When you find out that you’re going to have a baby, one thing you will hear over and over again is, “Everything is about to change!” or, “Your life will never be the same!” When people would say this to me I would respond, “Oh I know!” with a smile on my face. But I didn’t really know. I mean, I knew that my life would change, I just didn’t know the specific ways in which it would change. Here I am, 7 weeks in to parenthood (is my baby girl really almost 2 months old?!), very aware of the ways my life has changed. So I thought I would share some of them with you :):
Here is an example of getting ready to leave in the morning pre-baby:
- wake up to alarm
- enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee while watching TV or reading
- get dressed
- put on makeup
- tousle my hair with some product (I’ve always been more of a night-time showerer)
- grab my bag and walk out the door.
Total time: 1 hour.
Here is an example of getting ready to leave in the morning post-baby:
- wake up to baby monitor
- attempt to drink coffee while feeding baby, but fail
- finish feeding baby, then reheat coffee
- baby needs a diaper change so I put down the coffee to go change her.
- reheat coffee a 2nd time.
- baby spits up everywhere, so I go change her outfit
- reheat coffee a 3rd time.
- Realize I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, so put baby in her bouncy seat and get a bowl of cereal
- baby starts getting fussy so I put cereal down to go console her
- come back and cereal is soggy. Oh well, eat it anyway.
- Pump a bottle for later in the day, since we will be out for coffee in the afternoon with friends (and I do not yet have the guts to nurse in public, even with the little cape thing).
- Decide not to shower for the sake of saving time, but baby spits up in my hair, so I have no choice.
- take the quickest possible shower and pray that baby enjoys her bouncy seat for a little while
- Get out of the shower and get half of my makeup on, but baby needs another diaper change (she HATES being dirty…but loves getting her diaper changed, which is really cute)
- Finish changing diaper, put baby in her cradle and finish applying my makeup.
- Start drying my hair, but baby decides that she is suddenly really unhappy with her cradle and needs a change of scenery.
- Try to find something to keep baby happy, and finally finish drying my hair.
- Start straightening my hair and realize that all my clothes that still fit are in the washing machine, so pause on doing my hair, throw the clothes in the dryer, and pray they will be done before I have to walk out the door (we don’t want to be a repeat offender on the no pants situation… if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my baby brain stories in one of my pregnancy posts…)
- Finish straightening my hair and baby is hungry again
- Feed baby and finish at 12:26, when I have to be out the door by 12:30 and realize I haven’t eaten any lunch yet!.
Total time: 2 and a half hours. And this the account of an actual day last week.
If you want to hang out sometime and I ask if we can meet at my apartment, please give me the grace to be “that” mom…
OK let’s see, other changes…
Oh yea, there’s that to-do list on my fridge that stares at me with an evil look, laughing and mocking me every time I walk by it. Pre-baby, I would make daily to-do lists. Now, it’s looking like a monthly thing… maybe longer. I’ll let you know once I’ve actually completed one. Or even checked more than one thing off of it, for that matter!
Reading my Bible, working out, showering, napping, house chores. I used to just try and figure out in which order I would do these things each day. Now I have to figure out which one of these things I will do in a given day. I might be able to do 2 things on that list if it’s a good day! But I always have to let a few of them go every day. Talk about learning how to prioritize! This may be the first time in my life that I have really understood that as a challenge. There have been plenty of times in my life where I thought it was hard to balance priorities… and then I had a baby! And with that reality,
sometimes naps just need to take precedent ;-).
Which leads me to the next super obvious one: sleep. Let’s just go ahead and start with evenings in general. We’ve just started putting Riley down for the night at 8 or 8:30 in attempt to cultivate healthy sleep habits and more routine. The process of putting her to bed can sometimes be up to an hour or longer, since she has recently decided to fight sleep even when she is obviously exhausted. So if friends want to hang out and have a game night or what have you, it’s tricky to figure out how that coincides with baby and bed time. Especially since even if we decide to let her stay up a bit longer, she’s just going to be a cranky pants (yes I say things like that now, go ahead and add that one to the list ;-)). And then of course, once we finally get her down in her crib, we know she will be waking up again around 12 or 1, 3 or 4, and 6 or 7. Thankfully, Jordan is amazing and takes one of the feedings, so we usually each end up getting up once with her in the night.
Cleaning the apartment. There are no longer “cleaning days.” Instead, it’s more like “cleaning moments.” A counter-top here, a floor there, a toilet here, run the vacuum through one room there… over the course of several days.
Going anywhere for more than 2 hours. Breastfeeding is such a commitment and takes a lot of planning. If I know I’m going to be out and about during one of her feeding times or I will be out longer than a couple of hours, I have to plan accordingly with pumping. A lot more planning goes into doing everything now.
Drinking wine. One of my favorite things to do at the end of the day is to enjoy a glass of wine! I’m thankful that I can do this, now that I am no longer pregnant. But planning also goes into this, since I have to wait a couple of hours after drinking alcohol before I can nurse again. So typically I wait until after Riley’s 7 or 8pm feeding and then it’s, “Quick! This is my only time frame to have a glass!” And I have to finish it in an hour.
There is also the new “start-and-stop” pattern of my life. Start an email. Start making the bed. Start reading a book. Start watching an episode. Start catching up with a friend over the phone. Start a blog post (I’ve tried this one a few times, it was a big deal to finally get past the title!) It seems to be a miracle if any of these things come to completion! Many things must be left to be finished later… whenever “later” is ;-).
But the most important way my life has changed is my capacity to love. I never knew I could love this much. And not just with Riley. I never knew I could love my husband this much. There were times in pregnancy that I was worried about how our marriage would change with a baby. Things will never be the same, it will never be just the two of us. But now that she is here I’m glad it won’t be, because it has been so much richer with the 3 of us. Having a baby with Jordan has made me love and appreciate him more than I could have dreamed possible.
Parenthood has taught me both how selfish I am, and how selfless I can be. Now that my life and schedule are constantly at the mercy of a child, I realize just how much my life and schedule have always been all about me. I am not used to having to be so sacrificial and serving; but I also never knew that I would have the instinct to abandon any of my own needs so instantly to care for another. Motherhood brings out a fierce protector/provider instinct that I never knew I had.
A friend of mine (shout out Megan Katherine) recently said it best: “Motherhood is impossible to describe accurately. The words never seem strong enough and you can’t quite convey your emotions to the degree that they exist.” I could never explain in any blog how much I love Riley Grace Maroon and how much I love being her mom.
One of my favorite memories with Riley was the week before Christmas. We went with Jordan to his staff conference, where we had a little apartment suite and while Jordan was in meetings during the day, it was just Riley and I with no TV, cable or internet. I couldn’t get over how much I just loved being with her in the quiet, stillness of our days there together. She is beautiful and incredible. It is crazy how when I feel like I need space and alone time and Jordan watches her while I go out for a bit, I miss her and think about her the whole time. Or how after a night of little sleep and lots of fussing, she can look up at me with one smile and I instantly forget how hard the whole night was or how tired I feel and all I can think about is blessed or in love I am.
I’ll leave you with a picture of one more way my life has changed: