Motherhood sheds light on an earlier life

In my early 20s, I had a friend who lived in a studio cottage in a gardener’s backyard. I loved his little house, and when he announced that he was moving out to travel, I begged him to introduce me to his landlord. That’s how I got my beloved two-room cottage.

The living room/mini-kitchen was light-filled with a view of the gardens. But the bedroom, and this was key, had no windows whatever. It might be high noon outside, but in that room it was ALWAYS midnight.

Back then I was playing bass in a minimalist alt-pop band (picture The Cure, but all-girl instead of all-boy). Anyway, my friends and I often got home, after playing or watching each other play, around 3 a.m. And we’d still be amped up on adrenaline, so sleeping often occurred after dawn. There were times when I’d stumble out of that black hole of a bedroom and look out my windows at the gorgeous flowers glimmering in the moonlight. I’d have entirely missed the day.

What’s this got to do with being a mommy? Nothing! And that’s my point.

I love that there are all kinds of mommies: artists, musicians, executives, professors, entrepreneurs, students and just anyone you can think of. But let’s face it, mommyhood doesn’t exactly lend itself to sleeping through whole days.

Recently, a friend of mine made a confession. He totally hates giving his three children baths. So one bath night, he quickly got up after dinner and started doing the dishes (which he doesn’t totally hate). His wife fell for his wicked plan and administered the baths. And now he feels guilty.

OK, I get it. It’s maybe an eensy-bit manipulative. But as selfishness goes, I say it’s a pretty weak showing. I mean, stumbling out of the parenting time-warp and looking … squinting … back at those pre-child years shines a bright light on just how much kids really do change everything.