Things I did not understand until I had a baby

They say having a child gives you a change in perspective. They are correct. I’m not talking about a new-found understanding of sleep deprivation as a form of torture, “experiencing a love like no other” or even the development of your new pain tolerance standards (would you say it was labor painful? or just broken limb painful?).

What I am talking about is the acceptance–if not the active practice–of things you used to have no tolerance for, like:

Cars full of crap. 

Before baby: So, you’ve procreated and now you can’t clean out your backseat? Really? Sure, I’ll ride back here. No problem. Let me just brush these soggy Cheerios off the seat and side step these three sad, gnawed on action figures. No, no, really it’s fine. I’m sure whatever wet substance I just put my hand in is not pee.

Now: This morning, our backseat inventory included: four books, two very large stuffed animals, a beach towel, a spoiled bottle of milk, two milk bottle caps, sand, one sock, a car seat the size of Texas, and an Elmo mirror. Don’t look in the trunk, it’s a mess. However, should we take a spontaneous trip to the beach, we’re all set thanks to the beach umbrella, a beach chair, two beach towels and the bucket of beach toys that reside in the trunk. Last week, we also toted around TWO strollers for our one child.

The lure of the Mini Van.

Before baby: Have you lost your mind? You birthed a baby, not the Brady Bunch. No one requires a vehicle that big unless they have four kids who take surfing and/or pole-vaulting lessons.

Now: Whoa. Maybe we need one of these:

Every now and then, I entertain the idea of a larger vehicle. The only thing that keeps me from seriously considering a mini van is Dave’s theory about getting a larger house, car, or office: in every case, the more space you give yourself, the more stuff you’ll end up collecting to fill it. If what we are doing to our four-door Volkswagen is any indication, we do not need this temptation.

Parents who constantly clean their kids faces with spit.

Before baby: Why are all you breeders so obsessed with your kid’s face? And what on Earth would compel you to use spit as a cleaning solution? Can’t you focus on something else that actually matters, like keeping your baby quiet in public and preventing your toddler from kicking the back of my airplane seat?

Now: {exasperated} Oh, good Lord. Just. Just look at your face. Come here. Come. Here. {lick thumb, apply spit to cheek}. Hold still. No, wait. That didn’t work. Let me get a baby wipe. Wait! NO! DO NOT touch your face…


People who only want to hang out with you if you are willing to go to a kid-friendly setting. 

Before baby: Let’s go to a wine bar tomorrow night at 9 p.m.! You can get a sitter! And I hear their cheese plate is really nice.

Dave and I both experienced this one. We were half confused/half ticked off that friends with kids never wanted to get a babysitter. They actually WANTED to hang out with their kid MORE than they wanted to just hang out with us. So to hang out with us, we had to pick a venue that was kid-friendly. I never understood why someone would not want to just go running around with the freedom they once had.

The truth is, most days you really do like your kid. You genuinely DO think life is more fun when they are around. All those years, it wasn’t personal, it was actually a really lovely thing. So …

Now that we have Suzianne, we’re all: Next Sunday, let’s go to one of those kid-friendly craft beer places I read about on that San Diego parenting website! We can meet after her mid-day nap, like around 2 p.m. I hear their changing tables are really nice.


The lesson: never say never, my friends. You just might have a baby.

2 thoughts on “Things I did not understand until I had a baby

  1. hahahaha! so, confession: i will come up with every reason NOT to be the “coworker who can drive everyone” to wherever we have to go. my car is disgusting and i’m horribly embarrassed anytime we have to give anyone a ride. why not clean it out? well, why bother when it’ll just get covered with discarded toys, spilled juice and cereal bits anyway?

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