before kids, on the RARE occasion that I was sick, I would spend the day laying on the couch, eating take-out soup, reading my stash of fashion and gossip magazines, and napping under a warm blanket. Now, when I am sick, which is very often in the winter time, thanks to the 2 "Ebola monkeys" I have living with me, it is a very different experience. I pop cold medicine while eating my breakfast over the kitchen sink. I push through the aches and misery, feeding, bathing, and caring for my two very demanding little ones. And when I finally get the opportunity to rest on the couch (with the kiddos parked in front of a TV, their annoying cartoons blaring), a little one worms their way onto the couch, steals my blanket, and puts their cold feet all over me, wiggling just enough to jostle me awake every time I even think of dozing off.
Of course, for all of the things that have changed in a not-so-positive way, there are countless ways that things have improved. Before, there was no one laying their soft cheek on my chest, no head to bend and kiss and catch a whiff of that sweet baby smell. There was no little one to murmur, "Mama, I missed you," when I come in to kiss them goodnight after a date. And when I was living alone and sick, there was no sweet boy bringing me a plastic cup of water, putting his little hand on my forehead and telling me, "Mama, I hope you feel better. I love you."
Life as a mom isn't all fun and games; it can be exhausting and thankless and just plain insane some days. But the rewards--well, those are pretty amazing.