Before having kids, I didn’t even like kids.
When the nurse placed my first swaddled newborn on my chest right after I gave birth, I believe the first words out of my mouth to my husband were, “I am so screwed.” And I still feel that way. Because before kids I was pretty invulnerable.
I worried about things like being carjacked at the intersection of LaBrea and Pico Blvd. coming out of Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles (no biggie if I’ve got the takeout with me).
I worried about contracting cancer from the spirulina in my wheat-free, vegan ciabatta from Whole Foods.
I worried wearing g-strings might give me lady candida (just ask The Pussycat Dolls).
And while I also worried something bad might happen to my husband, nothing compared to the raw, savage worry that overwhelmed me when they put that first baby in my arms. Because nothing bad could ever happen to that little person.
Do you hear me, God? Nothing! Yes, I know I haven’t prayed since that time I begged you not to let the fireman break up with me. And I know you were right to not intervene because had I married him I would’ve come home from work after our nuptials to find six Geishas in bed with him. However, nothing bad can ever happen to this child!
When the nurse came in to tell me that they needed to prick my baby’s heel in order to test her for jaundice, it was all Henry could do to keep me from Hannibal Lecter-ing her tongue right out of her mouth. (By the way, my pristine child did not have jaundice. As if.)
So, here’s how kids change your life: the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. Before kids, my career was unfulfilling.
2. Before kids, I was vain.
After kids I’m vain. Wait. Oh. Well, maybe after grandchildren I won’t be vain anymore?
3. Before kids, I had feeling in my nipples.
After nursing two kids they no longer feel anything and are simply just for show.
4. Before kids, I cared what men thought of me.
After kids, I care what women think of me.
5. Before kids, I swore there would be no family bed.
After kids, every living creature in our house is in our bed by 5a.m..
6. Before kids, I wanted to be rich and famous.
After kids, I want to be financially secure and respected by my peers.
7. Before kids, I didn’t like kids.
After kids, I have to stop myself from sneaking up behind a mother with a newborn and trying to sniff a hit of baby scent off his head without detection.
8. Before kids, I loved my husband.
After kids, I’d take a bullet for him, because he’s the best father I’ve ever seen. He dances a rather embarrassing jig every time his girls kiss him goodnight. Which means maybe they won’t be attracted to philandering firemen when they grow up.
9. Before kids, I found myself amusing.
After kids, I’m my favorite comedian. The other night I taught Clare how to Ninja Slap, which is a Three Stooges type of, well… basically slapping someone (it’s really fun). But then she became better at Ninja Slapping than me (as my cheeks can attest) and when we both attempted to Ninja Slap my younger daughter, Bridget, we were shocked at how swiftly Bridget could Ninja Block, then Ninja Slap, then make Clare and me Ninja Cry.
10. Before kids, I was floating and directionless.
After kids, my life took on a deeper meaning. For 36 years I was my main responsibility. And I liked it like that way for approximately 34 of those years. I woke up on my 34th birthday inexplicably sick of myself. I was sick of thinking about how to fix myself. I was sick of trying to succeed. I was sick of my free time and sleeping in and never cooking.
And although there are plenty of ways parents learn how kids change your life, having two daughters 22 months apart derailed my ambitions and made me hungry, sleepy and scared, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Image via tumblr.com.
If you liked this story, read more like it on Yourtango.com:
I Was Firmly Anti-Kids Until An Unexpected Career Change Finally Changed My Mind
I Think I Would Be A Happier Person If I Never Had Kids
There’s No Rush: Science Says The Best Age To Have Kids Is After 35
Shannon is a relationship/life coach who helps clients escape or manage toxic relationships through her Asshat Recovery Program. Her relationship articles have been published in The Oprah Magazine and Soul Anatomy. She's also a regular contributor to HuffPo GPS-for-The-Soul, Healthy Living and Women's sections. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, HuffPo Live and NPR to name a few. Follow Shannon on Twitter and Facebook.