Maddie: Brad and I are thinking of having a baby, but I’m worried about it affecting our relationship. Do you think it will?
Me: That’s like asking me if I think nuclear winter will affect the way you tan.
Maddie: Does that mean yes?
Me: But, of course.
Maddie: How so?
Me: Why don’t you ask me something easier, like “how does having a kid not change your life?”
Maddie: Oh come one and humor me. Tell me how motherhood has changed you.
Me: Gee….where should I begin? I guess I’ll give you the good stuff first.
Me: Well, for starters, it’s made me more efficient.
Me: Yeah. I now make the best use of my time by doing at least two things at once. Just this morning, for example, I ate breakfast in the shower. It’s great for those just-add-water cereals.
Maddie: I’ll have to remember that. Go on.
Me: OK. My husband and I no longer fight over who gets to read the paper first.
Maddie: You mean you’re getting along better these days?
Me: No.. I mean that neither of us has time to read the paper.
Maddie: I see.
Me: What else?…I’m in better physical shape now that I’m a mom. Why I can lift 30 pounds of dead weight – namely my daughter’s body – without going into cardiac arrest.
Me: Another plus of motherhood is that I’ve become ambidextrous. I can do anything with either hand – depending, of course, on which hand I’m using to restrain my child.
Maddie: (sighs) Anything else?
Me: Well, yes, there is one other thing – my memory has improved. No matter how many times my daughter interrupts me when I’m on the phone, I can remember where I left off.
Maddie: That’s quite a skill. But you know, Beth, all of what you’re saying is – if you don’t mind me saying so – rather depressing.
Me: Depressing? But I haven’t even told you the bad stuff yet.
Maddie: It gets worse?
Me: I’m afraid so, but given you’re a friend, I’d rather spare you that.
Maddie: Oh, come on. If you won’t tell me, who will?
Me: Well, OK, but just remember, you’re the one who asked.
Maddie: I will. Just give it to me straight.
Me: If you insist. Here goes: The worse thing about motherhood is you begin to appreciate your mother.
Me: Yes, unfortunately, it’s true. Not only that, but you actually begin to understand the things she once said and did. In fact, those things start making so much sense you begin using them on your child.
Maddie: How awful!
Me: Isn’t it? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Me: Well, any other questions?
Maddie: No! I…I…I think I’ve heard enough, and besides, I’ve got to go.
Me: Oh. Well, before you do, let me ask you a question.
Me: When do you and Brad think you’ll have a baby?
Maddie: Baby? Who said anything about wanting to have a baby?