How Being a Mother Taught Me To Keep My Mouth ShutRebecca Odes
But really, this is nothing.
Before I had kids, I was a professional confessionalist. I blabbed inappropriately about myself in a wide range of media. Often to critical acclaim. I painted confrontational self portraits and wrote baldly autobiographical songs. I made comics about embarrassing adolescent evenings.
I even blabbed about blabbing about myself. Really: I released an EP named Me and My Big Mouth. And co-created an online game called Brain Filter: In the game, embarrassing pieces of information kept popping out of the mouth. The object was to try to stuff them back in. You couldn’t win.
I became a mother around the same time I started hearing the word “blog” to describe writing about yourself on the internet.
I found myself strangely uninterested, despite my history of multimedia self-expression. I think something happened to me when I became a parent. I grew a brain filter. It doesn’t work so well a lot of the time; I still blurt out things I wish I hadn’t in front of my kids. And no matter how careful I am, being a writer pretty much ensures some brain filter failures will be archived for eternity. This may be one of them.
But now that I’m a mom, I find myself doing something I was never able to do before: occasionally catching the words before they make their way out of my mouth. Often, it’s simple things. For example: I love parmesan cheese, but not in the morning. In the morning, the smell of parmesan cheese reminds me of vomit. I thought about mentioning this to my son on the way to school today when he was talking about foods that remind him of throw-up. But as I was about to add my piece, I stopped myself. Why give him a reason not to like parmesan cheese?
It’s part of the maternal protective instinct, I guess, realizing that it’s important to watch what you say when there are children who might hear it. I’m still a lot less good at verbal self control than I’d like to be. But give me a little time—my brain filter is still a baby.
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