Today my hair was colored and cut for the first time in almost two years. That’s kind of a long time. Yes- I was working very hard to grow out a pixie cut, but it was definitely more than that… I simply wasn’t making it a priority.
Which is okay. But that says something.
This ties into something I’ve been mulling over… I’ve been working on putting my finger on a new stage in the developmental process of being a parent.
You didn’t know there were developmental stages of being a parent? I am not a parenting expert, but from my experience, the stages go something like:
- Complete naivety
- Shell shock
- More shell shock
- Complete rearrangement of priorities
- Obsession with your child
- Start over (repeat process until you cry “Uncle” or run out of room, whichever comes first)
I’m starting to think that there may be more stages to the developmental process. (Maybe even developed by actual experts.) As we begin to creep past the Elmo stage for the last time (and have cried “Uncle” AND run out of room), I think I’m seeing that possible next stage on the horizon.
I’m calling it the ‘Reborn Mom‘ stage. This can happen to Dads too, but it is so pervasive with Moms, they get the title. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Rules. To officially reach the Reborn Mom stage:
- Your youngest child must be 4 years old or older. This means that (hopefully) diapers and cribs are a distant memory, and you can have conversations that include at least a shred of logic and reasoning skills with each person in your house.
- Your eyes have a look of clarity. You are rested. You have slept through the night for maybe weeks in a row. Your brain is clearly, fully-functioning and you can see it in your eyes.
- You remember you have a separate identity from ‘Mom’ and act on it. This is the defining rule of the stage. It’s realizing you are in a position to do something for yourself. Take (back up) a hobby. Read a book. Work out. Spend time with friends. Cut your hair.
When I think of the quintessential Reborn Mom, I think of that mom we’ve all seen on Facebook… she’s suddenly been working out, looking stronger than ever. When I run into her in person, she looks fresh, relaxed — like the best version of herself. It’s like she’s a combination of her former, pre-kid self, and her newer, battle-worn body and brain. Better than ever.
It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have problems or difficulties. But she has an acute awareness and appreciation that she’s made it through a unique, and sweet part of life that is nothing if not relentless. And she survived.
I’m not there yet. Clearly. I’m still telling people not to lick the floor. I commonly have to respond to statements such as: “I can’t say I’m sorry because my hands hurt.” It’s been two months since my last post here, for crying out loud. Still pushing through The Blur.
But if I squint…. I can almost see it in the distance… My hair and I will be ready.