Quick, before it’s too late

Now that I have a child, every time I see an ad for a restaurant I never made it to, or an event that sounds like fun (but I know I wouldn’t have gone to), I think that if I had just known what life would be like post-baby, I would have been a little more carpe diem.

That’s not to say that I live in a fortress of solitude.I do go out without a baby strapped to me, and I have a great support group who babysit (also paid babysitters, which are fine but OH MY GOD $15 an hour is so much more than I made as a babysitter) so I can do things like go out for dinner (like we did last week for a very belated birthday) or kayaking.

Just now, as I quietly opened a beer in the kitchen (80’s room is next door), I had a realization. I was pondering why I hadn’t been more adventurous in going out to events pre-baby. The realization is that the impending baby feeling didn’t hit us until I was well into pregnancy. I’m sure this serves an important procreative purpose, since thinking about diapers and colic too much would probably put usall off having a babies everl.

The downside is that I only realize in retrospect how much more fun I could have been having. If you would have asked me two years ago if I wanted to go across the city on a school night to see an author speak at a bookshop, I would have probably passed. Now, I’d say “OH MY GOD YES, AND ARE YOU WILLING TO BABYSIT TOO?”, because getting a break from family life is a Real Big Treat now.

So, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, to quote Joni Mitchell* in the original, ungrammatically correct line from “Big Yellow Taxi”. You don’t want to scare yourself out of having a family, so don’t think too hard about this (unless you have children, in which case, I’d really like to hear your thoughts en-comment).

If I could turn back time**, I’d let not-yet-mama Sonya know that taking weekend trips outta town, or going to skillshares are easy and a treat, that they will be missed in the future.

For now, I do get to say that I THOROUGHLY enjoy any outing I get, and I’m sure there are aspects about life right now that I’ll wish I could freeze. Hmm. Like, perhaps, the fact that my child has never yet intentionally defied me.

*It’s been said more than once that Mitchell’s my celebrity doppelganger.
**I’m not going to bother quoting Cher, since it’s a lot less poignant.

  1. Hmm. Maybe I was too adventurous before I had children. I don’t miss it. At all. My only “oh why?!” moments will be cleared up when the boys are all seven or older, I think. (These all involve a crazy toddler that doesn’t sit in carts and hates to let us shop with purpose.)

    Do you know.. I’ve never left my kids with another person (besides my husband, of course) for more than two hours? Ever. So that’s 8.5 years of kids All The Time. And I don’t go out by myself, really. I just don’t like to. If I can’t coerce at least one sprout to come with me, I’ll generally just stay at home.

    All of the things that I want to do now, I want to share with my kids. It’s frustrating that two of them are much too young for a lot of the things we’d like to do (like road trips). But kids grow up, eventually.

    Maybe I’m just a crazy homebody. (:

    Also. I think it’s so very, very normal to feel exactly as you are. I’d venture to say that 95% of first time parents (and many second, third, etc too) feel that way at times. I was so sleep deprived with my oldest that I can’t remember.. well.. much. So I can’t really say if I felt differently then.

  2. I think this being my first time means I don’t have any of the perspective of someone who knows the routine of packing up the kids to go do whatever. That, plus winter weather have turned me into a homebody I’m not happy with.

    Even leaving the house with 80 doesn’t happen often (enough). I need to get into the practice of leaving the house! That it’s less wintery, and she’s getting older and more interested in her surroundings should help.

    We went to a family band performance at a toy store on Friday. That was a bit much, since 80 wasn’t able to sit unattended to listen to the music, and there were TOYS EVERYWHERE. And overly warm. I like a good party, but that was a bit much.

  3. Sounds like winter cooped up syndrome has gotten to you. You are going to feel so much better when it’s warm and you can take 80 out for a stroll without all the tedious bundling. I always just take my kids with me wherever I go and they get used to going places and doing different things. Babies this age can be tricky on longer trips because they can get really pissed off about being contained in a carseat. This will pass. Hang in there, warm weather is a-coming. We need to get you and 80 down here for some Toe Jam! I bet she would love it.

  4. You make it sound easy. I guess Tank was a little older than 80 when I met you, but then again, you also had a 4yo.

    I think what I need is a day of hanging out with you and your family.

  5. Get yourself down here soon! Or I can text you the next time we are planning on hitting the aquarium. 🙂

  6. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally intimidated by taking all of my kids out at once without my husband. Said crazy toddler makes for bundles of fun while jugging the giant infant and bickering with the tetchy eight year old.

