Before I ever entertained the idea of having a baby, I had determined that there were certain things about myself that I would never give up if I were to become a parent. Many of these thoughts occurred as a single person observing people I was determined never to become (often stereotypical or self-described Soccer Moms) and watching how some people changed once they had kids. Some things were tied to a sense of self that I did not want to lose in the process of becoming a mom.
The Basic Bitch of Moms
The stereotype of the “Soccer Mom,” popularized by politicians in the 90s and morphed now into the mom version of the “Basic Bitch,” had always been the paradigm I did not want to follow. What is so bad about the soccer mom, you ask? Well, nothing really, as I return to the concept as a more mature adult, but she is definitely not a badass, not in the classical sense, or selfish enough for my younger self.
I’m not anti-soccer mom by any means. Having just had a baby and been infused with the accompanying hormonal cocktail, I can see why it can be so easy to morph into this child-centric, PG being who really, to be fair, only wants what’s best for their child. Your hormones are just so in control that you can become obsessed with everything about them and think so much less about your own needs. The little buggers really do take over your brain in a way that you cannot imagine.
The thing is I just don’t want someone to ever look at me and think “there’s a soccer mom right there.” I do not want to be a soccer mom stereotype. I do not want a minivan, I do not want a short mom haircut, I do not want to live at Starbucks, and I do not want to wear mom jeans. I think that if I did become a soccer mom, as highly unlikely as that would be, it would mean that I have lost myself in this parenting business and I’m probably not taking enough time to nurture myself. So, how do you avoid the soccer mom moniker?
Think About How To Keep Your Identity Before You Lose It
I’m thankful for my preconceived notions because they allow me to navigate this new reality through the eyes of my biologically unaltered self and think about the person who will emerge on the other side of the trauma that is childbirth (traumatic, at least, in my opinion). It was important to me to keep my own identity, one that is not tied to being a mom, and making a conscious effort to maintain those aspects of life that have always been a part of me while developing the new mom part of me is key to staying true to myself.
Several months into this newborn endeavor, I’m hardly qualified to assess whether I have been successful yet, but I do want to take a minute to give myself a reality check about some aspects of my life that have already become more difficult in an effort to consciously keep them from slipping away.
Don’t Stop Traveling
I have always been an avid traveler, taking off on a whim, often by myself. The experience and knowledge you gain from travel is unmatchable and something I strongly want to provide for my baby. The featured picture above is from my visit to Abereiddy, Wales, from when I was pregnant, but before I knew I was.
Reality check: It has been difficult to even leave the house. Primarily, I wanted him to have his first round of vaccines under his belt before bringing him out in the world, but I also found myself being overprotective regarding the summer heat (he was born in May), sun exposure, and a number of other things. The thought of feeding and changing him on the road was pretty daunting as well. I have needed to loosen up or I would decidedly never go anywhere again.
Maintain Your Social Life
I do not want to become one of those people who can never go out and do anything with my friends because I have a baby. I know how it is. You invite people out repeatedly and they can say no only so many times before you give up on them altogether. I don’t want to be one of those people that my friends give up on.
Reality check: Breastfeeding puts a damper on how much time I can be out of the house, not to mention the lack of alcohol can make outings pretty lame. I’ve managed to make it out a few times due to the good graces of more-than-willing grandma babysitters, but I end up reaching my time limit when my boobs get rock hard and are ready to explode. Still, I’m powering through on this one. I’ve been out to a few punk shows and dinners within the first two months of having a baby, so I’m doing fairly well. I’m also trying to have things to talk about other than the baby because I know how boring that can be to friends without kids. I was really the worst about not wanting to hear that stuff pre-baby, so I’m pretty obligated to care when I’m around my baby-free friends.
Don’t Slack On Style
This one may be fairly superficial, but I am not one to sit around in sweatpants, I don’t like wearing flats, just heels, and I wear eyeliner every day. I do not want to get lazy with how I present myself because it really does affect how I feel about myself and it helps me stay motivated to achieve my exercise goals.
Reality check: My c-section scar continues to limit my wardrobe choices. Even just a pair of jeans rubs against it too much to feel comfortable, so flowy options are better for the foreseeable future. Easy access to the boobs is also a must. I’ve retired most of my maternity clothes, but my closet is not yet fully restored and I have been living in my flipflops when my toes won’t freeze off.
So I guess I’m doing okay on a few of my post-baby goals, but I still have a ways to go when it comes to really feeling myself. My c-section scar is getting more manageable as time goes on, and I keep trying to add new layers into my routine as I’m able, and that’s about the best that I can expect myself to accomplish.