Ah, new and expectant mother parking. It’s popping up in parking lots across America – especially grocery stores. But what defines a new mom? Is it for people with a baby who is six months and younger? Younger than a year old? Toddlers?
Although I have nearly nine months of experience being a mom under my belt, not all my questions are answered. Is putting my baby to sleep in her crib every night really better than sleeping with her on my chest? Is 8:00 PM an early enough bedtime for an eight-month-old? Where is her hair?
Even though Reila goes everywhere with me, I never park in those new mom spots. I feel like I’ve got it down now and those spots are reserved for moms who are a bit more discombobulated. You know the type. They drop one thing after another, knock store displays over with their diaper bags and absentmindedly leave their child in the cart that’s now rolling away while checking their phone or loading their trunk full of groceries.
I choose to park far away, close to one of those cart corrals so I can leave quickly once I’m through loading the trunk and getting Reila strapped into her car seat. People look at me funny when I make the long trek in and out of the building. Long walks are something I enjoy and carrying Reila is easier than the backpacks I lugged through high school. It builds character. My wrists hurt from De Quervain’s tenosynovitis – something no one warned me about – but otherwise, I’ve been making gains.
Reila doesn’t want to ride in the cart, anyway. We’re going through the eight-month separation anxiety phase where she’s starting to realize she is an individual entity, separate from me – and she’s not happy about it. She used to be a daddy’s girl. Now it’s mum-mum, mum-mum, mum-mum all the time. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Family and friends are always asking what her first word was. Well, it was “dada.” Rei says “Dada” all day while Spence is at work, and she calls me “Edna.” I don’t know why. She just does – unless she really wants something. Then she cries, “Mamamamamamamamamamama,” until she’s satisfied.
Currently, Reila’s pastimes include grabbing everything she can, putting said things in her mouth, pushing buttons, smacking her lips and making the “ca” sound in the form of a half-cough to communicate with animals – mostly dogs because there are 10 of them in our nuclear Kansas City family. Hank Hill was right: “Babies are weird.”
I don’t know what’s in store today – if anything. Although, I will be enjoying the Merlot my neighbor gave me as a Mother’s Day gift once Reila goes to sleep tonight. Mother’s Day is a silly holiday. Stupid, dare I say. Once you’re a mom, every day is mommy day.
It’s not a job you can clock in and out of or quit when the pressure gets too high. Motherhood is an all-day, everyday responsibility that’s often mistaken as ego – and I am so glad to finally be part of this sisterhood. I’m not going to get sappy, but I’m also incredibly thankful for the creative ladies who raised and influenced me. And, of course, to Spencer’s mom for raising such a trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave and reverent man. Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Looking back at the past nine months makes me happy. Being a mom is a blessing and I believe it makes strong, efficient women. Regardless of what’s in store today, two things are for sure: diapers will be changed and I’ll get to whip my boobs out wherever I am to feed my hungry babe.