Before I had kids, my pets were my babies. I always knew in my head that the pets would fall lower on the food chain once I had my own actual babies, but I was not prepared for how quickly I would kick ’em to the curb. I feed the dog and occasionally give her a bath, but take her for a walk? Almost never anymore. Good thing we have a fenced-in backyard where she can run. Poor things, the dog and the cat actually started spooning each other because they were so starved for affection! That always makes me think of the line from Ghostbusters: “Mass hysteria . . . dogs and cats . . . living together . . .”
It’s just sunk in with me, though, how much else has been neglected in that same time frame. The plants? Dying from lack of water or from me leaving them outside to get frozen in winter. The house? Good thing we have the nanny here or nothing would ever be clean (I wonder if she cleans gutters?). The cars? I don’t drive as much anymore because I work from home but my car still should get an oil change, oh, say twice a year. Personal hygiene? I’m not saying I’m not bathing or anything, but the frou frou stuff like painting my toenails and cutting my hair often falls by the wayside.
I offer you this proof of my motherhood-induced neglect: I got a ticket a while back because my car wasn’t registered. Why wasn’t it registered? Because I was late on my emissions test. How late, you ask? NEARLY A YEAR. I have no excuse for this, honestly. I pathetically told the cop that we’d had a baby and so I’d been distracted. Right, but Little is almost two. The emissions place is about two miles from the house. The test takes under 15 minutes and costs only $20. So why didn’t I do it? Motherhood-induced neglect. This disease cost me the following just for this incident: $117 for the ticket (the only reason the car didn’t get towed out from under us was because of the kids — the cop actually said, “You can thank those babies for you not having your car towed.”) + $20 emissions test + $85 registration fee + $10 late fee + having to go to the DMV in person (priceless) = a ridiculous amount, seriously. Shame on me.
Motherhood. This disease causes memory loss, fatigue, irritability, and general malaise. It also causes delirious happiness, the return of childlike wonder, and a feeling of love that will make your heart explode. May I never be cured.