How Being a Mom Changes You (For the Better)
Why we end up new and improved after we have kids
Trying to do better
You understand, of course, what a terrible irony this is: There I was, making resolutions about trying to live my life in a better, saner, healthier way at the same moment that my infant was plunging me into the hormonally inflected chaos that is life with a new baby. I am not sure it was really the moment for good resolutions.
I wanted an orderly home, for one. It felt all wrong to me to see a baby living like a graduate student. You know, parents sleeping on a futon that gets folded up into a couch in the morning, books spilling out of the cinder-blocks-and-board bookcases. Of course, when my first baby was born, my husband and I were graduate students. But I wanted desperately to outgrow my habits, my apartment, and my budget -- and until I could, I wanted to keep what we did have perfectly tended. Instead, the mess got worse and worse, as the baby paraphernalia mixed in with our books and our piles of papers. We're not graduate students anymore, and we have real bookcases now, but my domesticity is no more orderly than it ever was.
My attempts to eat more healthfully haven't fared much better. And, unfortunately, this is a resolution that only gets more complicated and competitive as time goes on. Somewhere, there is the mother who has looked at another mother's playground snacks and said something spiteful about their glycemic index. (Shame on you, and may your child be the one caught sneaking Mallomars into the sugar-free preschool!)
But we all know, don't we, that if we want our children to grow up enjoying healthy food, we need to enjoy it ourselves. It's from watching Mom and Dad eagerly munching on broccoli that children get the idea that vegetables are yummy. No fair dishing out the all-organic, chemical-free pureed fruits, and then calling out for a pepperoni pizza as soon as the nursery light is off.
I have made this we-will-all-eat-healthy-food resolution so many times that I may be in the running for a lifetime nonachievement award. And still, something in me wants to say that as of the first of the month, it's going to be all farmers-market produce and whole-grain goodness here -- and the terrible thing is, some little part of me believes it.