When my husband Patrick and I were engaged, we got the usual amount of You’ll seeeee! statements regarding marriage. Once we took off our rose-colored glasses, we’d see how it really was–what we were really like, what the world was like, what relationships were really like. The thing is though…so far, that hasn’t happened. I think a large part of this is due more to expectations versus reality, and not so much because of who we are as a couple.
Expecting a big event to change everything (or change nothing) will have a big impact on your reaction to said change (or lack of change), especially if you don’t talk about those expectations. If you go into marriage thinking, “NOW he won’t spend all his time at band practice!” and he has no such thought process, that’s bound to cause a rift.
So now we’re about to have a baby, and people are, once again, telling us that we’ll seeeee. I don’t doubt that things will change. The thing is though, some of those changes are changes I welcome. We’ve been bored with the status quo the last few years1 and are looking forward to this massive shift in our lives–even some parts that might at first appear sucky, like longer commutes. Will we seeeee? Maybe. But I’d like to think that we’re going into this knowing full well everything is about to change, even if we don’t know what all of those changes will be just yet. That’s what we signed up for: change. We don’t expect things to return to “normal.” The expectation is that “normal” will change.
Changes to which I look forward
Having someone to care for in place of free time
I have a fair amount of free time after work, but I’ll be honest and say I spend a lot of it on the Internet being bored. This is largely because I’m a homebody, but I also realize that a lot of that time could be put to better use.2 I’m looking forward to not having an entire day set aside for Internetting, if only because I know how little good it does me anyway. I like to feel like I’m not actively wasting my time. I know, I know, laugh bitterly and tell me to say that in a month. You won’t be the first!
Experiencing things with the baby
Introducing people to your favorite things is wonderful. Will picnics at Maymont be a little more cumbersome? Most likely. But I’d like to imagine that they won’t be prohibitively difficult with a baby. I need my kid to meet the kids! I’m sure our daughter won’t care in those early days, but I’m excited to introduce my daughter to the world and re-experience things through fresh eyes. Sure, I’m scared of being that hated person with a crying baby in public, but I’m so, so looking forward to taking her out in the world, too. I’ll take the good with the bad.
Longer commutes and soundtrack choices
This seems way counter-intuitive, even to me. While I’m not looking forward to doubling our monthly gas costs getting the baby to her grandma’s on my way to work every day, or getting home much later than I’m used to, I am looking forward to that time we’ll have in the car together. Just us and Ira Glass. Or us and Iron & Wine.3 Speaking of music, I refuse to believe that I’ll never listen to “my” music again post-baby. But I’m also not against listening to kid stuff instead. There are some great soundtracks out there and now I won’t feel silly listening to them in the car because LOOK LOOK THERE’S A KID I’M NOT A WEIRDO LISTENING TO ‘THE LION KING’ ALONE.
Limiting screen time
My husband and I took the TV out of our living room a while back and haven’t missed it. Having the baby around seems like an encouragement to continue the practice and amp up our attempts at not being tied to devices in place of IRL interactions.
Nobody told me these and similar pants were so comfortable. Screw my Oxford-corduroy-tweedy aesthetics! Being a parent gives me license to wear stretch pants, and I fully intend on enjoying it when I’m off the work-clock.
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Changes of which I am wary
Sleeping less (obviously)
Everyone keeps telling me to sleep now, but this pregnancy has seemed like a cruel joke in that respect.4 If one could bank sleep and then dip into it later, like a sleep savings account, that’d be great but I don’t get the impression that’s how things work. Flop.
I’m a worrier. Having a little person whose entire existence is my responsibility is scary. I will basically worry about everything now.
Fear while driving
While I’m looking forward to commuting with the baby insofar as having the time together to listen to stuff seems kind of pleasant, I’m not looking forward to the sheer terror I expect to feel about every other driver on the road.
Possibly loving our dogs less
They drive me a bit bonkers already,5 but they’re a part of our family, and I worry I’m going to see them more as annoyances and less as family members once our family expands its human population. Will I lose my marbles when they inevitably wake the baby with their “Barooooo there is a PERSON walking down our STREET oh my GOD” alerts?
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I know things are about to change mightily, but change is what propels us in life. Change is what makes life an experience and not a treadmill of dormancy. I don’t really want my life to revolve forever around just me, my husband, and our dogs. We’ve been there, done that. On to the next adventure! Change, please!
Photo by: BoogaFrito
- In part I think this is due to our directly hitting brick wall after brick wall in trying to change that status quo and failing. Thanks infertility! ↩
- In the past I’ve spent time volunteering, but that’s been largely curtailed due to pregnancy–I know, I know, lame excuse is lame. In my defense, I was specifically cut off from the rescue horse farm work I’d been doing by my doctor who said “NO HORSES”. Nay, I said. Nay! But I complied. ↩
- My husband says he feels the same, although more in the “Just us and Tesseract” direction. ↩
- Nerve pain and hip pain and back spasms, oh my. ↩
- Life with two herding dogs! ↩