10. Change of Scenery – Pre-baby I wasn’t part of a “scene” per se, but my husband and I did enjoy living in a city with incredible restaurants and bars and when guests came to town we showed them a good time. It may seem obvious to all but the densest folks that bars and babies don’t mix, but that didn’t occur to my addled brain until I found myself struggling to keep up with some young baby-free visitors the other night. After watching my Bjorn-wearing husband get hit on, trying to breastfeed with bass booming in my ears, and wanting to give a breathalyzer test to anyone within ten feet of my baby, it sunk in that being a good mom trumps being a good host. Duh.
9. Suitcase contents – I used to pride myself on being a very good packer for a trip. I packed light and still always had what I needed. I remember scoffing at our first parent-friends who filled up their entire SUV with baby gear to go on a weekend trip. We won’t be like that, I thought. We’ve now taken two weekend trips with Little Man, and there is no such thing as packing light with a baby. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I need a checklist to make sure we have all the needed items for baby and ourselves, as the first trip we took I brought plenty for him, but forgot to bring any clothes for myself. The second trip, I ran out of nursing pads (these are my fave) and during the drive home, my screaming baby set off geyser-like gushes from my breasts the force of which could not be stopped by the mere stuffing of napkins. The lesson here is over-preparedness, people.
8. The state of my living room – I swore I would not allow my house to become the victim of a tidalwave of toys, like so many parents’ homes that look like a tsunami hit leaving only bright plastic garbage in its wake. We’ll keep it in his bedroom where it belongs, I said. Yet my son is only 7 weeks old, can’t even hold onto a rattle and already his stuff has overtaken our tiny urban space. A giant neon playmat with all the bells and whistles takes up one corner of the living room while a behemoth automatic swing fills another. Anything that will occupy him for any chunk of time is considered invaluable and we’ve already gotten rid of a couch to make room for more.
7. Wardrobe choices – Function has fully replaced fashion. “Can I whip my boobs out of this outfit in seconds flat?” is pretty much the only consideration when considering my clothing options at this point.
6. My poor needy dog – Dude knows he’s been bumped from favor no matter how much I tell him we still love him. He acted out the first day we brought Little Man home by peeing on the glider while I nursed in it. He’s been sweet since, but spends most of his time moping under our bed or demanding attention from guests and trying to convince them to take him home with them when they leave.
5. Reading list – Before baby’s arrival you might have found a stack of travel writing, graphic novels, or books by great women authors like Joan Didion or Annie Dillard next to my bed. On my computer you’d find bookmarks to the NY Times, New Yorker, and blogs by artists and authors. Now it’s all mommy and daddy blogs like dooce and Metro Dad, books related to baby care – mainly Dr. Sears and every book ever written on getting your baby to sleep – along with the Twilight saga that’s kept me company through the late night breastfeeding sessions. I have no idea what’s going on in the world, but I can’t wait to find out if Bella marries Edward and becomes a vampire. Wow…what’s happened to me?
4. Suffering blog and journal entries – My blog posts have been few and far between, and I can’t remember the last time I posted about anything other than baby-related rambling. My journal used to be full of lovely drawings, funky lettering, and long musings about who knows what I used to think about. If someone leafed through my journal now, they might think I’d had a stroke. How could this chicken-scratch – disjointed ideas written nearly illegibly – be by the same person?
3. Work, schmork – I’ve had a job since I was 14 (well, 10, if you count raising lambs for 4-H). I’ve always worked hard, and have been creative enough to create jobs that work for me and my particular talents, abilities and preferences. I never imagined being a stay at home mom and always assumed I would want to work. Along comes baby, and poof, all that goes out the window. All I want is to be with him. He was 5 weeks old when I got my first mural request post-baby and it fell through because I wasn’t ready to leave him for full days yet..and I was relieved. I’m sure it will change as he gets older (at least I hope it does since I need to start working again in a couple weeks), but I was shocked at how strongly I feel that I would choose a day with him over a day earning money any day of the week.
2. What love life? – I know I promised to keep my husband #1 in a previous pregnancy post but so far that just hasn’t been possible. Little Man is a 24/7 time and attention sucker and I’ve given it all to him. Big Man and I held our own little beer summit recently (he had a PBR and I had a guilty half-glass of wine) to discuss our “relations” or lack thereof and vowed to put each other first again. Yes, just after I feed and burp and change and comfort this little guy again… (this is another one I hope changes as he gets older. It will, right?)
1. Memory loss – Though it’s been less than two months since baby came on the scene, I’m already forgetting what life was like without him. And somehow, though my current priorities would have been unfathomable to the pre-baby me, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to the way it was.