Ensprogged people often refer to how being a parent makes you A Better Person. Self-sacrificing. Nurturing, loving, wise, selfless. Calm even when covered in curdled milk. Your own needs become more like optional luxuries.
And so I had Progeny and eagerly awaited my transformation into A Better Person.
I’m devastated to report that hasn’t happened.
Quite the contrary. In fact, marinating in spew makes me kinda mean.
Now don’t get me wrong: I will do anything for my son. There is literally nothing in the world that will get me up in the middle of the night except addressing The Boo’s needs – or my side of the bed being on fire.
But basically, the rest of you can all go to hell. Because I’ve turned into the type of mother I swore I’d never be. I eat muesli in the car, adjust my jugs in public and stop my shopping trolley diagonally across the aisle because CAN’T YOU SEE I HAVE A CHILD I’M ENTITLED GODDAMMIT! I cut people off mid-sentence to gurgle at my son who – let’s face it – generally has no interest in me, being quite content conversing exclusively with his hands.
I turn on the windscreen wipers instead of indicating and have lost all spatial appreciation for my vehicle. Since I can’t seem to fit into the extra-wide ‘mummy moron’ parking space, I use up half the adjoining space for the disabled. (Really, I can’t see that manoeuvering a wheelchair is any more difficult than operating a carseat.)
So all things considered, having a child has made me more selfish – and also prone to burping instead of saying ‘thank you’, although that might have more to do with living in Oamaru. No, that’s not fair; most Oamaruvians have deliciously lovely manners which are far better than mine. (Except the bloke who tried to chat me up outside The Plunket Rooms when I was eight months pregnant, which was undoubtedly rude although – more likely – certifiably insane.)
I know less than nothing about raising children despite pretending to read various tomes on the subject, but it makes sense that the best way to teach your child is by example. With this in mind, I’ve been trying to treat Husband with kindness, consideration and above all respect.
I can’t BELIEVE how insanely difficult it is. Seriously, it has proved the biggest challenge of parenthood (also quitting swearing – but that’s another blog post). I never realized how appalling my manners are. Although I’m pretty sharp at expressing gratitude – whether verbally or intestinally – I’ve recently realized I never say ‘please’. I mean to, and always THINK it; but the word doesn’t complete the full round-trip.
I’m attempting to redress the issue but it’s still mechanical rather than innate. I’ll humbly request command Andrew to do something and then, after three or four seconds, remember to append the word ‘please’, which – by that stage – comes across sounding pointed and borderline aggressive.
At least having explained the situation to Andrew, he now just rolls his eyes instead of stamping off shouting “All right all RIGHT!”