I don’t believe Jennifer Lizza.
You might know Jennifer as author of the blog Outsmarted Mommy. She’s cornered by two sons and a husband. Even a dude like me knows it takes more than three boys to outsmart a mom. I suspect a ploy to set up a sneak attack.
There’s nothing sneaky about Jennifer’s blog, though.
It all started with a letter to her boys. She tossed away life in corporate America for a life of slippers, finger paint and exceptional writing. Motherhood Mondays examine aspects of being a mom, and J-Liz also has a funny side. Really, it’s called My Funny Side.
Today, she’s here to tell about what she’s lost as a mother.
No, not her religion or innocence, although those are at risk, too, for parents. You’ll see what I’m talking about. Give her a warm welcome on the CD. And don’t forget to get those kid-taken selfies in for the contest by Friday. We have only two contestants so far!
The Five Things I’ve Lost As a Mother
There are certain situations in life that people say you won’t understand until you do it. You know, like scuba diving. You know that it requires you to dive down deep into the ocean to experience beautiful sea life up close and personal but you may not know that you are going to have a full on panic attack once you get down there and think HOLY CRAP SHARKS LIVE HERE…that is until you do it. How about running a marathon? Sure you know it requires you to run 26.2 miles (seriously on your feet) but you may not realize just how mentally and physically challenging it actually is until you get to mile 14 and want to call a taxi. Parenthood is certainly one of those situations. I thought I knew exactly what I was in for until I realized I didn’t.
Just like anything rewarding in life you have to lose some things along the way to reap the benefits. When I became a mom I realized there would be some things in my life that would change, I don’t think however that I realized I would change. I’m in my 6th year of this motherhood journey and I can tell you that I’ve lost some things along the way and I’m not sure that I will ever get them back. Here are the top five:
- Vanity. It’s gone. I used to be a woman who would have delayed a work
meeting because when I woke up the power was out and I was unable to blow dry my hair. (Yes this actually happened). I would have never skipped my weekly manicure. My hair was always highlighted and cut and my clothes were perfectly put together. Two weeks into motherhood I realized that woman was long gone. I was lucky if my hair was washed let alone blow dried. My boys are five and two now and I can tell you I sport a pony tail, no makeup and workout gear 6 out of 7 days of the week. There’s just no time for vanity when you’re a mother. The kids needs come first and as long as I don’t look like a bum I’m doing alright.
- Sanity. I’m not insane all the time, but life as a mother can be super busy and stressful. It’s a big juggling act and there are times that my boys seem to be running the circus.
- A perfectly clean and organized house. Before I had children my friends often
teased me and called me Monica Gellar. For all of you non Friends fans her character was a complete neat freak. I’ve always been someone who likes things in their place. I like my floors gleaming and my laundry immediately folded and put away. I often look around my house at night after the boys are in bed and think to myself holy crap my old self would have slapped my new self. Don’t get me wrong I still clean, fold laundry and scrub toilets but I have let go of the idea of my house looking like the cover of the latest Home & Garden magazine. It’s just not happening. When you have kids it seems like only one or two rooms are actually clean and organized at a time. Fingerprints magically appear on everything and laundry multiplies while you sleep. It’s a constant uphill battle.
- Silence. I’ve lost the silence in my house. I’ve lost the silence in my brain. There is
no longer quiet time. There is no such thing as time to reflect. There is constant kid chatter, questions, whining, fighting, & laughter. When the quiet comes it’s because my exhausted brain has shut down for the night and gone to sleep.
- Naivety. I’ve lost my naivety about the world. I used to only see the good in everyone and everything. Something changes when you have children though. It’s like this protective force of nature that tells you to open your eyes and your ears and see the world for what it is so you can protect them.
I can tell you though while I’ve lost some things I’ve gained so much more. Motherhood gives you great perspective on yourself and on life. I’m perfectly content without makeup. I don’t need to be in control all the time. Sanity is overrated. My house is not going to appear on the next Hoarders so I’m doing alright. Silence doesn’t work for me anymore. My husband took the kids out one day to give me a break and I sat for a minute in my empty, silent house. I could hear the refrigerator running. All I could think was wow I miss the laughter. Silence is lonely. The sound of my family is home to me. As for my naivety, I’m okay with the fact that I lost that. I am not okay allowing my boys to lose it just yet. Naivety and innocence are their right as kids. In order for them to have their innocence I had to lose some of mine. Motherhood is about give and take. I give them my love and they take it, but wow the love they pay me back with is nothing short of amazing.
Before having children Jennifer thought being a stay at home mom would be a walk in the park. Now that she’s doing it she realizes it’s more like a run in a zoo (without cages for the animals). She traded in her salary for sloppy kisses, corporate lunches for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and sales meetings for finger painting sessions. Her two boys outsmart her on a daily basis although in her defense it could be the lack of sleep. She writes to stay sane on her blog Outsmarted Mommy and has been featured on Mamapedia, Scary Mommy and iVillage Australia. She is also a contributor for Felicity Huffman’s What The Flicka? Her children are not the least bit impressed they just want to know what’s for dinner. You can follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.
Love it. So true so many things go out the door as a parent, but it just reminds us how unnecessary most of these things are in the scheme of things. Although personally I will admit a clean house has never been my strength…
Thanks Holly. We have to lose some things to gain some things and it really is so worth it isn’t it. 🙂
Absolutely worth it!
We sometimes worry about what we missed out in youth or in older age, but we really should think about what we’d miss out on in parenthood if we weren’t wrapped up in it.
Yes, my priorities have shifted so much in my 18 months of parenthood. So many things that used to be important are not worth the energy to even think about now
I love the way you see it – that those things aren’t worth the energy anymore. My favorite hobby and interest is fatherhood; there are other things, but they are secondary. Important, but secondary.
