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Thursday, June 26, 2014

What you think it must be like to have a baby vs. what it's actually like to have a baby

     "Aweee!! Let me hold your baby!" "How cuuuuute!" "Oh, I think he's crying, want him back??" I used to be one of those people. One of those single, selfish, clueless, well rested individuals that thought people with children were necessary to continue our population but I was always secretly glad I wasn't one of them. I was the person silently judging when a child started screaming in the grocery store.
     I remember thinking, tsk tsk.. Why can't that parent get control of their kid or just leave her home? I was the ignorant jerk that was shaking my head when your kid starting having a tantrum in the booth next to me at the restaurant because he didn't get to squeeze the ketchup bottle himself.
      I'm sorry. Really, I am. I had no idea how hard it was to travel anywhere with a baby/child/toddler/little person. I was unaware that if you spend time planning an outing your child the child may decide to take an unscheduled nap thwarting your attempts at being anywhere on time (ever again).
    I've heard women tell me "Oh, I used to be able to remember everything--then I had a kid and got "Mommy brain" I laughed with them quietly thinking, that will NEVER happen to me (is that even REAL?!). Guess what--it's real. Sometimes, I can't even remember the color red...I will rack my brain looking for the word but it just doesn't come. I don't know why, or how but the baby does steal parts of your brain.
   If someone I knew was having a baby I would say "Just let me know when you need a sitter! I'm happy to help out!" inwardly, I knew they'd probably never call me (at least I hoped they didn't).  I remember being pregnant and thinking that I would still have plenty of "me" time. Guess what? Nope. The spare time I do have I want to spend with my kid because I miss him while I'm gone all day.
   That's another thing--whether you stay home or go back to work full time  you will feel immense guilt. This guilt comes with being a Mom. I'm assuming it was passed down to me from my own Mother who I'm further convinced made up the word herself since she is capable of inflicting so much of it on to me. When I'm at work I miss the baby. When I'm home, I'm exhausted and feel bad for not always being 100% present as a Mother.  No matter what, I'm sure I'm always screwing something up.
   All the friendships you've been able to maintain thus far will be in question as you battle the first year of being parenthood. I promise you that if the same people stay your friends after the first year then you know they must really value you as a person because you really won't have time to tend to these people for a while so they'll have to be some really understanding,
self-sufficient, people.
       When you have not slept for more than 2 hours consecutively for weeks at a time and you're sore pretty much everywhere and your partner is taking a mid-day nap (because, he can), and you're about to lose your shit--whomever you pick up the phone to call at that moment is most likely your best friend. Make sure you thank them later when you're well rested (I don't know when this will be -maybe like, 18 years from now). The thing is when you think about having a kid and all you can see is visions of your family playing in the park and putting the baby to bed while you read them their favorite book or playing Candyland while your kid smiles at you just thankful to you for birthing them--think again!
    These things do eventually happen and I'm sure they are fantastic but the other 22 hours of the day and 360 days of the year it's a struggle. To be honest, being a parent has made me a better person. I wouldn't trade it for the World. I just wish that I had a better idea of what it entailed. Of course, that's part of being a parent---the revelations. But, I'll let you find that out for yourself.

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