Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What you do today matters

When I was at the end of my pregnancy with Charlotte the most common question I received was, “Are you ready for the baby to be born?!” I guess towards the end of most women’s pregnancies they are miserable and ready to be done and have the baby out. I however, was different. I would always reply that I wasn’t ready for the baby to be born and was happy to have her where she was on the inside. I knew that once baby was born, life would become more complicated and I wouldn’t be able to be as free anymore and I don’t think there is anything that can prepare you for that change.

 Now that Charlotte is here, I love having her to hold in my arms every day. I find myself going against most book recommendations of letting her sleep in my bed because she sleeps better and I enjoy her cuddling with me. She prefers being held to being laid down so most of my day is spent holding her or having her in the baby sling because it truly is the only way I can accomplish anything. 
She is an instant conversation starter wherever we go as people go bananas over babies. There is innocence about them as well as a sense that they are hard to win over. People love holding a baby when it isn’t crying - it makes them feel like they are a good person and are doing something right. I don’t think there is a faster way to make someone feel like crap then having them hold a baby and it starts screaming.

While babies are sweet, innocent, loving and snuggle bugs they can also be a pain in the butt. There are ways Charlotte affects my day to day life that I had no idea she would until she was here. I am not talking about lack of sleep or the fact I can hardly feed myself because I’m feeding her all day, I am talking day to day simplicities I once took for granted. Since I have so many friends who are new moms or are about to become mom’s I thought I’d address the things that you can no longer do as easily now that you have a baby in tow. I’m skipping the obvious luxuries and giving you examples of things I miss on a daily basis:

Coffee runs. I once thought nothing about running in to 7 eleven for an iced coffee. After having Charlotte there is now a whole production with taking the car seat in and out of the car on any errand we go. I have to think, “is that iced coffee really worth it?” I don’t think it’s socially acceptable to leave a baby in the car while you run in somewhere although believe me I’ve thought about it. Then I remember how I’ve had concerned citizens surrounding my car when I leave my dog in there and think better about doing so. Places with drive thru’s are your new best friend.

Grocery shopping. Unfortunately not every place has a drive thru and you will be forced to leave your vehicle and go inside. If it is raining or snowing I avoid even trying to go to the store because it’s too much of a hassle. I have found it is preferable to park by where the grocery carts are returned so I can grab the car seat and put Charlotte in the cart easily and then wheel her in the store. These grocery store outings have to be carefully timed with a nap so I usually do my shopping on our way home from somewhere when she’s already asleep. Chad and I pushed our luck however a few weeks ago and attempted to go to Whole Foods after she had already been sleeping while we worked out at the gym for an hour. She woke up and had a meltdown in the store resulting in screaming and turning bright red so I took her out of the car seat to hold her while people stared at me with pity. Yes people will stare at you like you are the cause of your baby freaking out. I also have not mastered how to put Charlotte in the car and unload the groceries with the cart without having the cart roll away somewhere in-between. I went to the store the other day after Chad came home sans Charlotte and it was amazing how freeing it felt to run in and run out without the whole production.

Going out to eat. I have been fortunate enough to be able to meet my friends out for lunch dates with Charlotte. Chad and I have also been out to dinner several times with her and it was a breeze. What I did not realize though, about many of my favorite restaurants is they are not baby friendly. Some have high chairs for you to put the car seat in, others do not. Changing a diaper becomes an issue when you see the bathroom has no changing table so there you are trying your best to do it on the floor. I highly recommend a travel changing pad for these purposes. Having to travel with a car seat and stroller just presents a new set of logistical problems when it comes to maneuvering. I also have to be prepared now for Charlotte to want to eat when she wants to eat. I truly felt like a mom the other day when I was sitting on the patio furniture at Ikea breast feeding while Chad looked at shelving units.

Shopping for yourself. Prepare to become an online shopper because once the baby is born you will have a hard time shopping for yourself. Being pregnant semi prepares you for this because, well, you pretty much give up on shopping since you are in maternity wear. Now that Charlotte is here my body still isn’t back to where I want it to be so I haven’t bought any clothing. I started thinking about buying clothing the other day and became too overwhelmed with the thought of bringing Charlotte with me. My thought process went something like this:
“Will I bring the stroller in with me or leave it in the car? If I bring the stroller in how can I go in the fitting room? If I leave the stroller in the car then how can I carry the car seat and shop?”
The good news is I’m saving a lot of money which is fabulous because I don’t have money to spend right now. I know I could shop when Chad is at home but right now I’d rather use that time away to take a yoga class.

What I think I miss the most is being spontaneous. I cannot do the simple meaningless things that take up time in a day. I cannot run out for coffee or cupcakes, clothing, groceries or lunch on a whim. I must carefully consider Charlotte and her needs before I attend to my own throughout the day. Having Charlotte has made me much more choosey about how I spend my 24 hours. In teaching my yoga classes I have always encouraged my students to spend their time on their mat wisely because they are exchanging an hour of their life for it. Now I find myself living my own yoga advice. As a birthday present to myself I signed up for a bootcamp through my gym that is every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for an hour starting at 9:30am. While it is hard some days to get out of the house on time, this is an hour that I get to spend not only on my fitness and in the company of others I enjoy but Charlotte can come as well.

babies and box jumps
Instead of spending my days running around creating errands for myself to keep occupied, I am actually focused and centered on one task for the day. It is yet another trade off of being a new mom – I swapped a bunch of little things that I thought mattered for one big thing that actually does.

So I encourage my mom’s to be out there to enjoy the little things that make up your day- putting on make-up, drinking coffee, having lunch with a friend or taking yoga with your husband. Enjoy your trip to the post office, the bank, the dry cleaners or to the nail salon. Soon you will find just one of these things overwhelming enough to fit in an afternoon. In exchange find something even better that benefits your life, your mental health and your child. Whether this is a breast feeding support group you attend, baby and me yoga, a walk with your dog or gardening, find something you love and then commit to this at least three times a week on a daily basis. I think you will find, as I have, that once your incorporate your babies schedule into your own your day will be more structured but also more productive. You leave the ultimately meaningless behind and your focus shifts to what really matters most to you. Chose wisely.

Until then, enjoy running around with your baby bump…it gets a whole lot harder but also a lot more fun from there.


  1. Great post, I am so selfish with my time and have always been the type of person that requires 12 hours of sleep a night. I know I am in for a HUGE shocker this fall! I am enjoying everything I can right now and this post helped me realize how true it is that I really need to be aware how easy I have it. You look amazing and keep the awesome posts coming, will you come back to flying?

  2. Thank you! I plan to keep sharing all the joys and nuances as I can! I am glad to hear you are enjoying your solo time! Right before Charlotte was born chads parents sent us on a date night- remember to do that at the very end.
    The plan is to go back to flying. You?! I have a whole blog post waiting about child care finding!

  3. Good idea on the date night! We are also planning a little vacation too, of course I cannot drink; but still will be nice just the two of us!
    I plan to work til early August, then take leave and then come back mid January. I am not the type to be a "stay at home" mom, I need my adult conversation and getting out of the house too--even if it's just for work! :)