Things change when you have a baby. This is not a new phenomenon, nor is it unknown prior to having a baby. Of course I knew that after I had my daughter, Lyla, my body would change. I mean, how could you stuff a beach ball where there’s not much room to begin with, then squeeze it out a hole the size of grape (or peach, depending on who said hole belongs to… I’m not pointing fingers) and expect it to go back to normal. I was prepared for the extra jiggle of the stomach that never quite goes away, the way that my boobs now resemble tennis balls in a pair of tube socks, and even a few stretch marks. What I wasn’t prepared for was the little but annoying things that no one tells you about. Like the fact that no matter how many sit-ups you do, or how perfectly flat your stomach is (yeah right) your belly button will never, ever be the same. Mine used to be a cute innie, deep enough actually collect lint if I wasn’t careful. Now it is perfectly flat. Not an innie, not an outtie, but flat… and a little saggy. Oh, and there are stretch marks INSIDE of it. Weird.
Anyway, your body is only the beginning of the things that change after you have a baby. Here’s my list of 5 other surprising things that will never go back to being the way they were before that sweet bundle of poopie and fartie-farts came into your life. Speaking of…
1) Your Language. I’ve always had a mouth that’s a cross between a truck driver and a drunken old lady at bingo. Lyla is only 8 months, so I haven’t had to change that too much yet, although I know it’s coming. But what has really surprised me is the slew of even more offensive words that slip out… like poopie (shit), ba-ba (bottle) and fartie-fart (it doesn’t take a mom to decode this one.) Oh yeah, and I now talk about myself in the third person. As in, “Mommy’s gonna change your poopie diaper.” Who am I?
2) Your Work Ethic. You will never, ever be committed to work in the same way you were before you had kids. Anyone who tells you that you can be is either: a) lying or b)lying. You can be super-motivated. You can be super-successful. You can be both and STILL be a super-mom. But no matter what you tell anyone… when you are working those late nights, your brain is only 50% on the job at hand, and 50% on what bedtime story someone is reading your child. And you wish that someone was you.
3) Your Friendships. Fact: When you have kids, some friendships grow deeper and some grow apart. Those friends who have kids can offer support, understanding and reassurance that you are not totally crazy or a bad parent. Of those who don’t have kids, some will understand the fact that 99.98% of the stories you have to share, jokes you have to tell and thoughts you have in your head are about your kids. Some of your childless friends won’t understand, and why would they? The story about your baby trying bananas for the first time is boring unless you have kids. Actually it’s boring no matter what. Regardless, the friends who don’t understand your need to talk about your kids will drift away. Don’t worry, you’ll soon find new mommy friends to bore.
4) Your House. Despite vowing to not let one mini-person take over the whole of our house, our living room is now home to a giant dog-like pen overfilled with toys. Our bathtub is now simply a container for another small, plastic bathtub and enough lotions, creams and shampoos to last my 8-month-old through college. My sink is filled with tiny bowls, spoons and bottles; my freezer is full with baggies of breast milk (don’t even get me started on this) and ice trays full of pureed food; my floor is littered with teeny, errant socks that Lyla constantly is pulling from her feet; and despite constantly changing the diaper pail my house gives off the faint aroma of dirty diaper. It’s not that I have totally given up. It’s that it’s pretty much unavoidable. And as such, I have totally given up.
5) Your Feelings. In college, my lack of perceptible feelings prompted one friend to call me Robo-Wood. After having a baby, an erectile dysfunction commercial makes me cry (it’s a real concern people.) Not that I think that Robo-Wood is a flattering nickname, but I much prefer a cool exterior to the sniffling, blubbery mess I have become as of late. BUT despite now needing stock in Kleenex, this is also the best change that has happened to me. I never realized how much I could love someone until I had Lyla, and my love for my daughter has somehow given me the capacity to love everyone else more too. My heart definitely seems bigger now than ever before… maybe she stretched it out, along with EVERYTHING else.