I would have loved to have known my mother before she had kids. I am more curious now then ever to know what she was like when she was a teenager. When you’re a child, it’s hard to see your mother as anything more than a mom. As far as you knew, she had always been one.
Now that I myself am a mother, I see things differently. I can take my past and present and see the huge changes that took place in my life after my children came along. I’ve also learned that the same thing goes for most parents.
Before my husband and I had children, we would get together at night and watch shows like “Friends” and “CSI.” Now we find ourselves watching “Kim Possible” long after the kids have been asleep.
After work in the evening, we would occasionally get together with friends and have dinner. Now, he gets together with his friends in the evenings or on weekends. I meet up with mine at the playground for play dates.
Before I had children, I thought daytime television consisted of mainly soap operas and talk shows. Now I have not only learned that TV is full of a variety of children’s programs, but I can also list them by title and channel.
When telemarketers called my house, I wouldn’t hesitate to hang up on them. Now I find myself talking to them, desperate for adult conversation. I also know the names of 90 percent of Wal-Mart cashiers, as well as the names of their children.
When I do actually get the chance to meet with my friends and get a break from the children, I find that our conversations consist of what Big Bird and Snuffalupugus did on “Sesame Street” that morning and what new shows are coming to Nickelodeon.
Instead of a quick pleasant trip to the grocery store, I now find myself doing my best to pull along two buggies. I consider myself as doing well if I make it out of there within two hours.
I can remember a time when I could just up and leave at the last minute for an appointment, allowing myself only the time it takes to get there. Now the 10-minute rule runs my life. For every child I have, I have to add 10 minutes to the time it’s going to take for me to actually arrive on time for an appointment.
It’s amazing how many things in my life have changed, and it happened so gradually that I didn’t even notice it. I think the day I realized that I was no longer a young adult, but a mother, was the day I went out with friends. They had no children and were still accustomed to a free lifestyle.
I found that I had nothing to talk about — that I was pretty much as far out of the circle as a person could get. It wasn’t that I didn’t like those things anymore. I still enjoy doing the things I used to do. But I don’t have a common link with my friends that don’t have children.
I would never had believed my mother if she told me that I would actually enjoy watching “Blue’s Clues” and prefer staying home instead of going out. She couldn’t have convinced me that I would once again be playing with Barbie’s and Legos.
Even if I did believe that all these changes would take effect, she wouldn’t have been able to make me believe that I would actually enjoy them. I find it hard to believe that Chutes and Ladders is once again my favorite game and that the sandbox is one of my favorite ways to pass time.
The changes that took place when I had my children might have been hard to accept at first, but now I’m getting used to them. I’ve grown to like the new me and couldn’t picture myself doing anything other been being a mother.
Tanya Nave, who lives in Kensington, is a wife, mother and writer. She can be reached at email@example.com