Before Baby, After Baby: One Dad's Comparison
If I could offer any advice for someone expecting to bring home their new baby it would be: appreciate the circadian sacrifices. Your whole life is about to get turned upside down and everything you are about to experience will be foreign territory. The comfort zones you have come to rely on will often be out of reach, and you'll have to find new and creative ways to navigate your new life. This entry is dedicated to anyone who is at any point on the pathway to parenthood. I know you are probably wrecked with emotions about all things new baby, but do make sure to appreciate this time with your precious leisure activities. I am sure your anxiety is running high and the last thing on your mind right now is leisure activities. However, in hindsight of our journey I wish I had known just how fast several of my favorite pastimes would become a thing of the past.
Douglas and I have been together for almost 12 years now. We work well together and most of the time we can finish each other's sentences. We make a great team and I appreciate everything he does.
Before babies: I worked as the general manager of a restaurant in the French Quarter for 10 years. Most of my time was spent operating that restaurant and, in a way, it and all the employees there were like my babies. I devoted a decade to learning how that industry works. It allowed me to fall in love with most aspects of that profession.
After babies: and after deep discussions with Douglas, we felt it would be better for me to leave the restaurant and dedicate all of my time to the children because he is in medical school and a lot of his time is spent at the hospital. We strongly felt that having one of us here all of the time would be much better for them rather than finding a full-time daycare or nanny. I do miss my previous life in the restaurant but nothing compares to being at home with my babies all day. On the upside, my hospitality career isn't over... it's just on hold, as I plan to open my own restaurant one day when our kids are older. As for now, their growth, development, and well-being comes first. My occupational sacrifice was just the beginning of this new life.
When I was younger, I remember being dumbfounded by guys I graduated with that would just "let themselves go" after they had kids. "Why would they do that!?" I would often ask myself. "I'll NEVER let that happen to me!" Never say never! I have come to realize that it isn't like those guys wanted the coveted "dad-bod," rather, it just happens because their is not enough time in a day.
Before babies, the peaceful bike ride to the gym through the live oak trees in uptown New Orleans was my favorite part of the day. Listening to my favorite music while riding through the beautiful campus of Tulane University was sublime. I was able to spend a couple of hours there each weekday and afterwards I felt re-energized and confident about my appearance.
After babies, there was just no way I would be able to leave the house on a bike much less work out at a gym. Instead, I needed to find peace in knowing that my time spent keeping my girls happy and healthy was much more important than my peaceful bike rides. The compromise? Being able to run on my treadmill a couple of times each week. But I know that with patience I will be able to return to the gym once the girls are school age.
Let's talk a little more about leaving the house. The small things like going to the mall or the grocery store used to be fast, simple tasks that only took a small portion of the day.
Before babies, I use to just run to the store for a quick thing or two without thinking much about it. Time for an oil change? No problem! I could complete these errands quickly and with minimal effort.
After babies, it takes 15 minutes just to find her other shoe (it's probably at the bottom of the ball pit). Then 10 minutes more to change the other's clothes because they barfed all over their cute outfit you were so excited to show to the world. Then add 10 more minutes just to herd them together and load them into the car. Once you back out of the driveway and start your little adventure you realize you forgot the damn stroller. Or worse the baby's binky (fyi that's a big deal and totally worth turning the car around for). So tack another 15 minutes onto the clock. Leaving the house probably takes longer than the whole trip itself did before babies. But don't get me wrong! Once you head out to your destination with all the proper necessities and everyone is collected and ON FLEEK... that feeling beats everything else. That feeling of accomplishment is what it's all about, friends. Oh and yes, the happiness and well-being of the kids of course. But it's also that feeling that you can conquer the world.
Even if it's just that simple trip to Walmart.
So, as hard is it may be mentally preparing to bring home your little nugget, think about and appreciate your "before baby" category and know that the search for that elusive binky, and hours of inconsolable crying and sleepless nights are just around the river bend.