Here in the parenthood, things are a little bit different. Let’s start with matters of personal hygiene:
First, you may willingly catch projectile vomit in your hands, because washing your hands is easier than cleaning vomit out of the carpet. I’ve done this on multiple occasions including on my birthday.
You will certainly allow your child to wipe his or her bodily fluids on your clothing. And then you’ll wear said clothing out of the house, sometimes multiple days in a row, and regardless of whether you remember the goop is there.
And poop, previously one of the most disgusting things you could encounter, becomes, well, less of a big deal. Yes, you wash your hands if they get poop on them, but you don’t run screaming from the room or scrub your hands with bleach.
Showering without an audience may become a luxury. And you may be called upon to give impromptu anatomy lessons to your young audience members. The different means of urination of different family members may be a particularly popular topic.
Here in the parenthood, your pop-culture knowledge will suddenly make you feel incredibly old and yet totally up-to-date. For instance, you will know the theme song to most of the currently popular children’s tv shows better than your own wedding song. However, you will recognize only a few artists on any music award show (including the ones receiving some sort of lifetime achievement award).
And while you may try to continue listening to your favorite rap songs while driving the children around town somehow the cursing and misogyny will become more apparent and less tolerable and you’ll end up switching to kid music (I highly recommend the band Play date, btw).
In terms of technology, you may (often) forget to charge your own phone but you will never, ever forget to charge the kids’ iPad. Particularly if you have both an infant and an older child, the iPad will be an invaluable means of accomplishing important daily tasks such as: dressing your child, feeding your child, and distracting your child so it doesn’t harm your infant.
While it may be necessary at times, try to limit giving your child access to your phone. I guarantee he or she will do something totally strange and/or embarrassing with it within a matter of minutes (e.g., change your keyboard to the Cyrillic alphabet or post nonsense to your Facebook account).
As for your health, getting a workout in will be tough, but you can sometimes manage by sacrificing other things like sleep or your lunch hour. However, regardless of your attempts to stay fit and healthy, you will be so very sick, horrendously sick, sick all the time, sicker than you’ve ever been in your entire life.
When I was pregnant with our twins and my oldest was in daycare, I contracted laryngitis, a respiratory infection, and a sinus infection all within the first trimester. And of course I couldn’t take any real drugs to make me feel better because, you know, babies. Stupid netti pot is dead to me. Bring on the amoxicillin.
Functional over fashionable is also a major trend in the parenthood. For instance, I didn’t cut my hair for nearly 10 months during my second pregnancy (even though long hair doesn’t really suit me) because, duh, ponytail. My ratio of sweatpants to jeans increased astronomically. And makeup was simply a non-starter until I went back to work. Even now, it might be optional on mornings when we are running late, except I need it to distract from the sleep-deprivation consequences to my face. I swear, I never really looked my age until I had kids. Now, there’s no question I’m closer to 40 than 30.
Speaking of functional, I’ve been considering LASIK lately because glasses are just one more thing to forget as I’m rushing to leave the house, but apparently they are good eye protection (seriously, look it up, most common parental injury is scratched cornea; see also concussion and broken nose). Thankfully my oldest now reminds me to find both my glasses and my keys whenever we are preparing to leave the house. Apparently, the three-year-old already has a better memory than I do.
Residents of the parenthood are often over-caffeinated, but not at our house. My husband gave up caffeine years ago; I gave it up for pregnancy and nursing and have yet to go back full-time, mostly because I already feel like I’m having a heart attack most mornings. I love coffee but it’s just not worth it (at least not yet).
I have a similar relationship with wine right now. It calls to me daily, particularly during the witching hour, but the consequences of having to get up in the middle of the night after drinking a couple glasses of wine is just not worth it (at least not yet).
In the parenthood the division of household chores becomes key to the survival of your marriage because there is SO MUCH MORE to do. The laundry, OMG, don’t even get me started. Plus grocery shopping and Target runs. Not to mention the occasional vacuuming to keep dog hair from becoming your baby’s first solid food. You’ve got to divide and conquer that shit. Otherwise, no sex. Seriously, I mean it. Nothing is more of a turn off than having to do all that stuff plus childcare all by yourself. And going to the grocery store plus doing a load of laundry? That is damn sexy.
Speaking of sex, in the parenthood things are a bit less spontaneous and may need to go a whole lot more quickly. Not a lot of time for getting in the mood and not many places in the house the kids can’t storm into at any given moment. After the kids are in bed is probably the safest time, but by then you’re likely to be exhausted and also having sex then requires sacrificing precious, precious sleep time.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The parenthood is not a totally bleak, sexless, unhygienic, unfashionable, Jay-z free place. There’s always nap time (unless you’ve got a bad napper, in which case, well, they have to move out eventually, I think).