NEW CASTLE — For the first 25 years of my life I was the opposite of a planner. I was a procrastinator, flying by the seat of my adolescent skinny jeans, impulsive and often irrational. If I were going to go somewhere, I decided 20 minutes before. I decided to move to New York City in April of 2007 and moved in May of 2007. I have never been one to “sit on” ideas or thoughts for very long. Even my wedding, one of the most important days of my life, was planned in 6 weeks.
So, I am finding it increasingly more unusual that nowadays I cannot even go to Wal-Mart without planning it ahead of time. I suppose the addition of children to the equation is likely the main reason for this huge shift in my life, but my impulsive tendencies have been stifled in other ways as well.
Things that I would have given almost no thought to 10 years ago now seem to hassle my brain more than ever and seemingly insignificant occurrences cause me much duress.
Case in point: A haircut.
I always had my hair short, short hair and short nails. However, when I became pregnant with my first daughter I stopped biting my nails and started growing my hair. Anyone that has ever been pregnant knows that your hair grows about 7 feet per trimester during pregnancy, so by the time my due date rolled around I looked like a slightly stylish distant relative of Gomez Adams.
Fast forward one year. I went in for a trim and cut 26 inches off of my hair. After all, radical changes to my physical appearance were never a problem. I had a meltdown. As I watched my curly tresses it the floor of the salon I felt like crying. That was the moment I realized how much motherhood had changed me.
Fair enough, you may be thinking. Hair is kind of a big part of a person’s identity.
But, it doesn’t end with the hair.
I can no longer just pick up a box of cereal at the store. It has to be the PERFECT one. I have to consider the ounces, the sugar, the mess it will make when my toddler crushes it beneath her feet. I can’t just get any cereal, it has to be right.
I also find myself picking out my church clothes the night before, planning birthday dinners MONTHS before and writing things like “paint my toenails, “wash my hair,” “feed the cats,” and “return the Redbox” on my calendar.
It probably sounds crazy that I need to set aside time to paint my nails if I want them to be painted or wash my hair, and years ago I would have thought the same thing. But, somehow the hours of the day fly by, enveloped in routine and habit and unless I allot the 10 minutes for shampooing and conditioning, it just cannot occur.
Some mornings I look in the mirror and wonder, “Who are you?” And with that comes a shattering realization: I am my mother.
I am now doing all of the things that I deemed to be ridiculous when I was growing up.
My criticisms of her non-impulsive, fastidious behavior are coming back to haunt me.
Ahhh, the circle of life.