How has being a mom changed me? This is something I reflected on this morning as I was pouring beer on my head. Yes, you read that right. It was a little bit of our stout brew that I swiped to use as conditioner. So, no, I don't just randomly stand around the house and pour beer on my head ... at least not usually.
I think most people probably think we're pretty odd as far as being parents go. Like somehow we haven't grown up and become the responsible adults, playing the role of good-parents like we ought to. Shannon, before he turned 5, told his 19 year old aunt how to properly do a jell-o shot (no, he has NEVER actually done one!). He also will comment on looking forward to going to school at the brewery. That one stems from us telling him about our plan to open a microbrewery and that he could go there during the day and be homeschooled there. If you're thinking of reporting us to Child Protective Services, chill out ~ this really isn't as awful as it all sounds.
So yea, we brew beer and teach our children how to as well (age appropriately and all that jazz). We have parties and tail-gate and don't hide it away from our kids either. There are some things they've witnessed in that light, a time or two when at least one of us has had too much to drink, that we regret ~ but if a parent is honest, I think this will apply across the board. All parents regret something. We learn from our gaffes though, and now there are "rules" we've set for ourselves regarding this. Tailgating at home is always ok, but we really watch ourselves on how much we drink, and set up "rules" to try to make sure we don't slip. I'm glad the kids see us having a good time. I think it is better to be honest than make it some hush-hush taboo thing that will only increase the excitement of them sneaking it later on in life.
A friend once told me that I had done a complete 180 from how I used to be, and family members have commented on how much I've changed since I've had kids as well. I think most of that is a bit silly really. Of course I've changed a lot to some degree. Duh. I'm no longer single, living alone, with only myself and my dog to look after. We own a house now, I have a husband, two kids, two dogs, two guinea pigs, 6 chickens, and so on. Of course things have changed. But really, they haven't.
This morning, as I was pouring beer on my head, I was also lamenting the tragedy of being out of Captain Morgan's. Also, I thought about Earth Day, and the Seed Swap our group Big Lick~Green Drinks, is hosting at Longwood Park. About how we need to plant dill this year, and wondering if I could go ahead and get some seeds started inside now. About how much Shannon helps out now in the mornings, and how we've been working on his writing skills. About needing to work with Tristan more on learning his colors, and encouraging him to talk and strengthen/lenghten his tongue. About making homemade turkey noodle soup for the first time last night, and how I hoped it helped stop our current colds. About needing to get some more homeopathic cold medicine. Those last thoughts led me back to lamenting about being out of rum.
Were these things I considered years ago? Not really. Should they have been? Not really. I've always had an interest in planting things, I've always hated littering, I'd always wanted to eat more organically and consciously. Did becoming a wife and mom suddenly change my ways? Yes and no. I don't go out to the bars at night, hoping to meet a cute guy ... I think Justin is probably grateful for that one! But I think a lot of the changes that have occured aren't specific to me as they're part of life. You don't party (or at least it isn't wise to) the night before a big test or a job interview.
I'm glad we haven't changed too much. I like it that we still party and have a good time. I love it that our kids get to hang out with us. We have told Shannon that he can cuss during football games (as we have no intentions of stopping, me particularly), but we've managed to get him to quit cussing in general for the most part. I love it that we've grown from drinking good beer to brewing our own beer, to planning our own brewery, and including our children in that process as well. I still wear the same clothes (aside from mama-weight-gain) I did before my kids, and I haven't quit dyeing my hair as my mood suits me.
Living eco-friendly, that is more of a journey than anything else. At first it was a desire that was ought of reach due to finances, then I had my laundry-detergent-epiphany, and our lives changed. Now, things are within much closer reach, not because of financial changes so much as by being able to use our noggins a little better. Our kids have helped us figure out the things that REALLY do matter to us, and therefore the next steps in our paths. Moms tend to put themselves on the bottom of their familial totem poles, so when you're thinking about your kids first, you tend to be much more conscious of your decisions and their impacts. This applies to our eco-lifestyle. Crap I have put in my body, and might have future weak-moments for, I try my absolute best to keep out of my kids' bodies.
At our cores though, we're still the same people. Actually, not just at our cores. We're still the same people we've always been. We've grown up and changed here and there, but we're still the same people. We're more responsible, but that is because we have more responsibilities.
I pity those who suddenly get married and have kids and really DO change who they are. Who suddenly need to rid themselves of values and ideals they had when they were younger, and who feel compelled to fit in to some standard of what a parent should look like, should act like. Who let their new, grown-up lives, their jobs, their materialistic trappings, their fears of not fitting in with the neighbors, and so on become cages.
I despise those who would think that because you haven't let the above happen to you, because you haven't become a Stepford Wife, with a husband who works a white-collar 9-5 job, "well-dressed" children who are clean at all times & quietly playing with their toys, never questioning and exploring, and with a yard that is without a weed but perfectly manicured and sprayed with chemicals and landscaping that looks like a catalog, that somehow you have failed. That is ridiculous!! Absurd! BALDERDASH!!!!
This morning I poured beer on my head for conditioner. I am wearing a very old Grateful Dead t-shirt with jeans and my Birks. My kids ate their organic cereals and are playing and fighting. Shannon let the dog back out after she ate her food. They have now just been told to start cleaning up some of their toys as it will be lunch-time soon, but I know well enough that toys will be everywhere anyway. Justin is at his job, but I'm dreaming of him being home and the day when him being at work will involve him being at the brewery. The chickens are fed, and have clean straw. The dogs have dug a new hole in the yard and I am cussing them, praying it doesn't kill a lavender plant they covered up. Hopefully we can get out there within a day or so to try to remedy it. Hopefully they won't destroy more.
I haven't changed, I've grown. I wish you the same. Don't lose your identity, but don't be afraid to grow as you're meant to either.