Having a baby didn’t change me.
It changed everything. And nothing. It changed my friends and my family. But it didn’t change me, not really. I’m still the same girl that likes to go to hockey games and heckle the opposing players. I still like to drink craft beer and watch the Walking Dead and drop the F bomb. I still like to organize events, replicate Pinterest crafts and over share on Facebook. I still have plans to go to Germany for another Oktoberfest and to Nashville as the next stop on my Hockey Arena Vacations. Sure, I wear less make up. I wash my hair less than I used to and I’m learning to cook more (eek). I gave up having adult roommates (which isn’t as strange as it sounds when you live in California by the beach). I don’t have extra money to spend on expensive make up, and yes, I have less freedom to party till 2am (but let’s face it, I’m old and that party boat sailed a while ago anyhow). When I found myself pregnant (yes, it was quite the surprise, but that story is for another post) I thought to myself, well, this is going to change everything and its time to grow up. I thought I would have to make a conscious decision to hold onto any pre-baby life. But I didn’t, not really. Because we are still the same people we were before the Labor Starts (or in my case emergency C-section). In fact, we’re so much ourselves, that it is still so very odd to all of a sudden have a permanent sidekick in the form of screaming, eating, pooping, sleeping machine whose toys and gear have taken over every room in the house. And once I got over the initial shock, I realized: Its awesome. Some days I don’t think its real, but in every way, it’s awesome.
What having a baby did change was everyone and everything else, or at least the way I see it.
I found myself spending more time with my family. Lots and Lots more time. That took some adjusting. I like my down time and space and schedule. They like time with Little Man… whenever it suits them. Which gives me three options: saying no (then getting guilt trips or just feeling guilty), having company over (requiring pre-cleaning, fridge stocking and the worst, post visit cleaning), or I have to go somewhere (which always takes at least an hour to pack and then a couple hours to drive). And even if I don’t want to do any of these things, I do. I feel compelled. I’m just going to say it: it’s annoying. Because they don’t want to see me, they just want to see Little Man (and its never a relaxing experience). But he’s only going to be this little for a short time and so I do it. I share him. You’ll probably do it too (especially if you have the first grandchild). I imagine I’m secretly banking times for when I will want to just drop him off (or take off) when he gets older (like during the terrible twos or when he’s 13). And family is important, don’t get me wrong, its just also so very tiring.
Immediately this is the second biggest shift to happen to my world. The biggest change, really. They changed because my situation changed. Its not good or bad, it just is. It will not be an easy reality to swallow. Oh sure, as soon as you come home from the hospital they will be excited to meet your little bundle and see how you’re doing. If you’re lucky, some will send food, flowers, little gifts, thoughtful texts, etc. You will have lots of likes on your Facebook pictures and posts (before it starts to annoy them). Treasure these things in the moment, as they will dwindle. As will invitations to do social things. You will lose some of your ‘old friends’ and they will probably be your single or childless friends. You will gain some ‘new friends’ and they will be some of the most important people you’ll ever meet (yay for my mommy mafia!). You will have stronger bonds with some, and others will break or simply fade away. You may be surprised or disappointed at who these people are. I certainly was. But it’s ok. Feel it and then let it go, because, mama ain’t nobody got time for that anyhow! Its ok to cry about it too, let those hormones run wild. You’ll be ok.
You will immediately feel like a total and complete ass for not being a better friend to those who had kids before you. Because now you know. You know that when they went and had a baby, you left them behind as you continued your single, childless, busy life; I am totally guilty of this. Again, its ok (or will be). You may need to start becoming a planner so others know you want to be out in the world. I think there’s an assumption that as moms, we “can’t do this” or are “too busy with the baby for that” (which may be true more often than not in the first year). But listen up people, we are still the same person we were before the baby came! We still love Sunday Funday Brunch & Mimosas (and probably need it now more than ever). Please don’t stop asking! We need it! And as the baby gets older and we survive the first year, we will want to resurface and play!
Ok, so the world didn’t actually change. But the way you see it will… I’ve never worried so much in my life. I swear, there’s a switch that get flipped where your brain starts to see dangers in everything. And logistically speaking, yikes! You will start to assess the places you usually go for its stroller friendliness. Do they have a changing station in the bathroom? How difficult is parking? Is it worth taking the stroller out or can you get away with the baby carrier? Do you need the whole diaper bag or can you grab wipes and a diaper? Can you breastfeed there without feeling uneasy if needed? Do you need to pack an extra bottle in case it takes longer (the answer is always yes). When the baby cries, will you care if it bothers anyone? What will the weather be like when you leave/come home? These are just a few things that run through your mind. Don’t worry, mama, you got this.
Be prepared for unsolicited advice (usually from older women), comments from weirdos, becoming a magnet for kids 3-6 years old, and unsolicited touching. Even a place as simple and necessary as Target or the Grocery Store can become a pain in the ass. Yes, lady, I know “he’s so big for only 8 months” I have to carry his 22-pounds of cuteness everywhere. My best advice? Learn where your nearest drive through Starbucks and Bank is located. Put hand sanitizer in every bag. And have a few quips or comebacks in your arsenal. Don’t be afraid of being rude and intercepting a unwanted pat or touch. Here’s one of my favorites: when someone goes to touch Little Man without asking, I mimic the touch on them. Its weird and gets them every time.
Things I know that did change:
- I drive slower without realizing it; that’s some precious cargo in my back seat
- I care even less about what people think about me
- I worry about big things I can’t control (illness, death, natural disasters)
- I’m more patient than ever
- I’ve learned how to cook
- I’ve let unhealthy friendships/people go
- Turns out, I actually like sleep
- My time is more important to me now, so I’m more picky about how I spend it
- I like Yo Gabba Gabba
- I was in better shape when pregnant
- I’ve learned to live a little messy (ok, a lot messy)
- I have no idea what I used to spend money on
- I know my newsfeed & pictures are very baby heavy (he’s just cuter than me)
- I don’t answer my phone or texts as quick as I used to
- I don’t plan activities and outings like I used to
- Different types of things stress me out
- I’m less organized (and I don’t like it)
- I haven’t dyed my hair in so long, its back to its natural color
- In general, I know my Little Man has made me a better person
Now, who’s up for Karaoke and Happy Hour Friday!?