I was walking through the mall today when I caught a glance of my reflection in one of the store windows. I’ll admit – it was a bit shocking at first. There I was in all my parenting glory. I was pushing a double stroller with a six year old trailing behind. I was in capris pants, a T-shirt, and athletic shoes. The only thing that would have screamed “I’m a parent” louder than my look today would have been for me to have jumped up on a bench and told people my birth stories.
As a parent, you reach that point when there is no going back. There is no denying that you are a little bit older and a lot more mom. Here are just a few examples of moments like these – moments where you know…you are a parent.
Your trips to the dermatologist are redundant given that your toddler is an expert at spotting and alerting you (and everyone else) to any and all blemishes and irregularities on your skin.
You are pretty confident that you would die without the woman who dyes your hair.
You used to calculate your cardio workout time based only on activities that were thirty minutes or more of a solid workout. Now, when you walk upstairs carrying laundry, you’re pretty sure that you’ve gotten your workout in for the day.
When someone makes a joke about “doing the deed,” you are slightly confused and wonder if they are talking about running an errand or doing the laundry.
You find yourself standing on the playground and wondering if it’s true that you burn calories by chewing gum.
Despite the fact you used to struggle with insomnia, you can now go from awake to deep REM sleep in less than five minutes. You can emerge from that sleep in less than a second if one of your kids cries out in the night.
Your swimsuit has a skirt on it.
A trip to the grocery store or to the gynecologist counts as “me time.”
Despite the fact that you wear earplugs to block out your husband’s snoring, you can hear the slightest peep from your children down the hall.
You see the group of people looking at your new minivan and you think, “That’s right, bitches. That’s my new ride.” And…the latter is thought with pride…not embarrassment.
“The Hunger Games” are something played out in your kitchen around 5pm – not a hot hit teen movie.
You realize for the first time that the pool you attend is segregated – the bikinis are all on the lounge chairs sunbathing, and the skirts are all in the kiddie pool.
You see an advertisement outside a gym that says, “Real women can wear spandex,” so you pull down your pants and show them your Spanx.
Someone tells you how embarrassing their doctor’s appointment was, and you flash back to the teaching hospital where the five doctors, two nurses, and twenty medical students watched you give birth.
You only consider vacation spots with character themes or babysitting services.
Your child says, “I love you mommy,” and you have one of those moments of utter fulfillment and of knowing exactly what matters most in life.
That moment is broken by your other child shouting from the bathroom, “Mommy, the toilet water is waterfalling on the floor!”
You know that while motherhood isn’t all sunshine and roses, it is full of sunny smiles and hand-picked dandelions, and that’s pretty special, too.
Shannon Hembree is a stay-at-home mom of a first grader and twin toddlers. You may see her in the mall in her mom outfit. If you do, don’t show her an advertisement that says, “Real Women Can Wear Spandex.” If you’re not following her in the mall (which she doesn’t recommend…because that would be kind of creepy…and she was a Tae Bo Ninja…in her 20s), you can follow her on Twitter @Shannon1Hembree.