Becoming a Mom

Posted on | September 1, 2012 | 7 Comments

When J was about four months old, I took him with me to a UNC Alumni function at a sports bar.  At one point during the game, he spit his pacifier out and it bounced out of the stroller and down onto the dirty floor of the bar. I immediately picked it up, handed it to J’s father and he went to the restroom to scald off the diseases in the bathroom sink.

One of the older men at the function looked over at me and then over at his wife; they both smiled.  With a kind voice he leaned over and patted my hand as I tried to soothe my paci-less child.

“First baby?” He asked, and I nodded.  His wife’s eyes twinkled as she nodded alongside her husband.

“We figured,” she smiled, leaning in to coo at my son.  “First babies always get the bathroom water.”

I smiled politely as they told me that as he got older, things would change, and then let their words fall right out the other ear.  Surely I would never do the things they were talking about! Surely my child would remain pristine and germ free! Clean a pacifier or a bottle nipple with my own saliva or the back of my shirt? Unsanitary!! Wipe his bottom with paper towels from the bathroom dispenser? How crass! I was a MOTHER, dammit!

I was brainwashed by all the baby books and baby websites and warning labels on everything.  I was so concerned about sterilization, bumper-less cribs, bottle warmers, wipes warmers, Baby Einstein toys, classical music.  Everything had to be perfect; everything needed to be pristine.

Because raising a baby is hard work.  Raising a baby is about not taking short cuts. Raising a baby is about sterilizing the damn pacifier every time it hits the side edge of the table. Right? It has to be done RIGHT.

Then little by little, the new mother smell wore off my brain and my body.  Little by little, I put away the tools and toys that were never used, put away the dust-covered sterilizer and useless bottle warmer.  I laughed at the wipes warmer sitting unused on a corner of the top shelf in the nursery closet, and at the rows of child-sized hangers still shrink wrapped with newness. I started to wipe the crumbs off the high chair with the back of my hand and not the baby-safe cleaner. I rinsed sippy cups out in cold faucet water and reused them; I misplaced the organic cotton towels for bathtime. I quit being ashamed of my disposable diapers, my failure to give J an amazing “first word”, my inability to get him to sleep “by the book.”

And then the other day, my now three year old dropped his pacifier out on the pavement of a gas station parking lot.  I sighed deeply, leaned over and picked it up.  I popped it in my mouth, sucked it for a moment or two and then spit the foul griminess of asphalt back out onto the ground.  I handed it back to J and he popped it in his mouth. And that was not the first time.  And that will not be the last time.

Because now I’m more than a mother… I’m a mom.

Unsanitary, unapologetic, and unabashedly unashamed of my inability to do things perfectly.

Because, really?  who has the time to be perfect when you’re busy being a mom.


7 Responses to “Becoming a Mom”

  1. MaconMom
    September 1st, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    Love this! It didn’t take me long to get there. Hahaha!
    Too much other stuff!

  2. Stephanie
    September 1st, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    Been th3rr done that and gotten the condescending stares at my extra big three year old still having a paci! Love your blog!

  3. Melisa S.
    September 2nd, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    I got there pretty quickly…and what’s worse? With a second child you don’t even blink about these things!

  4. Angie
    September 3rd, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

    That is my new favorite quote, “Who has the time to be perfect when you are busy being a mother.”. I needed that reminder today. I am struggling with adjusting to a new job after almost 12 years at my old one. It has only been a month but I hate it and how it has made me feel even more guilt for being a working mom. I put to much pressure on myself in a new job and need to lay off and just do my best. And not feel guilty if I need to leave a few minutes early because of my kids.

  5. Jillian
    September 3rd, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

    This is such a great post! I can identify with everything you said. I’m saving this post to read again when I need a little reminder that it’s OK to let go of all of that, and that being a mom is really all I need to do.

  6. Jamie Maddox
    September 4th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Love it!! I have definitely used my own mouth as a “cleaner” for my kids’ pacis! :o)

  7. miss ohkay
    September 6th, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    I love this post! Just what I needed to hear today.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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