I believe there’s this thing called the Mushy Mom Gene.
It's the genetic make up where from an early age you can’t wait to be a mother. You start babysitting at nine years old and don’t stop until you graduate college (and even then you might make yourself available to that one family who’s in a bind because their kids are just so.freakin’.cute).
In your twenties, the Mushy Mom Gene means you smile and wave at babies in the grocery store, squeal when a friend tells you she’s preggers (then you rub your own empty womb, try not to be jealous and silently tell yourself, ‘some day!’). Or you see a family in a restaurant with one of those little booster seats attached to the table and – even though the kid is throwing french fries at his father – you think it’s the most adorable thing in the world.
In your thirties the Mushy Mom Gene goes into overdrive if you don’t yet have a baby. You see a toddler in the grocery store whose mother is a total hot mess and you start to think of what it would be like if you took the kid home to live with you. Or the minute you walk into a friend’s house you make a beeline for their baby, stick your nose to its head and inhale deeply.
The Mushy Mom Gene can make you do crazy things.
I was not born with the Mushy Mom Gene.
I was an only child, so I spent quite a bit of time letting my imagination run wild, holding conversations with myself and creating a second life in my basement. I had more Cabbage Patch Dolls than I care to admit (only child = more presents), and they would play a part in my world of make believe.
I would play school, where I was the teacher and the Cabbies were my students. Or I would play orphanage, and I was the cool house mother (a nicer version of Mrs. Hannigan) that took care of the kids until they were adopted. And in some instances, I was their cool aunt who would take them to the movies or ice cream and then drop them back off at home at the end of the day.
In not one of these scenarios was I their mother. I blame this on the absence of the Mushy Mom Gene.
Just because I wasn’t born with the Mushy Mom Gene, didn’t mean I didn’t want to be a mother. Not gushing over babies can make people think that you don't want children.
It's quite the opposite for me. I LOVE being a mother. I LOVE our son. In fact, I wish we would win the lottery so I could spend all day every day at home with him being his MOTHER.
And now that I’m a mother, I see the Mushy Mom Gene creeping its way into my being. I smile at babies in the grocery store! I want to see pictures of your baby and kids on Facebook! I love sharing stories about baby habits or poop debacles!
Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that I automatically love every stranger baby and toddler I encounter.
If your baby has green snot running down its face and is trying to reach her germy hands on me or my cart? I probably don’t love that baby.
If I’m eating at a nice restaurant and it’s 9pm and you have your toddler there WAY past his bedtime and he’s having a meltdown? I probably don’t love that kid, either.*
The Mushy Mom Gene is a powerful thing. It makes you cry at Pampers commercials. Get teary-eyed at pictures of newborns. Wave back at kids who wave at you first.
Damn you, Mushy Mom Gene!
If I had my Cabbage Patch Dolls right now I’d give them all a big old hug…from their mother.
*NOTE: I think kids can and should go to restaurants! We take Max out with us all the time! Just do it at appropriate times in appropriate places and be respectful of others.