There is something beautifully shameless about taking my one year old out on a Saturday night in Palm Springs. A friend having an engagement party at a nice restaurant says it’s OK to bring Baby, so I do. I reject the urge to feel awkward. Baby refuses his afternoon nap, and becomes a tiny mess of a human just before we leave. Should I can the whole thing? Do not give up. For a moment, I’m emotionally exhausted from his unmet needs I can’t figure out. But I attempt “quiet time” for Baby while getting myself dressed. I must move forward. After installing the car seat and hoofing our clunky stroller into the trunk, I choose to disregard the layer of dust on the car. Drive to the party spot and park a couple blocks away to avoid the valet, and to prime the child with a little walk.
Eeking the stroller between diners, their dogs, and tennis courts, I find the elevator. We are making it! I see an uneven set of stairs- and tuck the stroller off to the side of an empty dining room. Where will I put my 21 pound child?
Balancing my 90th percentile baby in my hypertrophied left arm, I cradle a glass of wine in my other hand. I chat with acquaintances, and attempt a greasy pork dumpling. Grease runs down the back of my hand, but no matter. I am a super hero, and things like this don’t bother me now. (If it can be wiped away to the point that it is not visible, it no longer exists.) Somewhere between the child, the glass of wine, and heels in the grass, someone says, “Wow, that’s impressive.”
I did not realize what I’d become used to was impressive, and feel a ray of pride for moms everywhere, who do two- handed tasks with one hand all day. In small ways, motherhood has been a surprise pedestal I didn’t know I could stand on. I was afraid of motherhood- with the trappings, limitations, judgments, expectations and cliches that came along with it. Some women go from pregnancy to pregnancy because of the attention they receive from society, as though they are placed on a pedestal for carrying forth new life. Now I wonder- 1 year in- does this special treatment continue through motherhood? I now have a ‘who cares?’ philosophy about a handful of things, which makes me feel a bit invincible. I can prioritize like a mother… I can leave the house without makeup.
I’m being called beautiful by people for the first time, as a mom. Maybe my heart and face are open now. People want to talk to me, who never did before.
Has motherhood surprised you? What’s the best Mom compliment you have received?
The path can be riddled with failures, even if you're doing it right. In this recording, I share some of my gaffes with you.