A few weeks ago, a visiting friend, who only knew me during my Ed the Artist days in Los Angeles, asked me if my life has changed now that I am a mother. I’ve always hated this question, and more importantly, I’ve always had a strong disdain for those women and men who look at you out of the corner of their eyes and half-whisper, “Ever since my child was born, my life has changed completely. You really wouldn’t understand.”
For the majority of my adult existence, my primary life concerns have been my hair, my rent and whether or not Bella would be a good dog if I left her in the house through the wee hours of the morning. There never was the possibility that I could even remotely relate to the Life Changing World of Motherhood for the obvious reasons: I had no kid, no over-sized, ugly bag filled with wipes and child paraphernalia, and I was overindulged with time. To the parented, I was considered blessed. To those without children, I was normal, almost boring.
My life clumsily followed ahead in this somewhat superficial world until two years when I inherited a five-and-half-year-old and, ever since, I’ve had the privilege of test driving motherhood and family life each month for twelve non-consecutive days.
Preschoolers are the ideal starter kids, practically autonomous yet they still idolize, so despite tantrums and the redundant use of the word “no”, my tiptoeing into motherhood was easy as pie. Mini e and I would have the typical profound conversations about everything from policemen to polenta as well as playing the annoying situational games such as princess, fairy or mice. If I were to summarize my schizophrenic life alternating between All about Me and Family of Three, I’d say it was not entirely too hard organizing my time around organizing the time of a child.
That sentiment has evaporated now that I have a baby. Where as I can just wipe mini E’s face, make sure I have an ATM card and rush out the door, with baby, I prepare the Mary Poppins-esque bag, fuss over clothing that may or may not look stylish with the ever unstylish Baby Bjorn, cry over my only two pairs of sensible shoes, which are never cute enough, only to find that it is time to feed, change or sleep so plans are never followed through. Ironically, I am just as late as I was before all the trappings of motherhood.
So yes, my life has changed. Maybe. When I think about it, I realize that I am doing exactly what I have done before, but with a baby and taking just a bit longer to do so. I have an innate desire to color coordinate, this time its my clothing with my baby’s. I am still relentlessly pursuing banal information like finding the best stroller/pram for the cobblestones and small doorways of Rome (I stroll with the vintage Peg Perego). At the end or start of the day, I am planning and gossiping: wicked playdates and boytalk with second graders usually. And I still sit around building things to tear just down. All of this with my eight-month-old best friend in my arms.
In my opinion, the main life change is that I can no longer carry a clutch handbag.