The moment you announce that the free ride is over, that this parasite had better get out of your uterus, a tiny tyrant emerges, and you wonder if you might possibly cram it back inside, just to secure a few more moments of sanity and solitude.
This wee, adorable creature demands all of your time, attention, energy, and soul. There is nothing and no one else that matters as much. This is why cherished friendships shrivel, marriages are raked over the coals, and newish parents become unbearable. You are suddenly up at all hours of the day and night. You cannot finish a sentence or focus on anything uttered by an adult. Worst of all, the things you smirked and said you would never do, you see and hear yourself doing without apology.
A little shame, perhaps, but no apology.
The boundaries blend. It is not possible to distinguish where you end and where the child begins. You anticipate their needs, and punish yourself when you can’t identify or remedy a discomfort. They are the center of your universe.
And they grow.
Imagine that you are beside yourself because you are stuck playing Barbies yet again. Each minute stretches into an eternity. You can feel yourself devolving, while politically astute essays you composed in a past life unwrite themselves in your head. You parade a stupid piece of malformed plastic around, babbling the required perky gibberish–all while secretly wondering, “what is the meaning of my life?”
And then, the very next time the Barbies come out from under the bed, just as you are mentally muttering obscenities, your daughter turns to you, and from her lips come the most surprising news.
“Mom.” Accompanying eyeroll. “We are playing in here. Please shut the door.”
A lump forms in your throat. You were already gearing up to feel resentful for the next 45 minutes. What are you supposed to do now?