You know that rule about how when you have children you’re not supposed to “lose yourself?” Well, I’ve broken it. Hard. Like, obliterated it with a sledgehammer, sawed up the bigger pieces with a chainsaw and set it on fire. The person I am has been permanently altered, and there is no going back. In my spare time I research art projects for my kids and browse the $7 rack in the children’s section at H&M. I spend an unreasonable amount of time thinking about snacks to buy for them. Sometimes those snacks are dinner, but what my kids don’t know is that before they came into my life I would wander into work half an hour late for no good reason, sometimes spend 7 hours in a row watching television, and always ate snacks for dinner. I wasn’t prepared for all this work. How can you be? How do your children not become your entire life? I eat, sleep and breathe my kids. Literally, when they talk to me I lean in as close as I can to smell their little breath. I want to inhale their entire bodies. It’s probably creepy. I can’t help it. I cry every time I see a sleeping baby in public now. I’ve googled every combination of the words “mother, emotional, tired, and normal” humanly possible. Oh, and bedtime. Bedtime is so hard. And so loud. Then as soon as it’s quiet I think for a minute, “What if my apartment was this quiet all the time?” Then I decide I REALLY want that. Then after about 10 minutes, I decide I am extremely uncomfortable with quiet and never ever want a quiet house again. The thought of a quiet house makes me so, so sad. Then I hear my daughter calling me for another sip of water, and all I want in the world is a quiet moment to myself. Rinse, repeat, goodnight kiss.