Yes! Exactly 🙂
I’d say it’s a pretty good trade.
We prefer the “lived in” look for a house.
Love that. Better than my bomb exploded style of decorating 😉
Make no mistake – it often looks like Baghdad around here.
I love this! It is so very, very true. I think it’s the silence that I miss the most~
Thank you Lisa. I miss the silence sometimes too but one day we will get it back again and I bet we won’t like it as much as we thought we would. Although a hot cup of coffee in peace and quiet would be fantastic every now and then!
Peace and quiet and a cool rum and Coke just makes me wonder what the kids are really into right then.
With kids around, silence is just a bad sign of something bad going on …
What a wonderful post… felt like I was reading my inner most thoughts! I call it “a journey into insane voluntary simplicity”. 🙂 But it is also freeing… A few days ago, my sister looked at my hair (that has been in a pony tail for going on 4 years now) and said “you have grey hairs!”… 5 years ago, that comment would have sent me into deep depression. But a few days ago, it made me giggle…
Thank you! I am with you on the hair thing. A pony tail is my best look and greys are joining me by the day. A few years ago I would have went into a panic over it now I just look at it as par for the course. 🙂
At least you have your hair.
I consider gray hairs (and wrinkles and stooped shoulders) a badge of parenthood.
Well said! 🙂
We can skip the stooped shoulders, though. Good posture and all.
Totally lost all of these, especially that first one. I actually got my nails done the day before I was induced with my first. I now do my own nails when I can find a quiet moment, usually once the kids are asleep, but that is few and far between!! 🙂
Janine my nails look like they went through a chipper on a daily basis. I remember getting my both a manicure and pedicure before my first was born because no way was I going to allow someone to see my feet without one. When I had my second I’m lucky if I had shaved legs for the delivery. It’s laughable isn’t it? 🙂
It is totally laughable and the same as you, because by the second it was like, “What legs?” And definitely even forget they needed to be shaved!!
I can’t even imagine shaving my legs. Not even once.
What happens for kid No. 3?
You should just do one nail a day, Janine.
I’m not a mom but I definitely have seen these changes in my sister. She has 9 and 11 year old girls. She may have lost the things mentioned above but I think she has gained so much more just you said.
I can say unequivocally that the portions of me I lost when I became a dad were paid back to me tenfold as a dad.
I can’t imagine anything better!
Oh how I miss the silence!!! And you’re right, it’s internal as much as external—even when my son’s quiet my brain isn’t!
Mom brain stays in overdrive, doesn’t it? Dad brain shuts down 45 minutes after our biggest meal of the day – or the bottom of the ninth, whichever comes last.
Sanity is overrated. Amen, mama. There is incredible beauty in the crazy. And now that I’m in the thick of it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything lost. The gains tip the scale, so bring on the noise & insanity!
I think sanity and tranquility would drive a parent crazy, wouldn’t it Nicole?
Tranquilty usually means something bad is about to go down!
Never trust the silence.
I was nodding all through your post. So well put!
I have one more item to add to your list: sleep. You probably didn’t mention it because you can’t remember what it is.
You’ve got one or two rooms that are clean and organized at a time? You rock!
Two rooms, all at once, sounds so unreasonable.
So good! But I have to admit that my kids would have to be on fire before I’d give up makeup. But we all have different priorities. When the kids were little my house did look like an episode of hoarders. LOL
But when kids get bigger, they get bigger things … that’s the problem we have.
This is so pathetic but tonight I just wanted to be alone with my mosquito bites. I wanted a dark, quiet room so I could feel sorry for myself and/or scratch my mosquito bites.
Who knew I’d miss something so terrible, in my loud and bright life with kids?
Nothing a tube of calamine lotion and a bag from the bakery wouldn’t remedy.
Sanity…. oh sanity… I’m not sure if I miss my sanity more… or if my husband does…
It’s best when the whole house is loony, Jess.
That would help. He seems to be holding tighter to his sanity than I was able to hold to mine. I bet when the three girls discover boys that’ll end it for him though!
I’m living that now – and that’s when dad has to keep his head on straight more than ever!
Every single word is so true. Even for me as a working mother, I’ve probably lost myself somewhere. LOL. But I’m slowly finding myself back although that doesn’t change the fact that I still go out without makeup and I only keep one room organized during busy days.
Does one silverware drawer count as an organized room? Because then I’d be all over it.
I don’t know that I’ve ever read a post that nails it quite like this one does. I relate to every.single.point. This is easily the hardest “job” I have ever had. They pay stinks but the benefits….well, they’re pretty good 🙂
It’s like better than working at Google – ok, the free food makes that a false statement, but it’s true otherwise, kinda.
Eli so nice to come here and see Jennifer, who I adore!! I love this piece and agree with everything. Especially my vanity, that went away the day I had my son 15 years ago. I do hope it starts to creep back in though! Thanks for a wonderful post!
Don’t you know, Kathy?
1. There’s nothing prettier (or more gorgeous or hotter, pick your adjective) than a mom.
2. We did this here just for you, Jennifer and me.
Love this post, Jennifer and love seeing you here on Coach Daddy. About the vanity thing: I cannot believe how I have been going out in public lately. Oh my goodness! Just praying no one from my past life (we had past lives, right?) sees me. The messes and the noise. They are enough to drive me to drink. That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask you if you want to meet for a glass of wine. 😉 Then we can turn the tables and talk about all the things we’ve found since becoming moms.
Can I come and just tape it? I’ll transpose the conversation and post it for mankind. I’ll take out all the F words and everything.