Becoming a new parent comes with a lot of firsts. There is the first smile, the first tooth, the first word and the first unassisted steps. While we have only experienced a few of these first so far, sometimes we already feel like parental veterans.
Then, we are brought crashing down to Earth.
As our daughter approaches the eleven-month mark, it’s been indescribably awesome watching her grow. It’s also been shocking how little you can really be ready for all the responsibility, no matter how many times you’ve rehearsed things in your head.
It’s not so much the sleep deprivation from the midnight feedings or the never-ending diaper changes or repeatedly cleaning poop off the wall. It’s not even that your life will never again be as it once was. Nope.
A friend recently asked me what change has been the most challenging to get used to. “That’s simple,” I replied. “It’s simply getting out the door.”
Have a baby and gone are the days when you can just get up and go. There’s no such thing as a whim when you’re a new parent, especially with a newborn. Don’t forget to stock the diaper bag with diapers and wipes. Do you have the bottle? What about a change of clothes? Oh, and where did we put her blanket?
All these things and more go on to your and your partner’s checklist as you prepare to leave the house. And even then, it’s guaranteed you’ll still forget something. There’s no fear quite like being stuck miles from home and forgetting your daughter’s favorite pacifier. Jumping out of an airplane at 15,000 feet without a parachute holds more allure.
If you truly want to improve your organizational skills, have a kid. In no time you’ll be forced to make plans. One day you fret over the biggest decision being pizza or hamburgers and the next you’re researching preschools and 529 plans.
Being a new parent, at least for most of us, entails actually acting like an adult and living for someone other than yourself. It means double and triple-checking the stove to make sure you turned it off.
Then you’ll turn around and forget where you put your sunglasses. Because it’s in the baby carrier, where it fell while you leaned into to wipe spit up from her face.
You’ll get poop on your hand, or worse, and think it’s cute because it’s your daughter’s.
While parenthood is a helluva responsibility, and every once in a while I ask myself if I can actually do this, you see your little one’s face you’ll never want it any other way.