11 Things Parenting Destroys Your Will To Care About
Motherhood is hard. It requires a lot of a person and, as such, a person must prioritize. Since my own prioritizing efforts I've realized there's a hell of a lot of stuff that at one point in time seemed terribly important but, now that I've thought about it, no longer matter. In fact, there are so many things parenting destroys your will to care about... in my opinion, for the better.
It's not that motherhood has made me "give up." I don't think anyone can be a half-way engaged mother and be accused of having given up on anything at all. But above and beyond realizing things about your priorities, your priorities change once you have children. Hopefully motherhood isn't the first thing that's prompted this shift, either. Like, when I was 10, making sure I watched X-Men every Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. was extremely important. And that was perfectly reasonable! It wasn't frivolous because there wasn't anything more important that required my time or effort. I regret nothing!
But times changed and so did I and different things became important to me. Having kids didn't change me (at heart I've basically been the same person I've been since I was a toddler) but it did change my life and circumstances and, as a result, allowed me to realize that the following things were not anything I had time for:
My first child was born via C-section, so for the first few months postpartum I had to wear undies that didn't irritate my incision site. Let me tell you friends: once you wear underwear that hovers just below your belly button you never look back. It's like a comfy cotton cloud hugging your bottom.
And now, for the life of me, I cannot imagine why on Earth I cared so much about underwear. No one is seeing it, and if they have the honor and privilege of seeing it they're going to take what they're going to get (and it's probably not going to be on for too long anyway).
Whether My Child Wears A Jacket
I see this battle happen on playgrounds and in backyards everywhere I go: kid takes their jacket off, parent gets all bent out of shape about it, and a big and annoying argument ensues between the two. Honestly? Team Kid. I've stopped giving a damn whether mine wear their a hoodies. I mean, who knows whether they're cold (at least under typical circumstances that don't involve some sort of sensory processing issue)? The person in question or the person looking at them? It's not like they can't put on their jacket again if they get cold. And at that point you can give them a smug smile and a haughty, "Told you so." I cannot be bothered with this beyond that.
So this mainly started off as an issue of time management. When my kids were babies my showers generally couldn't be too long because, apparently, not holding them for more than six minutes or so was considered a war crime (at least judging from the way they would scream at me). So if I had to choose between shaving my pits and washing my hair, washing hair always won because most people didn't really catch a glimpse of my pits and after a while I just got used to being fuzzy.
But then, about a year ago, my son saw me shaving and when I explained what I was doing he gave me this incredulous and confused look, like "Why?" And I was like "OMG WHY?! HE'S RIGHT! THIS IS ABSURD! WHO CARES?! I'M A MAMMAL!" So now the IDGAF attitude toward shaving is a little more pointed. I still do it when I feel like it... but I usually don't feel like it, I'm not going to lie.
If You're Judging My Kids' Food
I used to be extremely self-conscious about how other people perceived how I was feeding my children. And it's not like I pumped them full of nothing but crap, but when other people were looking I was like, "OMG, does this snack have too much sugar? Salt? Should I lie and say it's organic even though I really don't actually care whether it's organic?"
But after years of feeding kids I realized that they're growing and healthy and their doctor is not concerned so what do I care if some random person I don't even know looks down on my kids' Goldfish crackers.
Feeling "Lazy" When I Get Time To Myself
In the early days of parenthood it was hard to get anything done, especially with my first because I was a new parent and didn't know WTF I was doing. And if that wasn't difficult enough, my son started walking at 8 months and did not literally stop ever. So any time I had three seconds to rub together I felt like I had to do something that I wouldn't have time to do otherwise.
As my kids got older and more self-sufficient, my own downtime increased, but I still felt like that time had to be productive or I was being lazy. Eventually I got the f*ck over that and, honestly, I've never been happier. I read for a couple hours this past Saturday. Hours. I never, ever thought I would be able to do that again and it was glorious.
The "Are Leggings Pants?" Debate
Whether they're "technically pants" or not is of absolutely no concern to me. It used to be. I used to have way-too-involved conversation of the validity of leggings as pants. But now, seriously, who cares? Who has the time or energy for philosophical debates about what even are pants? Wear leggings. Don't wear leggings. Just wear what makes you happy. I don't care (though I highly recommend wearing leggings because they're super comfortable).
How Much Caffeine I Drink In A Day
Is it good for me to drink as much coffee and tea as I do? Probably not. In the grand scheme of things can I be bothered to care? Not anymore. My day requires two cups of coffee in the morning, an afternoon tea, and a nighttime tea. I've accepted this as part of the working mom job description.
Look, when it comes to common living spaces, order is actually extremely important to me. Clutter makes me extremely anxious and I cannot happily function amid mess. Some people don't understand Marie Kondo, but I do! We are Tidiness Twins!
In a perfect world, my entire house is spotless. But the world is not perfect so my house is not spotless. There are only so many hours in a day and most of my hours are spoken for, either by my job or my children. So my philosophy over my kids' messes (because, let's face it, the messes are almost entirely theirs) is that if I can close the door and not look at it, I will not care about it until such a time when we have time to clean it together. This means their room is actual chaos. I don't care anymore. If I don't have to look at it except for a little while during bedtime then they can live in squalor if they want. Whatever sparks joy, yo.
Guilt For Leaving My Kids
They're going to be just fine.
I adore my children. I would kill and die for them. But I would also kill for a night of not being responsible for anyone but myself for a few damn hours. This makes me a better human and, in turn, a better mom. So what's there to feel guilty about? Not a damn thing.
When they were really little I would sob any time I left for an evening with friends because my kids would do this thing where they'd stand by my front window screaming "Mommy! Mommy!" But you know what happened as soon as I decided that I had nothing to feel bad about? They stopped doing it. I kid you not. My confidence made them confident and nowadays they practically shove me out the door.
I was really concerned for a while there about being a "cool mom." Like, I would be a mom, but I would still be cool.
Who even decides what's cool, though? Not giving a you-know-what about what other people think of you, or the fact that you spent your Saturday night watching cartoons, is pretty badass in my book.
Most Choices Other People Make For Their Kids
Everyone has lots of Important And Educated Opinions about how other people should raise children before they have kids of their own. I certainly did. I would get incredibly smug about hypothetical situations with which I had absolutely no experience whatsoever. And then I had kids and realized we're all trying our best because this parenting thing is really f*cking hard and every kid is different so it's rare that there's one right way of doing things.
There are limits on this one, though. You're not allowed to neglect your children, physically, emotionally, or medically, for example. But my threshold for what constitutes "negligent" behavior has absolutely changed from the days when I was like "No TV until college."