    And once Summer hits around here – it’s no use. It’s too damned hot to bother leaving the house. Instead of bundling, they whine about sweating and hot seat belts. Whee!

  7. I hear you on the winter cooped up syndrome. I had to get out of the house for my own sanity, so I would just throw everything we needed for the day in the bottom of the stroller and get walking, it was easier when he was a baby, I could wear him, but also take the stroller and he would nap in, like for hours, so I could go to a coffee shop or library. I miss those days. Those are long gone. But he has been out so much he does well in any kind of restaurant, social setting and loves the grocery store. But I do miss my pre-baby self. I do. Even when I am out with out him, I just don’t feel the same, I am always, always thinking about him. And then I miss how social the world is when you have a baby, and when I am out on my own, I think why aren’t you smiling at me? Even though I am supposed to be relishing in that alone time. But you were there when he was newborn, and we all went to the independent and he slept through dinner, like 3 hours, that is the stuff you can do with a baby, he would sleep in pubs/restaurants like that almost until he was a year. So go out, while it’s easier!

  8. Part of the problem is I’ve gotten 80 really good at the routine of napping at home, and of having perfect quiet when we nurse or nap. We tried having her fall asleep in the carrier while at a museum last weekend, and it just did not happen.

    I think it would take more bravery on my part to get out of the home routine. I’m conflicted, because having a good routine is what makes babies thrive, but I also don’t think I’m supposed to have my life revolve around her — and it is.

    But if I’m going to change the routine, I need to start making some effort. This week, I have a meeting about a playgroup on Thursday morning, and 80’s going to need to nap at the playspace. I’m totally stressed about that, but it’s probably going to be fine.

    I do remember going to the Independent with you when we first met O — I can’t imagine a roadtrip with a newborn, but you do what you have to do. That’s what we need to do now, find some things to do that require 80 to learn how to nap elsewhere.

  9. You’re a mom, how can your life not revolve around her? It just happens! A good routine is a good thing, but she will change that on her own, go down to 2 naps and then one and something could come up; it is always changing. Do what you are comfortable with, take little steps, see if she’ll sleep on a walk, and if not, go back home. I know the nap time is precious, time to just be; but if you need to get out of the house, do it, you live in an amazing city, she’ll be fine with you exploring! It can be so isolating at home, she’ll get used to the noises and learn to turn them out. I think if you’re happy she will be happy, so include what you need! You are most important!

    That road trip was hell, I wouldn’t want to go through that again, but you’re right, you do what you have to do.

  10. I had similar thoughts early on about things that are now not so easily done with a baby. However, last week I went to visit friends and was away from Jasper for 4 nights, the longest time period to date and only the second trip away from him ever. I was so excited to see my friends, but missed him most of the time. I think the grass always seems greener. Anyway I decided that was too long for me to do again, or at least any time soon. Now when away from him I find myself thinking, “Oh, I wish Jasper were here as he would really enjoy seeing this.”

    For your own sanity, I would try to start being a little noisier at home so she can fall asleep better when you are away from home. Perhaps she’ll get used to sleeping in other places if you are able to get out more. Good luck!

  11. Agreed. I’ve started playing NPR during naps. Any other suggestions for making things louder without going overboard?

  12. Hang in there! My son is about 1 month younger than 80 and he goes nearly everywhere with me. Plane trips, shopping, out to eat, with friends or just the two of us. At some point I guess I just decided I had to get out, so now we just go. He’s not much of a napper, though, so I just let him nap en route or whatever seems to float his boat. That said, I’m a WM vs. SAH Mom so time is precious…

  13. i totally wrestle with all this as well. when i am going to be out and about during wenonah’s nap time i also get stressed because, as we both know, a missed or cut short nap can totally ruin the whole day (if not the next 3 days…). one thing i have found really helpful is bringing the ‘sleep sheep’ with us whenever we leave the house so that if we are going to be somewhere with noise and wenonah is asleep or needs to be nursed down i can crank it to full volume and put it near her head. at first i was worried this would mean she would never be able to sleep without the sleep sheep but this has not happened and, in fact, i think the sleep sheep has made it easier for her to sleep places with noise even when i dont have it. in a way i think the sleep sheep has helped me ‘wean’ her from completely controlled, very quiet sleep time. we have both the sleep sheep and the sleep giraffe because i have one in the car.

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