Two of my daughters are expectant mothers, both due in May. While I’m not the kind of mother who bombards my adult children with parenting directives, I do often remind them of stories from their childhood as a thinly veiled message of “Brace yourself. Weird stuff is coming.”
For example, “What’s in Mom’s Purse” was always an unofficial guessing game in our household. I still finding myself an unwilling participant in this game, even though my nest is now down to just one teenager.
The range of items found has changed with the ages of my children, of course. Pocketbooks have contained everything from extra diapers, loose Fruit Loops, toy cars, and doll heads (don’t ask), to band-aids, Nerf darts, and on one occasion, an unfortunate rain frog my second born wanted me to “keep until we got home.”
Before having children, my purse was all about me, filled with normal things like a wallet, makeup, and ticket stubs.
Funny how parents – - both moms and dads – - adapt to their new role, often doing things that would send a younger version of themselves running.
If you’re considering parenthood, here’s fair warning of what’s to come:
A quiet house will frighten you. Moms will go weeks without shaving their legs because we understand it can be dangerous to take the extra shower time needed while there are children playing in the next room. Also: Dry shampoo is your friend.
You will memorize millions of books, songs and worthless facts – - which is the reason your brain won’t have room to retain memory of where you placed your car keys. Sure, you can’t stand the “Chuggington” theme song, but you will know every word of it and find yourself humming the offensive tune at work.
Your mother’s voice will come out of your mouth. In fact, you will do several things you swore you’d never do as a parent and not even feel bad about it. You will also find yourself uttering strange phrases like, “Stop licking the hymnal” or “Who put bologna in the PlayStation?”
You will catch something disgusting in your hand, and it won’t faze you. Over the years, I’ve not only wiped toddler noses with my bare hands, I’ve also put my hand out to catch something those same toddlers needed to spit out. I once even saved a relative’s area rug from a sick child in this manner.
You’ll be able to identify weird substances and smells in a single sniff. The sticky red mess in the bottom of the toy box is probably old Halloween candy, and that sour smell in your car is likely a lost sippy cup rolling around under the seat. Go ahead and throw it away. It’s worth buying another cup to avoid opening the lid. Trust me on this one.
Phantom-like people will move into your home. Named “Ida Know” and “Not Me,” these folks are visible only to your children and are usually responsible for all misdeeds committed in the house.
You will have to peel something off the ceiling at least once. This can range from spaghetti to a failed science experiment. You will also find something strange clogging the drain, such as a Mr. Potato Head in the toilet (true story).
For those thinking of joining the ranks of parenthood, the above facts may seem scary, as it’s not a job for the faint of heart. Parenting, however, is a pretty awesome club that will prepare you for most everything you’ll ever have to face – except that fateful day when you find yourself having to let your little ones go and wishing you could do it all again.
Carol Kent Wyatt is editor of Washington County News and Holmes County Times-Advertiser, sister publications to The Apalachicola Times and Port St. Joe Star within the Neves Media Publishing group. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on The Star: ‘What’s in Mom’s purse?’ and other games