There’s nothing quite like the responsibility of carrying a tiny human for in your body for 40 weeks, pushing said tiny human out of your body only to then have a lifetime of unending love, accountability and obligation to that new little person to change you forever…I’m taking stock of the new me and here’s how my child has changed my life thus far.
- Priorities: The days are long behind me where I was my only priority. My obnoxious gym routine, eventful social life and post-work happy hours are no longer the highlights of my calendar. Now I’m scheduling doctor visits, planning my day carefully around naptimes and trying to find 20 minutes for a living room yoga session here and there…I have gracefully stepped down from #1 on the list to somewhere around #14 stuffed between laundry and more laundry.
- Anxiety: Suddenly I’m afraid of EVERYTHING…Basically every episode of House or Law & Order I’ve ever seen suddenly seems a likely scenario. My inner monologue sounds something like this: It’s definitely a possibility that my baby could potentially contract some sort of illness if she shares the same couch cushion my stinky dog likes to curl up on or perhaps a pesticide floating through the air could cause some sort of rare reaction in her tiny body while we’re out for our daily stroll…I’ve never seen that truck in this neighborhood before; I better memorize the license plate number. Did that lady just cough in my baby’s direction?! It’s rather exhausting. Clorox Wipes are purchased in bulk. I’m happy to report that the old 10-and-2 from driver’s training is back in action and I wouldn’t dare answer a phone call in the car. I’m just so aware of the dangers and possibilities lurking out there in the world. Having a baby makes you so conscious of the minor and major hazards that come with life in general…
- Understanding: I totally understand now that I must have sounded like a major a-hole to my friends with kids when I would say, “Just get a sitter!” or “Drop them off at your parent’s place!” or “Just pump some bottles!” Nothing is as easy as that when you have children and shaking up your child’s routine isn’t always worth a night out with the girls.
- Tired: It’s just a part of my personality now. I can practically hear people say, “Oh, Karla? Yeah she’s a great girl. She’s sweet, funny and always tired…” Dear Lord, I am tired. Exhausted, really. I have bags under my eyes that practically reach my chin. Even my hair is tired; I found my first gray recently during a rare session with the blow dryer. Even though my sweet little babe is finally allowing me some sleep I’m still utterly exhausted. My mother graciously shared with me that this feeling is here to stay. I’ll always be worried about my baby(ies) and will work my tail off to care for them and that will just drain me for the rest of my days. It’s a happy, satisfied sort of tired, I guess?
- Appearance: What’s gray, beige and wrinkled all over? My outfit. Suddenly the constraints of denim and underwire have become too much to bear. I’ve traded in my heels and skinny jeans for a more, uh, relaxed It’s not that I don’t care to make an effort, I would love to wear something other than elastic pants and old t-shirts, but when everything I put on eventually becomes covered in the bodily fluids of another person I just can’t justify the laundry.
I am learning to love the changes that parenting is bringing to my life. Going from single to married to married with children is a roller coaster of adjustment and sometimes I sit and think about how I used to be before all of this. Motherhood is infinitely more fulfilling than my single life was. I’m feeling emotions and a sense of purpose greater than I ever have and for that I am thankful.