I will be turning (ahem) 40 this year. I’ve had a lot of friends who became mothers before me, which has been advantageous in a few ways:
- Great advice for filling out my baby registry (thanks Anne!)
- Loads of hand-me-down clothes and toys
- Tips and tricks for issues like calming fussiness and making your own baby food
- Models for how to let motherhood change – or not change – who you are.
The last bullet is the topic for today. Of the friends and acquaintances who have become mothers, the ones I’ve admired most are those who are a good mom AND the friend I enjoy being around. I went into motherhood with the drive to emulate those moms who are still themselves, and have added “Mom” to their resume. And not to emulate those moms who seem to have been swallowed whole by mommyhood.
If you have a lot of mom friends, you may know what I’m talking about. Women who, before babies, were interesting and multi-faceted. But after babies, they can only mutter on about Buttpaste and their toddler’s preferred Cheerio flavor. (Because I’m sure you’re dying to know, mine love cinnamon followed by honey nut.)
Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE being a mom. And as an educator, I could talk all the live-long day about developmental goals, academic growth, and cool phonics apps for my iPhone. But that’s not where these moms were driving the conversation. It was, honestly, Buttpaste and Cheerios. When confronted with a one-track mom, I would try in good faith to drive the conversation to something else. Anything else. These moms were adept at manipulating all talk back to their baby. Mommyhood had eaten them.
I can’t claim that I’m the same person I was pre-baby. I’m sometimes guilty of oversharing my glee at the boys’ new achievements, and I have a mommy blog, for God’s sake. But I’ve tried hard to embrace the things I’ve always enjoyed. Not only are they a relaxing outlet when I need a break, they make me better-rounded. One day my sweet boys will grow up and leave the nest. My empty-nest transition will be much less painful if I have hobbies of my own to keep me company.
I’ve forbidden both sons from ever living more than an hour from me, so I probably won’t need an interest in books or world events. But isn’t it nice to have a backup plan?