My eldest child just turned 5-years old today. This means that, for five years I have been a mom, a caregiver, and a 24-hour concierge of sorts. What else does this milestone mean?
– For five years I’ve been perpetually concerned with the well-being of another person more so than my own.
– For five years someone else’s eating, toileting, emotional, and sleep needs have superceded my own.
– For five years I have wiped someone else’s butt multiple times daily.
– For five years I have not been able to quickly and easily leave the house on a whim.
– For five years washability has been a primary deciding factor in all clothing selections.
– For five years I have planned meals around someone else’s needs and/or tastes.
– For five years I have found mystery stains, spots, puddles, or crustiness in my home.
– For five years privacy has been a distant concept.
– For five years I have slept with my mind set to listen for sounds of my offspring in need.
– For five years any story regarding child victims has simultaneously made my heart drop and my eyes well.
– For five years I have not shopped for myself without thinking of, if not prioritizing or also buying for, my children.
– For five years I have not seen baby clothes displays without stopping to touch the fabric.
– For five years I have seen pregnant women and thought, “been there!”
– For five years my relationship with my husband has been entirely different — neither better nor worse, simply different — than before.
– For five years I have been a human tissue.
– For five years the future of our world has been a notable concern.
– For five years trips to the grocery store have been chaotic.
– For five years I have had to carefully consider wardrobe choices when at home.
– For five years solo trips to Target have seemed like a mini-vacation.
– For five years I have had to put away someone else’s laundry.
– For five years I have thought of my parents more as grandparents than as my own parents.
– For five years our home has not been quiet… unless we’re not in it.
– For five years I’ve signed my name as “Mom.”
– For five years people have often asked about how my child is doing before asking about me.
– For five years I’ve had the attention span of a goldfish
– For five years my pre-parenthood interests and concerns have seemed trivial.
– For five years I have tested the storage capacity of my cell phone with photos and videos of someone else.
– For five years each day my blood pressure has soared from frustration and my heart has swelled with love.
– For five years someone else’s sleep has dictated my own.
– For five years I have not been able to make a phone call, or answer a call, at any time I choose.
– For five years I have found experiences absolutely adorable, hilarious, and memorable that my childless self would have regarded as dull, disgusting, or inconsequential.
– For five years poop has been an acceptable and frequent topic of conversation.
– For five years I have had the most love-drenched, patience-testing, anxiety-inducing, exhausting, simultaneously unpredictable-yet-routine, absolutely most rewarding 24/7 no-days-off-ever job. And I adore it (even when I don’t.)
And, as a mother of three, this shocking realization surfaced:
– For six years I have been pregnant, nursing, pumping, or all three.
Motherhood… it changes you. For the better.