Stephanie Izard dishes on all things motherhood
By Stephanie Izard
I just finished breakfast at my restaurant Little Goat Diner where on Sunday mornings before 8:30am, while the rest of the world is recovering from a wild Saturday night, the tables are filled with the parent club. Kids everywhere. Some babies crying while others sleep soundly. Toddlers covered with pancake syrup. There is something nice about being in a place where no matter what your baby is doing, it isn’t going to bother anyone else.
It got me thinking….
Did you ever notice how things change when you get a puppy? You gain a new identity in your neighborhood, perhaps the first identity you have had with some of your neighbors who themselves have dogs. You are out walking your new fuzzy pet and as you pass by a neighbor your dogs stop to sniff each others butts. You then exchange your puppy’s name, age and breed and perhaps discuss some puppy tips like where you got that great retractable leash or where you go for doggy daycare. Perhaps you and the neighbor exchange your names, but those will soon be lost and you become, ‘Burt’s mom’ or ‘Spot’s dad’.
Or if you are meeting someone new in a business meeting or a new class you are taking, the topic of dogs comes up and anyone that has one pulls out their phone to show off their top puppy pics.
Welcome to the club. The puppy parent club. Now you will have an instant bond with every other puppy parent you interact with. And your identity changes from George to ‘Rover’s Dad’.
I learned once I started showing and was open about being pregnant that there is a similar club that emerges. Suddenly that small talk conversation with the insurance lady on the phone while you are inquiring about adding a new member of the family turns to stories of Susie’s three kids and how little Bobby just won his first soccer game and little Mikey just lost his first tooth. The conversation gets much longer, but Susie (your new best friend who you have never met) no longer has that monotone sound in her voice as she does while repeating insurance information on dozens of calls daily. She is excited to share stories about her kids and congratulate you on your soon-to-arrive baby.
You start to learn more about so many people around you, even though you have interacted with them so many times before. The sales rep for meats that you have worked with for years now tells you all about his two boys and how hard it was to get them into the school they wanted. It’s twenty minutes of baby chat before you even get to a chat about the beef cut you want to add to the menu, as you are deep in talks about school districts, leaving you a bit stressed about where your unborn child is going to go to high school.
Once you have the baby things continue to change even more. You take on new relationships with other parents. Conversations at dinner parties turn from what shows you are going to see this summer to how many poops your new baby has a week. Even when friends come over who don’t have kids of their own, the conversation shifts and alternates between “How in the heck could anyone vote for that guy?” in the upcoming election to “Oh my goodness did you just hear that little baby toot? That was the cutest!”
Becoming a part of the Parent Club means being part of a whole new world really. Not just with people around you but with yourself, too. Everything baby just becomes more noticeable everywhere you go. When your husband says “sweet ride,” you know he is no longer talking about the sports car going by but rather the newest model of stroller. Its funny. Its amazing. And I’m sure its only the beginning of the changes that lay ahead.
Stephanie Izard is the award-winning chef and restauranteur of Girl & The Goat, Little Goat Diner, and Duck Duck Goat. The former Top Chef winner is a proud mama to baby Ernie and dog Burt.