Six weeks after Little B’s arrival, life still seems pretty surreal.
Sometimes, when the sound of a hungry baby jolts me awake in the middle of the night, it takes me a moment to realize that I’m not dreaming–those cries really are coming from right next to my bed. I still feel out of place in the baby section at Target (but it is helpful that I can locate my car when I lose it in the parking lot by looking for the pink “Baby on Board” sign in the back window.) The words “my daughter” still sound strange coming out of my mouth when I call the doctor’s office to make an appointment for Little B.
In short, becoming a mom has kind of rocked my world.
Sure, there were some things about having a baby that have so far required minimal adjustment on my part. For example, spending a Friday night watching TV on the couch and going to bed by 10 p.m. has always been my idea of a good time. So, at least having a baby has given me a legitimate justification for my lameness. And, I’ve always been pretty good at multitasking, so I’ve already figured out how to eat a bowl of cereal with one hand while holding Little B in my other arm.
But, by and large, the things that were important to me, my relationships with family and friends, and my daily routine changed the moment that Little B was born.
While I, luckily, haven’t been struggling with major emotional issues like some new moms do, I would be lying if I said that I haven’t at least had a couple of mini-meltdowns over how much things have changed. A couple of weeks after Little B was born, for example, I was reduced to tears by an episode of Rick Steves’ show on PBS. Usually, his wardrobe choices and bad jokes make me a little bit sad, but this time it really hit me that I’ve given up the freedom to just get up and go whenever I want to now that I am a parent.
I know that I’m not the same person that i was just a couple of months ago, but I haven’t fully gotten a handle on who I am now, either. I realize that there are some things about my personality and the way that I have lived my life for the past 30 years that I need to be willing to adjust in order to accommodate the new little person in my life.
For example, I have always been a planner. Nothing makes me happier than sticking to a schedule and checking things off a to-do list. One day last week, I was counting on Little B to sleep for at least two hours straight in the afternoon, like she usually does, so I could organize my closet. But, every time I put her down, she cried. So, I spent those two hours holding her and getting itchy every time I thought about the pile of clothes on my bedroom floor that I needed to sort through. Obviously, I’m still working on becoming more comfortable with the degree of spontaneity and the ability to accept when things are less than perfect that having a child requires.
Of course, I wanted to become a parent and wouldn’t trade Little B for anything. But that doesn’t make the feeling of being caught in the middle between my “old self” and “new self” any less disconcerting.
So, I keep reminding myself that this is just a temporary feeling. Little B will grow and change and I’ll do the same, right along with her. I’ve heard that being a parent makes people, among other things, more patient, more compassionate, and more flexible, so maybe I’ll even be able to say that I’m a better person than I was before. Hopefully, when I look back on this time a year from now, I’ll be feeling a lot more settled. And then, things will probably change again. Just like they always do.
This new phase in my life also means that my little corner of the Internet will change. There will probably be fewer posts about food and travel and more posts about family and the other things in my life. I truly enjoy creating the content that goes into this space and I don’t want to give it up. If anything, I’m looking forward to changing things up a bit.
So, if you are reading this–thank you! I hope that you’ll stick around as I go on this new journey.