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Mommy Dealbreakers

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There’s so much I didn’t know about becoming a mom. I swear, had someone given me even a clue about the some of the things parenting requires, I just might have said, “No deal, that’s for the birds, and do I look like a bird? Hell, no.” Alas, I am stuck with a few deals I would never have made.

They include:

Public Restrooms

Before my son was born, I absolutely never ventured into a public restroom. I trained myself to hold my urine for long periods of time, as was the practice of my auntie, who also disliked public restrooms. The few times I had to go to a public restroom as a child, I recall my aunt using paper towels to handle the door knobs and the sink handles. She’d cover the toilet seat with three or four seat covers, all the while reminding me not to touch anything with my hands. By the time I was 10, I was a pro at holding my urine until I was home or in a place comfortable enough for me to sit on the toilet.

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Now, no matter what I do in preparation for being out of the house for any period of time my son always, always, has to go to the public restroom. Each time, I lose my mind just a little. “Seriously, we just used the bathroom ten minutes ago at home, and you have to go again?” I ask. “Yes,” he answers as he anxiously shakes his head and holds his penis. What is it with little boys? I think because they can go anywhere they simply make no effort to build their hold-it-till-you-get-home muscle.

Keeping him from touching anything is virtually impossible. “Don’t touch the seat, Zion,” I say, holding my breath. “Why?” he asks. “It’s dirty,” I answer. “Why?” Trying not to faint, I do my best to rush him and get us out while I’m still upright.

You’re as happy as your saddest child.

Emotional Interdependence

You’re as happy as your saddest child. It never occurred to me that my emotions would be so plugged into my son’s moods. When he’s grumpy, I’m grumpy, and desperately trying to fix what’s bothering him. I want him to be happy at all times—that way I can relax. Okay, it might be, perhaps I’m a bit premenopausal and desperately trying to control my own very widely swinging moods. But it doesn’t help that my 6-year-old and I have conflicting mood rhythms. What’s his excuse? Had I known that being an older parent of a young child would interfere with my hormonal changes, I might have reconsidered. I wish someone had told me.

Sleep

In all honesty, everyone told me that becoming a new parent goes hand in hand with sleep deprivation. But, as I mentioned, my son is now 6. What no one told me is that even when my son is at his father’s home, safe and secure, I still cannot sleep the way I did before I was a mom. It’s as if he and I have the same internal clock, and when he wakes up, I wake up. When he turns over, I turn over. When he’s having a difficult time falling asleep . . . well, you get the picture. Last year during Spring Break my son stayed the entire week with his father, and finally, on the last evening before he returned home, I was able to get a good night’s rest. This is coming from someone who could once sleep standing up or in the middle of crowded and noisy room. Those were the good ol’ days.

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I’m beginning to wonder if there’s some pill I can take for one or all of these mommy deal breakers. But deal breakers or not, it’s too late now, so I guess the kid stays—and I will just have to figure it out or get over it. But for those of you considering becoming a mom, you have been warned.

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