Something I totally took for granted until I had a baby is “just.” Just running an errand. Just going for a run. Just grabbing lunch with a girlfriend.
You don’t “just” do anything anymore. Everything now takes planning and strategy and the tiniest bit of divine intervention. And even then, there’s Murphy’s Law to deal with. If you do not bring a burp cloth, he will spit up. If you do remember the change of clothes, he will not need it. It’s like a real-life Rubik’s Cube combined with calculus combined with a trip to the craps table. You get the point.
Allow me to explain:
Going to the store.
You have to look for that perfect window of time where he has woken up from his nap, has eaten and is freshly changed. If you try to do anything else besides immediately go to the store after all the stars align, then you are screwed, my friend. You are just eating into that window of available time. If you make it out of the store alive (read: without anyone touching him with their nasty, germy, flu-infested hands), you can time it just right to get home and start the naptime routine…even though he will fall asleep in the car.
Going to Sunday Mass.
First there’s the gamble: diaper bag or no diaper bag? My thought is that if something happens that is big enough to need the diaper bag, I should probably leave anyway. (Sorry, God). You decide not to take Sophie in because she is too squeaky and noisy; although, it’s not like it really matters, because he’ll likely decide to practice his newly learned “dadadadada” during the middle of the homily. Or burp really loudly during the Gospel.
Going to the zoo.
This one can be tricky. First comes the sunscreen, which is always a treat to slather on a wiggly baby. Then there’s the sun hat, which typically will be impossible to tie in place under the chin. If your kid is anything like mine, he will be interested in chewing on the strings, which will make it come untied. Your stroller compartment probably isn’t big enough to hold the diaper bag and your purse, so you’ve got to figure out that whole thing too. After all this, your baby is probably too young to know the difference between a lion and a lemur, and he is all but guaranteed to fall asleep.
Going on a walk.
This one’s probably the easiest, though it will take you about ten minutes to get ready; add seven minutes for cold weather. Snowsuit or sweater? Blanket or no blanket? Is he too hot? Too cold? Do we need sunscreen? Oh great, he just pooped. Undress, rinse, repeat.
Making plans with a friend.
The one day that you make plans with a friend will be the one day that your baby takes a Guinness World Record-breaking nap. This will also be the day that you have agreed to meet at Panera for lunch before you go shopping “because he’s always up by 11, so we’ll have time to do both.” This means, of course, that he will sleep until 11:30, and your friend’s baby will wake up earlier than usual; so the opportunistic window that is normally very small is now about the size of the eye of a needle.
Going to the gym.
This is probably the trickiest puzzle there is. I have unfortunately created a totally dependent, breastfeeding champ who wants NOTHING to do with a bottle. He is an awesome sleeper, but is hungry when he wakes up…kind of like his mommy! This means that I must wake up a full two hours earlier than I would typically have to just to make sure that I can be home in time for my little boyfriend to arise. There was one instance where he woke up when I was gone…and let’s just say I came home to an angry daddy and even angrier baby.
Even though I’ve lost the “just” part of my life, there are so many more things I’ve gained that totally surpass any of the freedom I had before. Like baby yawns and baby snuggles. More on that later. 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna is a stay-at-home mom and wife from the Motor City who is struggling with a McDonald’s Diet Coke addiction. She loves sports (especially the Tigers!), books, exercise, Detroit, cereal and her family. She feels so blessed to be able to stay home with her baby boy…every day is a new adventure!