Before becoming a mom at age 36, I spent a good two decades taking notes on the kind of mom I definitely did not want to be. I even went so far as to watch other parents with their children and play out in my head exactly how I would handle situations differently. For example, when I saw unruly children on the subway I would imagine how I would ensure that my fictitious future children would sit quietly on the train because we would practice at home by playing a train game.
Ha! Cut to my life as a mom now: Our current behavior goals are to not stand on the sink or push down friends. Sitting quietly is downright impossible.
I cringe thinking about the amount of time I spent judging moms in action as opposed to offering a look of compassion. I’m eating my words now.
Here’s a list of all of the moms I said I’ve never become, yet already have:
1. The “yelling” mom.
I’m not a yeller so this one should have been easy. However, my voice creeps louder and louder in volume as I say things like “You HAVE to hold hands when we cross the street” and “Stop jumping on your sister’s head!”
2. The “bribing with candy” mom.
I was sure that my children wouldn’t even know what candy was until they reached school age. The fact that in desperate times I not only give them candy, but I also use it as a reward is … unhealthy to say the least. Nonetheless, somehow words fly out of my mouth like “Let me put your eye-drops in and I’ll give you candy.”
3. The “out of diapers at 4am” mom.
I’m a planner. Or, so I thought I was. I expected to have diaper purchasing down to a science with dates on my calendar and records of deals and sales. So, the first time I bought diapers at a gas station in the middle of the night was a humbling experience.
4. The “I don’t want to stay home with my sick kid” mom.
Isn’t cuddling and coddling a sick little one the essence of parenting? Shouldn’t I rush to my sick child’s side with a mind and heart singularly focused only on their well being? Eh. Most of the time, my daughters’ sick days aren’t serious — like the times they’ve had pink eye or an understood rash. Staying home when I should be at work on these days is much more conflicting than I expected.
5. The “running over strangers with my stroller (and barely apologizing)” mom.
I really had no idea how difficult the stroller thing is. Most of the time, I’m actually trying to get from point A to point B and the number of obstacles, especially in older cities like New York, is daunting. Between stairs, heavy doors, aisles that are too narrow … I’m almost always annoyed and stressed when pushing the stroller. Add to it a crowd of people standing around? Watch out.
6. The “my kid is hitting your kid and I just shrug” mom.
I spend all day correcting and redirecting my toddlers. When they finally have free play time I want to give them (and myself) some space. I’m tired of hearing my own voice all day and I bet my girls are too. So when one of my daughters is climbing the wrong way up the slide and another is bonking a kid over the head, it’s a tough call deciding which way to go. I’m apt to go to the slide.
7. The “my babysitter is my best friend” mom.
In my 20s, I had many nanny friends which added up to a lot of gossiping about moms. One common theme was how lonely the moms were and how often they relied on the nannies for company and friendship. I thought this was very sad. My perspective has totally changed now. I’m super grateful for the friendship I have with our babysitter, who is more of a presence in my life than most of my other good friends.