My three minutes came crashing to a close when the evil animal that lives in our house (commonly referred to as our "dog") began incessantly barking to warn me that her sensors detected another dog in the neighborhood was barking. Brilliant. Happily warned I reluctantly went to fetch the now shrieking infant that the evil animal had unwittingly roused.
This evil creature may not live much longer.
But that is hardly the point of this post. The point is, during my three minutes of pondering life before motherhood I came to one overall realization: my definitions and standards of life have been drastically and forever changed. Let me elaborate.
Before I became a mother this is what I looked like everyday.
No exaggeration. None.
Post-motherhood - this is what I look like. Every day.
Pre-motherhood this would be an accurate picture of what I pictured my baby would look like when sleeping. A perfect, rosy-cheeked, slumbering angel, snuggled casually under a soft cover, clutching a treasured friend. Lovely.
This is the post-motherhood reality. This child, while still certainly also a perfect angel, paints a more realistic picture. Please allow me to diagram: the child has been "mittened" to prevent further face-scratching with his razor sharp infant nails, pacifier is secured in place by an unceremonious burp cloth, the head is being coaxed to tilt to the infant's right to encourage round formation of the skull, and finally, a receiving blanket has been placed on top of the sheet to aid in quick clean-up of the inevitable fountain of spit-up. A very different picture.
Let us examine another way to explain this shift by looking at a few "before and afters," if you will, of post and pre-motherhood.
Standard in question: a clean kitchen.
- Pre-motherhood definition: Everything removed from counters and all counters washed thoroughly, small appliances cleaned, oven and fridge surfaces scrubbed, all spice jars wiped individually and refilled, top of fridge scrubb... well, I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
- Post-motherhood definition: Dishes washed.
Standard in question: an indulgence.
- Pre-motherhood definition: Quiet evening at home, hours of uninterrupted time with a book I'm loving and a couple glasses of Cabernet.
- Post-motherhood definition: Locking myself in the bathroom for five minutes of "quiet."
Standard in question: breakfast for me.
- Pre-motherhood definition: Cup of coffee, glass of orange juice with ice and a straw, poached eggs on toast with cheese and sliced tomato, and if I was being especially naughty, a beautiful fresh peach, chopped and swimming in sweetened cream.
- Post-motherhood definition: A piece of bread. And if I'm being especially indulgent, coffee.
Standard in question: dinner preparation.
- Pre-motherhood definition: The three or four recipes involved in dinner printed and all groceries needed off the recipes marked and obtained. All equipment and items needed for dinner are laid out in typical "mise en place" fashion. iPod is plugged in and set to a favorite musician, a sermon I've been looking forward to hearing or the latest episode of NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!"
- Post-motherhood definition: Remembering to thaw some chicken from the freezer. Considered a particular victory if I have any inkling of an idea of what I might make with said chicken.
Standard in question: intimate moment (or as JD likes to say "sexy time").
- Pre-motherhood defintion: When we want, where we want. If JD is really on it there will be lots of candlelight involved and probably some David Gray playing in the background.
- Post-motherhood definition: 15 minute window where neither child is awake. Also necessary is the psychological will and physical stamina required. All three elements must be present in order to win. Otherwise, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Standard in question: date night.
- Pre-motherhood defintion: Reservations would be made at a posh new restaurant we've been looking forward to checking out, most likely located in the downtown area. Dinner would be leisurely and very possibly followed by a movie either at home or in the theater.
- Post-motherhood definition: Babysitter must be obtained, breast milk must be pumped, diaper bags packed, instructions given for each child - therefore ANY TIME away from both children would be considered a date of the most anticipated nature. Bonus points given if we actually have a destination or plan other than just sitting in the van in a nearby parking lot and talking. Bonus points still given even if said destination is the nearest Applebee's.
The larger lesson at play here is that