Last night as I spent over an hour putting my son back into his bed (over + over + over), I looked at my husband with tired eyes and said, “Isn’t it crazy how much things change when you have a child?” And he said, “EVERYTHING changes”. We both laughed.
This isn’t the first time I have made this statement, but oddly enough, it never ceases to amaze me the ways in which everything truly does change.
For us, perhaps things changed more rapidly than they do for other people. We were in no way, shape, nor form “prepared” to have a child.
But we did.
I imagine my life on some days, without this wonderful little “accident”, and I simply cannot imagine it. My life is just so different.
Long Gone Are the Days of Sporadic Plans.
Everything we do these days involves some sort of a plan in advance which is the opposite of the way my life once was. I am sure when he gets a little bit older, we will have more flexibility–but for now, this is our life and it revolves around HIS needs and schedule. Or else, we have a very cranky kid on our hands (which is NO FUN IN PUBLIC, or while trying to catch up with an old friend).
This true for everything from hiking on a whim, grabbing an impromptu beer, to having “alone time” with my man (meet me in the bedroom at nap time baby!), going to do anything I want to, when I want to. There is a plan for everything, it seems. At least for now. I can only imagine what it’s like with more than one, and when they start having their own things to do.
Constant Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning.
My cooking game before consisted of fresh veggies, frozen fish and some sort of a five minute side like couscous. If I was especially lazy, it’d be a frozen meal. And maybe, if I felt like it, dinner would be one large bottle of red wine and a bag of popcorn or a potato in the microwave! Not the case now. We have to have a meal planned 3x a day and healthy snacks in between. So an empty fridge doesn’t happen often…but piles of dishes in the sink and lots of cooking do.
Is it Kid-Friendly?
Most of our friends don’t have children. So, if we go to a party or something, it usually involves a little bit more work than leisure. To a two-year-old, going into a new house/place that is not kid proofed, there are all sorts of fun things to break, stuff in his mouth, climb on, fall down, get bitten by. The same holds true for “going out to eat” or to an outdoor concert, or to anything that isn’t specifically FOR him.
It’s tough. It’s a lot of work. It sure makes a cold beer in the back yard/living room look MUCH MORE ENTICING than running your ass off while trying to entertain/be entertained. But if Remington and I can go together, we usually will make the sacrifice just to see people besides each other.
It’s Your Turn!
I am so LUCKY to have a partner who really is a partner. He doesn’t do anything by halves and is just as hands-on as I am. I love that. I think that being parents together is one of the most challenging things a couple can do. And we jumped right into that! We don’t know any relationship besides this one, but I can see how it could strain a marriage as it requires so much sacrifice, team work, and decision making.
I believe an equal partnership is essential for sanity! We always take turns because running after a kid is EXHAUSTING. All of you women who do the brunt of all the work, I admire you (and think you deserve more help too!).This has been a HUGE change for me and it has taught me so much in regards to asking for help and allowing someone to help me 🙂
Yes, it’s true. With children, thought goes into just about every purchase. As we are looking around at new couches, I am very drawn to cream colored furniture, interesting textures, elegant tufts. However, I now have to wonder if he is going to walk on it with his shoes (likely), spill some hummus on it, or find a pen and decide to do some doodling.
Not the most fun. But I’d rather have his beautiful smile and little boy-ness than a gorgeous couch, any day. Whether it’s a plant for the house or a new purse–function takes precedence over style.
Do We Have Everything?
You have to be prepared for everything. Whether it’s getting clothes ready for the morning, snacks/drinks, a spare changes of clothes…did you bring a toy…. There are lots of details to think about. Definitely helps if you are a multi-tasker! Doesn’t help too much if you are constantly running behind, yourself. I am learning to work on my punctuality!
Oh, I Still Like to Party–but You Can Keep The Hangover and I’ll Save My Money!
There are some days where I just want to party like it’s 1999. It could be a song on the radio, a feeling in the air, a memory…it doesn’t really matter what it is, but I just crave going out and cutting loose. It used to be what my life was made of and I LOVED it.
It pains me to think of how much money I spent on drinking/eating elegant meals out in Park City…and makes me laugh too ;)….Damn, I was making GOOD money. Why didn’t I save most of it? Oh yes, I was too busy abusing it for momentary fun.
Anyhow, nowadays, I’d prefer to relax and not have to wake up in the middle of the night half drunk and hungover to sooth a child…and then wake up at the butt crack of dawn, still hung over to feed him breakfast. My funds are no longer my own…and for once, I want to use them to go towards SOMETHING instead of fully living in the moment. And I actually care about my liver now.
Let’s Make the World Better
There is something in a child’s smile that gives you hope, that makes you care even more about tomorrow. Their innocence is precious. It’s as though tomorrow is no longer yours, it is their’s. Everything you do is to make his/her life the best one possible. I have never in my life ever experienced anything like parenting. Such a culmination of feelings and motivations that were never there before him.
I have become educated on all sorts of things I never would have thought twice about! Cooking, organic food, gardening, recycling, making my own stuff to avoid toxic chemicals, education, the types of people I allow into my life, learning to not be a push over (hey, I got someone to stick up for and show that YOU STICK UP FOR YOURSELF). Life has changed. So much.
I was actually just thinking the other day as I was blogging about gardening…and I thought, “Who cares about your boring garden!?” Three years ago, I wouldn’t have cared about anyone else’s boring old garden either…And that’s what having a kid does. It speeds up time, yet it oddly slows down the pace of your life drastically. It’s the most beautiful thing I have experienced yet. The change is neither good nor bad.
Life is just completely different.
*I love that life chose the branch meant for me*
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar