In my last post I wrote about the things I hate doing but do for my kid because of, you know, the love. Here’s the list of things I loved doing in my former child-free life but have given up since reproducing.
1. Drinking my Weight in Diet Coke. In my single life, artificial sweetener was a food group for me. I had such a hard core Diet Coke addiction that I would go through fast food drive-thrus multiple times a day for my aspartame fix. I worried that friends would see the mountain of empty fast food cups in my car and worry that I ate nothing but greasy hamburgers and tacos, when in reality it was the cold, icy beverages that lured me to those drive-thru windows. And when I would go to a restaurant and order a Diet Coke and the server asked, “Is Diet Pepsi okay?” I’d scoff, as if to say, “What an absurd question, you peasant!” and then reluctantly order an iced tea. Truth be told, I kicked this habit during my pregnancy (I have no idea how; only by the grace of God), but I picked it right up again after Hailey was born. And it grew and grew to the point that I would text Josh when he left work to ask him to “get me something to drink” on his way home. I had a problem of 12-step proportions! (I kid. Addiction is nothing to make light of.) A while back, we had to have the dreaded talk with Hailey about giving up her pacifier. She had depended on it since infancy and long past the time when most children toss the pacis, and it soothed her like nothing else. The thought of losing it was quite distressing for her. So we prepared her for the “big day” with lots of pep talks about how we sometimes had to give up things we loved. All the while, I thought, “Jeez, I’m lecturing a 3-year-old about pacifier dependence and I can’t even give up Diet Coke.” So Hailey gave up her binky and I gave up Diet Coke and we both never looked back, although, every now and then a Diet Coke commercial will send a trickle of drool down my chin.
2. Criticizing Myself. I don’t necessarily love doing this, but I’m damn good at it. As the oldest child of three, I was an over-achiever. Though age has mellowed me out, I still set unrealistic expectations for myself and then beat myself up when I fall short, which is all the time. As a mom, I constantly have to check myself because much as I love my kid, dote on my kid, help her to become independent and responsible and teach her to love herself, I’m still going to fuck things up good if she has a mom who’s mean to herself.
3. Swearing. Anyone who reads this blog knows I can be both elegant with language and vulgar with language, and I like that about myself. I do have a line that I won’t cross, but, in general, I enjoy peppering my speech with a few healthy, traditional curse words. The other night, I settled my dogs into their beds, patted them on the heads, then said, “Goodnight, mother fuckers.” Do normal people communicate with their pets like this? I wondered. Of course, now that we have Hailey I save my curse words for the witching hours of the night and for my writing, especially since she told me “damn it” is her favorite word. The apple doesn’t fall far, I suppose.
4. Spending. When I was single and childless, I might as well have signed my paychecks over to Nordstrom and Amazon. Just, here ya go. If I had $600 spending money at the end of the month, I would have spent $599 of it on shoes, clothes, books, makeup, travel, bar tabs and/or restaurants. Now you’d be amazed how far I can push the elastic on an old pair of underwear before I have to buy a new pair or how many holes I can get in a pair of jeans and still consider them wearable. I know moms are supposed to treat themselves, and I do. But it’s just more fun for me to spend my money on cute clothes for Hailey than cute clothes for me. I don’t think moms should be walking around in yoga pants all the time, but I’ll gladly buy the Havianas flip flops over the Tory Burch sandals these days.
5. Winning. I have a competitive streak and a need to win that has been known to alienate friends and loved ones. I’ve been overheard saying, “Losing is for suckers.” In one of my uglier moments that I am not proud of, I made a 7-year-old girl cry in a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. This was at my daughter’s first birthday party, and we haven’t seen those friends since then. Now that I have a kid, I know you’re supposed to dial down the competitiveness and let them win to boost their self confidence, and mostly I do. Sometimes, I forget myself though. The other day, Hailey, her Papa and I were at the arcade playing one of those shoot-the-water-in-the-boat racing games and my ghost of winners past overcame me and I just propelled my boat to the finish line and didn’t look back. I was about to turn to my opponents and say, “Suck it, losers!” when I remembered my opponents were my daughter and my dad. We played again and I let Hailey win that time. This item on the list has a bit of a learning curve. Also, I realize this is not one of my more lovable qualities. God bless the people who love me in spite of this.
What are some things you loved but gave up for your kiddos?