HOW TO: BE THE ONLY ONE WITH A BABY
Sometimes it is so unbelievably hard. Sometimes you feel like it’s overkill. Sometimes you hear yourself and think “Oh my word, these people have to think I’m ridiculous.”
But being the only one with a baby is not easy. When none of your friends have had a baby yet, you’re stuck. People want to have dinner at 8pm, um…what? That’s literally bedtime. Or they pick a “kid activity” like going to the zoo…on a day that it’s supposed to be 92 degrees plus your infant gives like…zero effs about the giraffes. They don’t think about feeding schedules, nap schedules, the fact that it is the middle of flu season, extra outfits, extra diapers, plastic bags for carrying around those blow-out-clothes, extra pacis, toys to keep her occupied for 5 minute increments, where to feed the babe? will she be too hot in the stroller? will she want to be carried? should I bring the carrier? is it gonna be too loud in there? will the stroller even fit in there? You get the picture.
Even my husband has taken a long time to adjust. He simply doesn’t consider Tess in his plans to spend the afternoon fishing on the pier in 90 degree heat with no shade and nowhere cool for her to nap and nowhere to nurse. I can’t fault him for it because it takes adjusting. From the day you saw that little “+” you’ve been thinking about her wellbeing. You had 8ish months to mull it over, to realize that your life would change, to understand that there weren’t going to be anymore margaritas at 10PM type of evenings for a while. You’re the Mama, you are that little one’s life source. Literally everything from food, to sleep, to hygiene, to safety, you’re it. You cover the gamete, and you’re used to it. You can’t blame everyone else for not considering the little life that is your sole responsibility. But it gets frustrating. Even my own parents and in-laws, they’ve OBVIOUSLY had children before, but they aren’t at a time in their lives anymore where they have to consider feeding and nap schedules or the noise level or the temperature or certain activities.
Sometimes I want to look at people and say “Are you flipping joking? No. Tess isn’t going to sit through [insert normal adult activity here].”
But I don’t. There are a few things that have helped me to cope with being the only one with a baby.
I mean seriously, you remember back to a year ago? When you were 20-something and all you wanted to do was go out and have a beer? Ok, honestly me neither. More like all I wanted to do was Netflix & chill + Pinterest with a root beer float. But whatevs. Once a homebody, always a homebody. Lots of my friends have been big on “doing things” like concerts, bars, breweries etc. So, you have to remember that they aren’t going to consider a little one. They won’t think about all those Mama things. Just be patient and kind in how you respond to their ludacris suggestions.
Sometimes it won’t be easy. You’re going to have to pack a diaper bag + a purse + an extra toys bag + a carrier + a stroller and just go for it. Sometimes when you don’t want to miss out and you know that no one is willing to change the location or time or day, you’ve just gotta adapt. Mamas are amazing at adapting and rolling with it, comes with the territory. Obviously, this is much easier to do when your little one is a little bit older and not so prone to sickness etc. But sometimes you’ve just got to drop your new-Mama-anxiety at the door and say, “Let’s go!”
Hand-off your kid.
Seriously. I had a hard time doing this when Tess was younger, but you know how the best way I explain to people that having a child is not conducive to all activities? I just walk in and let whoever planned the 8PM barbeque hold her for a while. Make yourself just unavailable enough – not so that your child suffers – but enough so the ringleader gets why you suggested an earlier time. Maybe this is a little bit catty, but hey, works like a charm. Seriously, just let them have a fussy, wiggle-wormy, who cannot be calmed down no matter how you try, hold a frustrated little babe in their arms for a few minutes and they’ll sing a different tune for the next outing. Especially those who are not used to being around babies at all – you’ll forever change their perspective.
Learn to Say No.
I’ve always had trouble with overcommitting myself. Ever since high school, I could never say no to people when they would invite me places or ask me to help with something. But you know what the best excuse in the world is? A kid.
“Sorry, Tess is just cranky.”
“Sorry, Tess is sick.”
“Sorry, Tess is already in bed for the night and she’ll be up in 2 hours to nurse!”
It gets easier too. Knowing that you’re “missing out” on things. You just care less about those moments and care more about the moments spent with your child. Watching them grow and learn and develop…even the simplest things like discovering themselves in the mirror. It matters so much more than the concert you missed.
Above all just cherish your time as a parent. Especially as a parent of little ones; babies don’t keep! And as they say, the days are long, the nights are short, but the years fly by!