By: Brandy Black
I hardly remember the days of freedom when tiny fingers weren’t tugging the tip of my shirt, requesting my attention, kissing my nose, wanting me. Sometimes I miss those days. Everything was white and crisp. I was free and wasted time on extravagances. I painted my nails and watched old movies. I stayed up late and sometimes spent dawn till noon in bed with my wife. The life of a couple without child certainly has its perks.
Yesterday, I woke to poop. I was exhausted. I convinced our 3-year-old to cuddle in bed and instead got little feet in my eyes, pushing their weight back and forth. I had a big day ahead of me: ballet-check; play-date-check: nap-let’s stop there. I needed her to nap. I had to get ready for the long-awaited preschool Gala. This was unlike many parties for us in that we actually got to dress up for the theme: “Prohibition”. Getting ready for a date, let alone a party, is quite a feat with a child. These days are planned meticulously so that time will allow me to look like a wife and not a mom. The nap is needed so when it doesn’t happen, you can imagine my dismay. Grumpy child, distracted mother, messy house, the list goes on. I just want to look presentable and if I’m lucky maybe even pretty. I remember when I first realized that having a child meant caring just a little bit less. At weddings Sophia would pull at me and pop the top button of my dress exposing my large milk-filled boobs to a table of people. At baby showers she would yank my hair making it impossible for me to care anymore if it was perfectly in place. I admired the moms that looked beautiful and calm, how did they do it? How is it that when I leave the house, I’m lucky not to have something on my face or in my hair? I always feel disheveled. Gone are the days of long soaking tubs, smelling good, feeling sexy and most important –confident.
Finally almost ready for the party last night, I actually did feel good –make-up on, slip on, hair done, a big sigh of relief. Sophia hollered from the other room for me and I swooped her up into my arms, she wrapped her legs around my waist and suddenly I felt wet. Yep, pee all over my pink slip! I frantically put her down and now she was screaming, me pulling off my clothes, then her clothes. What a mess!
Let’s face it, I’m a mother and with this comes the challenges of finding my inner confidence and realizing I can only do my best even if that means chipped nails, the smell of pee on the only slip that matches my dress for the evening and curls that fall of out of my hair before the sitter even arrives.
We raced out of the house so fast last night. I don’t know if we even said good-bye. I was afraid our daughter would have another screaming fit or spill something on us or the dog would rip my dress with his adorable little claws. In the car ride over to the event I felt silly for caring so much, for wanting so badly to be anything other than who I am. But once I stood, cocktail in hand, chatting with a mom who explained that she left her toddler screaming in the sitter’s arms while she dodged out to get dressed at a friend’s house, I realized: we are all fighting the same battle, changing our ways, and letting go of the way we were.