Friday, January 23, 2009

Mommy magnetism

My brother and his wife are expecting their first baby this week. He was actually due on Wednesday, so they’re past expecting and now just hanging on, waiting for labor to kick in. They are, of course, excited, and anxious, and joyous, and freaking out. In fact, here’s the lead-off line of an email I got from my brother last week:

“Holy freaking out! I feel like the death row prisoner after he already had his last meal. Well, probably not quite that scared. “

It’s all a mystery. It’s all brand new. It’s all about to begin.

I remember it, sort of. Well in all honesty, maybe not so much, because once the baby actually arrives, once you go from expecting mother to actual mother, your life is never the same. And after a few short weeks (days? hours?), it’s hard to really recall what it felt like before the baby burst into the light of day.

Because it becomes apparent pretty quickly that your baby is drawn to you like a, like a, well, for lack of a better image, like a magnet. It’s your smell, the way you walk, the sound of your voice. I mean, he's spent his life up until this point inside of you. How’s that for close?

Here’s the thing, this magnetism doesn’t go away. Sure, they wean, they get bigger, they mature, but they are still freakishly attracted to you. I know this will probably change when puberty hits, or perhaps earlier, but my oldest is seven and there are no signs that she is giving up her mommy jones.

“Can you get me dressed?” she asks almost every morning. Wtf? She’s seven!!!

Of course it’s not that she can’t get herself dressed, it’s just she gets all that extra mommy attention if I do help her get dressed.

In my experience there are certain circumstances when mommy magnetism is at its strongest. Wiki states that “The overall strength of a magnet is measured by its 'magnetic moment.'"
Cooking dinner most definitely qualifies as a magnetic moment. You are irresistible when you have something in the microwave, two burners going on the stove, and are cutting up a kiwi. Your children can’t stay away. There they are, bumping into your thighs, jumping rope behind you, wanting to know just how hot the pan with boiling water actually is.

An even more magnetic moment is when you step into the shower. My children’s need for me is overwhelming when I’m in the shower, not the moment before, or after I step out to towel off, but when I’m fully immersed, enjoying the hot water running down my back. Of course, their need for me when I’m in the shower is sometimes so intense that one or both of them strip down and jump in with me. In which case I’m forced to begrudgingly lovingly share the precious hot water with them.

In my household, the very most magnetic moment of all is when I'm on the phone. It does not matter if my children are upstairs in my bedroom in the far upper north corner of the house, and I’m down in the kitchen, in the far lower south side of the house. The attraction is irresistible. They are next to me within mere seconds, and what they have to say to me is SO important that it cannot wait. “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY!!” they utter with ever increasing volume and energy. It’s exasperating, and I rarely keep my composure.

I love my girls, and I love being a mom -- don’t get me wrong -- but no one really tells you before they’re born just how captivating you’ll be to them, just how mesmerizing your kids will find you. Just how much they long to crawl in bed with you every night.

So dear sister-in-law, godspeed and good luck, and please remember that it’s okay to hide in the closet to talk on the phone, to make a strict no-kids-in-the-kitchen-while-I’m-making-dinner rule, and to wait until he’s fast asleep to take that really, really, long, hot shower that you will so deserve each and every day.


Pickles and Dimes said...

I'm glad you mentioned the phone. I remember my parents getting SO exasperated whenever I "needed" to talk to them while they were on the phone. It wasn't even intentional either.

Anonymous said...

Can you believe you ever felt that way--that you wanted me around every minute!!
Love, Mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Great post, Beth. When I started reading about your first examples, I was thinking "and ugh, the PHONE!"

One time I was in the shower and my kids burst in to show and tell me that the boy was bleeding. I asked: "Did you guys run past a man on the couch on your way in here? He's your dad, I'll introduce you after I rinse the soap out of my eyes"

Oh and please tell the mother of your soon-to-be nephew that showering "each and every day" is strictly optional for the next 2-18 years.


ps: Hi Pat! When are you moving out here?

foolery said...

This was a laugh-out-loud (at work, better not) moment:

"Did you guys run past a man on the couch on your way in here? He's your dad, I'll introduce you after I rinse the soap out of my eyes"

I think I know this man. He's furniture in our house. Or statuary, at least as far as the kids are concerned when Mom is on the phone.

Been there, lived that, and glad tidings to the brand new family-to-be!

Anonymous said...

Mine's 16 and is still like that. She can't go to sleep until we've performed our little good-night ritual, she doesn't like watching TV at night without me (although she always gets to pick the program)She's totally helpless when she's sick. And apparantly everything tastes better when I cook it; laundry is fresher when I do it; and the house is so much cleaner when I wield the mop. I think there's a scam going on there somewhere

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, Beth. Brought a smile to my face.

-Louis XIV

Lola said...

So true!

Anonymous said...

and keep your own private stash of chocolate and toilet paper.

Trust me.

I have teens.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

This is awesome, Beth. I'm not even your daughter and I find you magnetic.

Great post.


Anonymous said...


I love this post. It rings so true. Is the baby here yet?