This may be premature of me, but having a baby really hasn’t changed too much about our lives, other than he has increased our joy, and sometimes our frustrations. Perhaps it was because my eyes were wide open and my expectations were realistic that I have not felt this enormous sense of change in my life. What having a baby has done is clarified some things I already knew to be true, and made them sharper, and more true...more pronounced. If there was a goal lurking for the future in the back of my mind, bringing the little Duckling into our life made me hunger anew to reach that goal. Motherhood has heightened my taste for things I already loved and my hopes for the future. And yet, realistically, my time is no longer my own. ALL of my time belongs to the baby before anything else, but I couldn’t call that a change so much as a fulfilled expectation, something I knew would happen.
Allow me to comment on some of the changes people said would take place. I hope that in doing so it encourages someone, somewhere, that motherhood is not always riddled with negative cliches.
You’ll do so much more laundry. No, that hasn’t happened. Maybe one more load a week. You see, before duckling was ever here, I did at least one load of laundry every day and back to back loads on Saturday. Now, I have maybe one extra load a week. If anyone wants to have a real laundry challenge, forget children. Get a husband who holds two full time jobs- one with a uniform and the other where he gets good and dirty building something, oh, let’s say a house. Then get three good sized dogs who need bedding washed, and add in your own work clothes, good clothes, and Sunday clothes. Don’t forget the linens. Now that is some serious laundry. A few onesies and baby blankets don’t up that ante.
You’ll be dying to get out of the house. Wrong again. I had to be out of the house within 48 hours of being discharged from the hospital, because that was when the pediatrician needed to see our baby. Frankly, the Duckling and I swim out quite often, and I love a good day at home where we don’t have to leave the pond.
Your body will never be the same. Whose body ever stays the same? My body is not the same as it was when I was 20 or 30 years old, it certainly isn’t the same today. It’s won’t be the same in another ten years.
You’ll be so tired. Please. I was never as tired as I was when I drove 50 miles each way to a draining full time job, and then came home cooked supper, picked and canned tomatoes, and collapsed into bed to do it all over again the next day. Or as tired as I was when I worked my way through college...TWICE.
Now here are some myths I made up in my own mind that I thought would happen...
I won’t be worried about germs all the time. It turns out I’m a protective pain in the neck and don’t like my baby passed around a lot. I’m weary of public places and appreciate it when people wash their hands before holding my duckling. I really appreciate it when people instruct their children not to run up and touch the baby.
The baby is very portable and won’t stop me from going places. Well, yes and no. I don’t mind taking him out where we need to go, and I have no trouble getting errands done. BUT sometimes, he does stop me. I didn’t anticipate my baby being fussy and colicky. If there was a day where he screamed at me for ten hours, well I wasn’t subjecting the good shoppers at Walgreens to THAT. Duckling gives me about 2 hours to get done what I need to do, and I’ll gladly work with that for now.
People will stop being nice to me and stop opening doors for me once I’m no longer pregnant. Boy, was I wrong. People have even approached me and offered to carry my packages into the post office when they see I’m saddled with a newborn. If strangers were polite and accommodating when I was expecting, they flat out bend over backwards now.
And let me finish with a thought I had that did come true. That every day I would be thankful for my healthy baby boy and be in awe that God has trusted me with such a special little person. It’s like being handed the most important assignment ever and constantly marveling that you were chosen to carry out this important responsibility.