Posted in Blog, Family life, Featured, Just for you, Life as a mom, Shawna

The constant grown-up

A few years ago, right before T and I started trying for a baby of our own, I went to visit a friend who had recently given birth.

Actually, it was a whole group of us childless 20-somethings sprawled out on my friend’s patio drinking beer and feigning nonchalance at the tiny baby in our midst.

Noticing my friend’s mostly untouched Fat Tire, I pointed out to her that she could always “pump and dump” if she wanted to drink more.

I know. I’m cringing too. But this was a million years ago in mommy years, back before I was a grown-up.

My friend, good mother that she was (is!) pointed out that she was in charge of a very precious little human and that even if her milk could go suddenly sober, she couldn’t. That her getting a little tipsy would be off the table for a long, long while.

That was kind of a revelation to me at the time, that she now had to be a grown-up every second of every day.

Maybe I’m being sexist, or I’m out of touch with what goes on in other peoples’ houses, but it seems to me that being the mom means being the constant grown-up. The one who always stays sober, yes, but also insists the kids are wearing their life jackets, says no to going helmetless “just this once,” toes the line on when foods are introduced, is on constant alert near a pool or beach, cuts the hot dogs vertically, etc.. etc., etc.

It really is just like my mom complained back when I was a kid: My dad always got to be the fun one, and she always had to be the other one. (Thanks, mom! And dad!)

In our house, my husband is very involved with raising and caring for our kids. He notices when I’m zonked and picks up the slack. He’s willing to be the mean disciplinarian, too. And he’s a stickler for all the schedules and rules that we’ve set up. Sometimes, he’s the hardass. Especially when it comes to how many vertically cut hot dogs Q may eat in one day, an area where I am an admitted softie.

It’s nice that I get to be the good cop sometimes, something my mom never really got to do (my dad was really, really, really fun, though). But when it comes to being a constant grown-up, I definitely work the night shift, the swing shift and weekends.

My hubby sometimes stays out too late with his friends. He sometimes drinks a glass or two more scotch than he should (though he still wakes up and takes care of my toddler in the wee hours, God love him!).

When he’s off-duty, he’s wholly free. He’s not scanning the waterline “just in case,” he’s not checking in with the babysitter, he’s not policing the grandparents and he’s not watching the clock.

I know it’s partially my fault that I’m on duty all the time. I know I could lighten up a little bit. But the thing is, I can’t. Maybe someone else would step up and drive if I loosened the reins a little. But I think part of being a good mom is being the constant grown-up when our kids are tiny.There will be plenty of years to be a kid again when my kids are grown (or at least potty-trained).

I do disagree with my friend on one thing, though. I’m a nursing mama, and I drink the whole Fat Tire. You gotta live a little.

 

 

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  1. Oh, so true! Well said. I think this shift to constant grown-uppery is what’s been hardest for me to adjust to since becoming a parent

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