You know that game “Never Have I Ever”? The one you probably last played in college? Part embarrassing, part hilarious, it goes a little like this: A partygoer says something like, “Never have I ever been late on my rent,” and everyone else has to fess up, too. (OK, so usually the admission is a bit more scandalous, but just go with me.) If you’ve been late on the rent, you take a drink; if you haven’t, you sit this round out. Then the next person in the circle chimes in with another scenario: “Never have I ever been arrested,” they say. And the criminals have to take a swig. (Is this ringing any bells?)
Well lately, I’ve been thinking what that same game would look like for moms. Life changes a lot after kids enter the picture — in all sorts of lovely (and not-so-lovely) ways. For instance, before I became a mom, I would have been able to say …
Never have I ever … had a crush on a cartoon character.
Nevertheless, a girl can only watch so much Curious George before she starts to see the appeal of the Man with the Yellow Hat. He’s educated, employed, owns a city apartment AND a country house, loves to travel, and isn’t afraid of strong women (I see you, Professor Wiseman). Not to mention, he practically invented the capsule wardrobe, so there’s that.
Never have I ever … had such a dangerously foggy mind.
Pregnancy brain is real. Mom brain is worse. What are my craziest mom-brain moments? Well, there’s the time I forgot to put the green beans in the microwave and ran it empty, thus breaking the microwave. There’s the time I was on a walk with my daughter when a cat crossed our path and promptly ran up a tree, causing my brain to scream in a panic, “CATS CAN CLIMB TREES?!?!?” (It took me about 5 terror-filled seconds to realize I already knew this and had seen it happen 100 times.) And who can forget the time I almost burned the house down twice in the same day trying to heat up (not cook — heat up) frozen meatballs and cocktail weenies for Super Bowl Sunday 2015?
Never have I ever … chosen a spot for dinner based on its noise level.
Let’s face it, the louder the restaurant is, the better it is for kids. Your little hellions (I mean angels) won’t raise as many eyebrows if there’s already a lot of action going on, so whether they’re eating the free crayons, propping their feet up on the table, or trashing the salad bar like Shia LeBouf’s hotel room, diversion is your new best friend. I recommend a Mexican restaurant with an in-house mariachi band for those nights when you just can’t face the idea of spending another evening at home. Plus, margaritas.
Never have I ever … feared dying from sleep deprivation.
Let’s be clear: 30-something mom-tired is way different than 20-something college-student-tired. I remember getting to the end of each semester and thinking, “It’s cool; I’ll just stay jacked up on Mountain Dew to get through finals week and then go home, collapse, and sleep for two days straight.” With parenting, “finals week” is nothing short of five years long. That’s 260 finals weeks in a row, with no chance to come down from the chaos and crash. There isn’t enough caffeine in the world to cover that. You just have to make friends with the feeling of being tired.
Never have I ever … been so sure I was screwing it all up and getting it all right at the same time.
The emotions inspired by motherhood are so intense I sometimes feel bipolar. I go from “I hate doing crafts, I’m a terrible person” to “my daughter is safe and knows she’s loved, that’s all the really matters” in a matter of seconds. I think both might be true, but I’m not sure. It’s a good thing I have close friends who are grounded and a husband who is as cool as a cucumber to help keep me on more of an even keel!
Never have I ever … held someone’s hands while they pooped.
#Motherhood: ‘Nuff said.