I was 29 years old when I got pregnant with my son. By pretty much every definition, I was an adult. I could vote and buy alcohol and rent a car, and halfway through my pregnancy, I turned 30 — old enough to run for Senate, even, were I so inclined. I was married. All the signifiers for "adult" were fully in place, and thanks to that, I never had to deal with the sort of skepticism that I’m sure many younger moms-to-be face during pregnancy.
The truth, however, is that while I was generally doing a pretty good impression of an adult, in some ways, that was all it was. In my head, I still felt about 16 most of the time, and that was never more apparent than when I had to make a phone call.
My phone anxiety — which, I’ve learned through years of Internet usage, isn’t terribly uncommon — started when I was in elementary school and stuck with me well into my twenties (okay, and into my thirties). For the most part, I was able to avoid making calls, thanks to the joys of text messaging, email, and online food ordering, but frequently when I had a call I absolutely had to make, I would get my husband (or even my mother) to make it for me. I usually could come up with a valid reason — my husband was better suited to argue over the cable bill, my mom's name is the one on the car registration anyway — but the real issue was almost always that I just wanted to avoid making the call myself. What if there was an awkward silence? What if I said something stupid, or talked over the person I was calling, or ended up stammering in my nervousness? Oh, the horror!
Unfortunately — or maybe luckily — I haven't really been able to get away with that since my son was born. When he was about 18 hours old, in fact, I had to suck it up and telephone the hospital nurses' station to ask for someone to come help me with my screaming newborn. I barely remember the call, but I'm pretty confident that I stammered and said stupid things and talked over the woman who answered the phone, all in about thirty seconds, and miraculously, I didn't care. l needed help with my baby — for my baby — and that was what mattered.
My son just turned 2, and I still hate making phone calls, don't get me wrong. I grimace dramatically whenever I'm forced to do it, but then I take a deep breath and put on my Mom Voice (not to be confused with my Mommy Voice, which is something else entirely) and make the darn call. My kid is depending on me, and those pediatrician appointments aren't going to schedule themselves. Sure, I frequently respond awkwardly, or mishear things, or accidentally talk over the person on the other end of the phone, but I'm also responsible for keeping a tiny person alive, so I figure that buys me some cool points, right?
How have you been forced to grow up since becoming a mom? Have you stopped letting people cut you in line without comment? Have you started buying real food instead of stocking up on Lean Cuisines? Let us know in the comments!