Becoming a mom is a whirlwind. Life has higher highs, lower lows, and an overall increase in stress that has to be managed in what seems like less hours in a non-stop day. I could go on about the learning curve with newborns (why is my kid crying? is there a multiple choice questionnaire?!), the late nights that feel like torture, the exhausting feeling of being on demand 24-7, all the stuff you hear parents say…and how it’s all worth it, every minute, for the unimaginable happiness that fills you up in return.
But one of the most challenging aspects was the subsequent redefinition of self that totally took me by surprise. Before being a parent, I always used a varied palette of nouns and adjectives to self-identify: musician, punk, queer, prankster, lesbian wifey, reality tv sellout, reader of Russian literature, suspected Cylon, etc. Now, 99% of that former identity is packed into a small part of my day-to-day.
Now I am mom, mostly, before everything else, eclipsing nearly all the rest.
But I won’t let those 30-odd years of personal development go to waste! With every ounce of grit, punk aesthetic and creative spirit, I hold on to those principles of starving artist days past and strive to integrate them into this new realm of diapers, strollers, and temper tantrums —my kid’s, of course…ok, and mine.
And now, here are some reflections on how my new role and former punk self are expressed.
MOM vs. PUNK
Ways I am like a mom now: I un-ironically watched the Today Show this morning.
Ways I am still a total punk: I ironically watched Kathie Lee & Hoda afterwards.
Mom: I’m up at 6:30 with Ella.
Punk: I’m exhausted from staying up too late mixing.
Mom: I walked an extra 5 minutes for errands because Duane Reade had a sale on diapers.
Punk: I had forgotten an umbrella and said $%&* it, not like I’ll actually catch pneumonia or something.
Mom: I also got a York Peppermint Pattie at the pharmacy because “needed my chocolate fix.”
Punk: …I let Ella try some too.
Mom: I consistently need to double down on caffeine fix because of mom exhaustion.
Punk: But I prefer locally roasted coffee from cafes that cultivate pretentious barista culture.
Mom: I’m now a regular at the playground, learning names of other children and able to identify their age ranges.
Punk: And I’m pretty sure I scare all the other parents at the playground with my skull tee and the ripped jeans I wear *literally* every day.
Mom: I’m delighted at myself for multi-tasking things like dishes, baby feeding, cleaning up toys, running errands, reading the New Yorker and cooking meals.
Punk: I’m delighted at myself for distorting the crap out of the chorus synths in our new track and adding appropriate feedback intro.
Mom: Not showering for days because I’m too busy.
Punk: I still don’t care about showering for days ’cause I am sooo counterculture.
Mom: I make playdates with other moms.
Punk: Playdates are “record store shopping” and “happy hour at music venue.”
Mom: I get very excited about Ella’s new play kitchen.
Punk: I get very excited that Ella learned to plug in 1/4″ cables and likes to dance to old Motown singles on 45.
Mom: I’ve fully embraced baby bjorns, strollers, and diaper bags as a new fact of life.
Punk: I experience a form of embarrassment (a fellow punk mom friend and I have termed it “mom shame”) because no matter where I go, the presumed “cool” is sucked out of the room since I’M A MOM NOW — representing the adult, responsible world, the absence of untethered spontaneity, a sobering and serious image that stands for permanent life change.
Mom: I love spending every day with my kid, who has given my angst-tinged existence an entirely new dimension of love and joy and magic I never knew was possible.
Punk: I don’t give a fuck who knows it.