The evolution of language through … motherhood

When you become a mom, your whole world changes: you have a new routine, you adopt new sleep patterns (or none at all), your diet changes…  or disappears. Even basic language definitions are evolving. Things that you thought you knew now have a different meaning.

Like, “a quiet time”. This used to mean: lying down on the sofa, reading a magazine, maybe even dozing off. Nowadays, it only means one thing: locking yourself in the bathroom and sitting on the toilet, holding your head in your hands, while mayhem is taking place right outside the door. You are not doing anything on the toilet by the way, because for these moments, you usually have an audience…

“Tidy” is another example of a word whose meaning shifts… a little…. Before kids, your home was tidy. It looked like a spec home. Nothing out of place, clean, vacuumed floors, impeccable walls with nice art. A haven of tranquility and serenity. Nowadays, your home is tidy if you can see part of the floor. And by the way, it still qualifies as tidy if the part you see is covered in markers, otherwise no one is going to make it on the list… You are also on the “tidy” list if it takes less than five minutes to retrieve the TV remote control from under the pile of toys cramped on the sofa, and if you don’t “lose” more than two items a day – car keys, glasses, library books are just examples.

Certain words are disappearing from your vocabulary. You don’t need to store them in your head, because you will NEVER use them again. Not for a loooooong time anyway.

Appetizer is one example. For the many of you who don’t remember, an appetizer is a course that you order when you are in a restaurant and have far too much free time in your hands. It comes before the main meal, and adds a good twenty minutes to the time you spend in the restaurant. It implies that you are happy to be out and are enjoying yourself.  Today, you go in the restaurant, choose the table in front of the TV to hypnotize the kids, order the main course together with the drinks and check, all at the same time.  During the short half an hour where you are in the restaurant, you don’t sit down, because there is always something falling from the table that needs pick up: a crayon, a glass, another crayon, a napkin…, kids need to go to the bathroom one after the other. I mean, let’s face it: you are the entertainment of the room…

Another word fading into memory is “Welcome”. Because quite frankly, you are not anymore!! Friends with no kids or grown-up ones don’t want your rascals to mess their spec house. And who wants to come to your house and experience chaos on a big scale? No, just forget it for a few years. It’s really fine anyway, because if you are anything like me, you really don’t want to go anywhere so, whatever…

One expression I used to love is, “I am just browsing”. Honestly, when is the last time you said that? When do you ever go anywhere, just to browse?! On the rare occasions I step out of my house, it’s when someone’s life depends on it. So browsing? Really?

What about, “Let’s go for a drink!”. Ha! Can you believe that you use to VOLUNTARILY spend hours in noisy and crowded bars, to enjoy a glass of wine? Tonight, I am “going for a drink”. And that means, me, my slippers and my PJs are locking ourselves in the bathroom (again!) with a bottle of wine -no time or room to bother with a glass!

These are just a few examples of some words you won’t use for a while, or not in the same way.

You will add new words to your vocabulary: most of them involving receiving, storing or cleaning some body fluids; Words like diapers, projectile vomiting, rubber bulb syringe …

But most importantly, you will learn the true meaning of “Unconditional love”. OK, maybe you have pets and they give you unconditional love so you already know what it means to be on the receiving end. But your kids will teach you what a joyful, life changing experience it is to give it to them. And no messy house, tantrum in the restaurant, or sleepless night can ever take that love away. So bring it on kiddos!

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