Maybe it starts when you realize rock concerts give you a headache. Or you catch yourself ending a discussion with “Because I’m the mother, that’s why.” The warning signs are all there. You know you’ve crossed the threshold into advanced motherhood when:
1. You count the sprinkles on each kid’s cupcake to make sure they’re equal.
2. You want to take out a contract on the kid who broke your son’s favorite toy car and made him cry.
3. You have time to shave only one leg at a time.
4. You hide in the bathroom to be alone.
5. Your child throws up, and you catch it.
6. Someone else’s kid throws up, and you keep eating.
7. You consider Magic Markers a controlled substance.
8. You’ve mastered the art of placing large quantities of pancakes and eggs on a plate without anything touching.
9. You make your kid wear a sweater when you’re cold.
10. You cling to the high moral ground on toy weapons; your child bites his toast into the shape of a gun.
11. You hope ketchup really is a vegetable, because it’s the only one your kid eats.
12. You convince your child that FAO Schwarz is a toy museum, not a store.
13. You can’t bear the thought of your son’s first girlfriend.
14. You hate the thought of his wife even more.
15. You find yourself cutting your husband’s sandwiches into animal shapes.
16. You fast-forward through the scene where the hunter shoots Bambi’s mother.
17. You become a member of three different aquariums because your kid loves sharks.
18. You obsess when your child clings to you upon parting during his first week at school, then obsess when he skips away without even looking back the second week.
19. You can’t bear to give away baby clothes—it’s so final.
20. You hear your mother’s voice coming out of your mouth when you say, “Not in your good clothes.”
21. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.
22. You use your own saliva to clean your child’s face.
23. You read that the average 5-year-old asks 437 questions a day and feel proud that your kid is “above average.”
24. You hire a sitter because you haven’t been out with your spouse in ages, then spend half the evening checking on the kids.
25. You say at least once a day, “I’m not cut out for this job,” but you know you wouldn’t trade it for anything.