Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Johnson & Johnson is right...

...Having a baby does change everything. Have you seen those commercials? I've seen them here and there since I was pregnant, but I've been seeing more of them lately during the Olympics since J&J is a sponsor. They've had some cute ones featuring olympic athletes, namely swimmer Summer Sanders, comparing her greatest achievements--a gold medal vs. something soft and pink--and comparing her hardcore swimming to her kid just splashing around in the tub. There have been other generic ones in the past, but all with the same tagline..."Having a baby changes everything." They couldn't be more right. Yesterday a co-worker and I were discussing baby stuff (she's got a nine month old) and how you just don't get it until you have a baby. We were speaking simply about being completely blown away by how cute and amazing your child is, but that's not even getting into the obvious stuff like not being able to go to the store on a whim or easily take a vacation or get up when you feel like it. Here's the top things I've noticed:

1. Everything needs to be planned out - Jacob's schedule rules, so going out anywhere takes some pre-planning...whether it's working around a feeding or a nap, going while he's napping (thank goodness motion puts him to sleep--I did one three-stop shopping trip one day, and between the car and the stoller, he was out for the whole thing), or planning out the contents of the diaper bag if we're out long enough for a feeding or diaper changes. Nothing is just "get up and go" anymore.

2. Life is pretty much "on demand" now...and I don't get a vote - Jacob hasn't learned patience yet. If he's hungry, he cries until he gets fed. And since 95% of the time (at home, anyway), I'm the one feeding him, it means I have to put down what I'm doing and feed him. In general there's just a lot of things that I have to do, whether it's getting out of bed when I really don't want to or having to wash bottles every single night or having to pump every three or so hours so I'm not in pain. I feel bad, but Craig often gets stuck on Jacob duty (not that watching Jacob is bad, but I'm sure he's got a list of a few other things he'd like to do when he's home for the evening), because certain things have to take priority. If it's something I need to do (like wash bottles or write overdue baptism invitiations or get shoes so I can get a bridesmaid dress altered ASAP), then he's on baby duty while those things are happening. It's usually the easiest option.

3. I can survive on less sleep than I thought I could - I'm moderately functional at work on about five hours. Nothing less than six was manageable before. I still get tired and it still sneaks up on me in nasty ways, but at least I can function most of the time. I tend to get cranky/panicked/exhausted at the most inopportune times, of course, but fortunately I don't think it happens as often as I thought it would.

4. Priorities totally shift - This is a no-brainer, but it manifests itself in different ways than I thought it would. Certain little nagging things that I would think about before barely cross my mind anymore. TV has slid down the scale a lot...though the Olympics may have something to do with that now...but even still, my attention to TV shows is greatly reduced when I'm trying to feed or entertain a baby. Thank goodness for DVR and the ability to rewind live shows. Even a trip to a department store changes. Where I used to run to the women's clearance clothes racks, now I barely peruse those but run to the baby clearance to see if I can snag a good deal for Jacob. Even in our home improvements...central air popped right to the top of the list when we realized our house might get too hot for Jacob, pushing my kitchen renovation down a bit. A new stationary tub has also climbed the list, because I want a place to be able to wash out dirty clothes (poopy now, muddy later). Our current tub is old, the finish is peeling, and I don't want to know what kind of sludge makes itself at home there. Finally, going home at the end of the day isn't really about me anymore. I eagerly drive home just because I want to see Jacob. I suppose part of the "not about me" thing is because my evenings aren't mine anymore (see #2), but considering I spend all day looking at the pictures of Jacob around my cubicle, getting home to him is definitely a priority. And those are just a few examples.

5. Conversations shift - I never thought I'd have lengthy conversations with people about poop or gas. And yet, with what's been going on with Jacob lately, those have come up more and more. I'm also having some of those "mommy" conversations with people at work. In the past they might have bored me, but yup...there I am now, right in the middle of it all.

I could probably write more, but my lunch is over and it's time to pump as well...but maybe another day...

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