I remember it vividly. Two weeks after giving birth I visited my in laws where my father in law looked at me, smiled and said “finally out of your sweat pants eh?”. I didn’t take it personally (little did he know they were safely tucked away in my diaper bag), but it did make me question whether being a mom now meant that I had to live up to a certain image of what a mother should look and act like. Was I now supposed to stock up on cardigans while dressing up my baby girl in pink frocks because frankly I prefer both of us in jeans and a t-shirt?
Come to think of it, Mommy Image didn’t just start post-baby but pre-baby I was listening to women contemplate things like what diaper bag to buy or what colour theme to choose for the infant’s room. Laboured discussions on the type of baby shower one wanted were actual topics of conversation. I usually sat back in awe listening (I’m not exactly the go-to person for insights on baby bedding or invitation designs. When you’re a sucker for practicality no one really wants to hear your opinion). I remember visiting Toys “R” Us with my husband to start a registry, 15 minutes after coasting through the high chair options I texted my sister in laws and asked them if they could do it for me. Somehow I still ended up with a state of the art, super complicated play pen the presence of which riddled me with anxiety every time I walked past it.
It’s really not easy ignoring the baby propaganda that slaps you in the face as soon as the stick turns blue…Instagram photos of the perfect baby bassinet, Pinterest moms educating you on how to plan the best toddler birthday party (apparently Duncan Hines accompanied by a few friends and family just isn’t enough anymore). But put aside the superficial aspects of becoming a mom, as soon as you have a baby people start telling you about how life is now only about the kids. I mean, why should one cease to exist after procreating? Can we not take a day off and put the LOs in daycare so we can get a massage and catch up on our sleep? Have we not earned the right to put ourselves first once in a while without feeling like we’ve broken some golden rule of being the perfect mummy? In what seems like the era of helicopter parenting our kids could use a little bit of, for lack of better words, neglect. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no better feeling than that of your baby girl running into your arms at the end of the day but, on the rare occasion, I wouldn’t mind if it were a gin and tonic on the receiving end of that hug.
As Christmas approaches and we are bombarded with images of mom in the kitchen baking and decorating gingerbread houses, don’t be afraid to let your kids have their way with a tube of Pillsbury cookie dough while you sip on some eggnog ;).