Thursday, April 22, 2010

Observations on (New) Parenthood

I realized last night why magazines are so popular with mothers of young children and, I suppose, with women in general - short articles and sidebars can be all you have time to read, especially while trying to manage a household and take care of a child (yeah, I still don't know how women with several children do it, and I'm a little worried about myself once Robbie learns to walk). I've always been a pretty voracious reader, and will often finish an entire book in one sitting, and most novels within a few days. Now, it's taken me over a week to get through one magazine, mostly read in bits and pieces in the bathroom while the baby was napping. The novel I'd started on and took to the hospital with me when he was born is still sitting, unfinished, on the table beside my chair - I think I've read one chapter in the last month, and wonder if I'll ever be get around to reading it, or starting on any of the new books I bought in the last couple months.

That's just a small thing, but it's still surprising me how much having a baby is changing even small little things in my life and daily routine. I bought a few trendy purses right before I got pregnant, on a last minute shopping fling with my mom, but I find it's much easier to carry a diaper bag and throw my wallet, keys, & cell phone in there with the baby's stuff than to carry a purse as well. I also never realized how different it was going to be even going to a restaurant - he's too small for a regular high chair, so eating out involves bringing not only the baby and diaper bag, but also an infant seat (reclines, so he doesn't have to hold his head up) that has to be strapped to the chair, and usually calls for a feeding and diaper change at some point in the evening (on a good night, he eats while we wait for the food, and doesn't need changing until right before we leave). I've also learned to bring 2 changes of clothes for him, and at least one for me, everywhere we go.

There are other things that I never imagined either, one being how in love I am with my little man, and how much time I can spend just looking at him and thinking how cute & precious he is. Another is how much my life would change - even simple decisions like going back to finish my education or working, even part-time, are being weighed against how it would effect his life and my time with him - it turns out a lot of the decisions I thought were pretty simple no longer are, because right now I could not imagine leaving him in someone else's care. In taking care of him, I am taking better care of myself too, because I'm wanting to model healthy habits for him, and be able to play and be more active so I can share things he might enjoy as he grows up.
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