I took a quick peak in the rear view mirror and yelled to Big Sis, “Keep your hands to yourself!” As she had both hands smack on each of The Twins faces.
At that moment I had an out of body experience. I was turning into a mom that used typical mom phrases. Where did those words come from? When did I become this person with these mom sentences that seemed to flow too simply off my tongue. And that tone. That was definitely a mom tone. [And why can I never spell the word definatelydefinitley definitely? Is that not the most difficult word in the dictionary?]
Anyway, I continued to drive in silence. Reflecting. Big Sis will turn 4 in September. I mean, that was a lot of time being a mom prior this eye opening experience. But before, it was like being a different mom. Being a mom with a baby is like being an older, more grown up version of yourself. Just with a baby (and it’s new tremendous responsibilities, but, that’s beside the point…). Babies are cute, fun, challenging, exhausting. But for me, I didn’t hear myself say or do weird new mom things with my first baby. I focused on the basics. Fed the baby, changed diapers, cuddled, played… All “mom” stuff for sure, however, nothing that created a traumatic out of body type experience.
The biggest change for me (and this will sound odd) was reading out loud and singing lullabies. Especially in play groups. You know, when caretakers and babies sit in a circle and sing tunes. Oh, this environment was so not for me. There is just never a good time you want to use or hear your own singing voice.
Unless of course you can hold a tune. That’s a totally different story. I would sing all day, everyday. To myself, to my kids, to others. I would force my amazing voice on everyone. Moms would hate me in play groups. But I wouldn’t care. I would take their child aside and sing them into a happy oblivion like we were in a Disney movie and I was the lead Princess role. But back to reality. I didn’t get that singing voice and I am no Disney Princess. So I continue to avoid these singing circles and my babies are stuck with listening to the best of Christmas carols. But I digress.
So completely mortified with what I was finding to be my new ‘typical’ mom identity has actually not been a new identity at all. I have been slipping into this mom role without even noticing for the past 3 almost 4 years. Some situations radiate this change more than others such as the…
Daily feeding a toddler food battle.
Some of you may already know that Big Sis is on some sort of food strike. I try to be understanding with her decision to stand up to her beliefs but I also weigh on the side of her living. And the way I display my love and desire for her to thrive healthfully is to get pissed off that she won’t eat and say things like, “If you don’t eat this then I will not give you anything for the rest of the day.” Doesn’t that compromise just emit love and compassion? It doesn’t matter anyway, Big Sis is never phased. She just happily says,“OK.”
At least we are in agreement about something. Ten minutes later I always obviously offer chips and chocolate milk. That she happily accepts.
Fibbing with love.
“You can’t have your binky anymore because the magical binky fairy is going to come retrieve them and deliver them to other babies all over the world.” That is in fact not a good lie fib. Big Sis was all like, “Well, I don’t want the other babies to have my binkies so the fairies can skip me.”
So then I tried to be real. “The dentist said that it’s time you get rid of the binky or else we risk orthopedic attention down the road and Daddy and I dont want to pay for that so…sorrrry.” And when she didn’t care for that response (or our savings account) I turned to scary even bigger lies fibs, “Your bottom teeth are broken and you can no longer have the binky.”
Who would have thought? This ended with a solid amount of time concerningly inspecting her teeth in the mirror which then swiftly moved her along to wanting to brush her teeth and then some non-teeth, non-binky additional distractions to follow. Binky diversion. The downfall is that she now tells people that her teeth are broken. But on the bright side, we have been cold turkey, binky free for a week now… that’s good, right?
Walking Snack Machine
All I have to say about this one is that if someone was to shake me down at random, small hidden toddler snacks, treasures and treats would fall off my body from all over the place. I would be standing in a puddle of ‘be quiet’ snacks, ‘please do this’ treats, ‘attention diversion’ cheese crackers… just to name a few.
Since having shined the light on my realizations I have been able to better accept the changes that have been occurring behind my blind eye. There is no turning back now. It’s time to own it.
So now I am working on my tone. I’ll modernize the “If you don’t do this then…” tone. So that it’s unique. I’ll be the cool, reinvented mom of disciple and decibel. OR, I wont be that at all. I’ll just be the mom that was born they day my first baby was born. And to be honest, this new (not so new) role hasn’t been the worst thing to have happened to me.
Now, go eat something or else I will bag up every morsel of food in your house, put it in the dumpster and open the gate of binky fairies that will steal all of your favorite things.
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Jessica Martineau is a mother of four girls. As well as an avid blogger, graphic designer, writer, and amazing wife. ;)