I said things like, “Life isn’t going to revolve around our kids.”
Before I became a parent, l said things like, “l’m never going to be one of those parents whose life revolves around their kids” and “we’re still going to do all the things we did before we had children.”
Even though l had a relatively difficult and extremely uncomfortable pregnancy due to an abundance of fibroids — which snowballed into a 3-night hospital stay during our Floridian “Baby Moon,” subsequent cancellation of all additional travel plans (including a trip to Bermuda where a childhood friend was planning a surprise Bermy baby shower), and resulted in moderate debilitation of common activities — I still didn’t quite comprehend the escalating levels of freedom that I was about to relinquish once the baby actually arrived.
The truth I realized almost immediately after Sydney was born was that there would be very few decisions I could make going forward that would not require that Sydney first be brought into consideration. For the first several months, my schedule revolved entirely around regular nursing and breast pumping intervals. Over a year later, the decisions currently still range in scale from “where do l put her while I pee(?)” to “what can l get done while she’s napping(?)” and “we need to see if the babysitter is available before we can commit to [insert literally anything outside of our home that is not kid-friendly]”.
Whether it’s a trip to Brooklyn or Bermuda, we discuss whether the destination is worth the effort. I even base my daily attire on whether I’ll be wearing Sydney in the baby carrier or pushing her in the stroller. The question of styling my hair in any way other than a ponytail is based on how often Sydney will be within arm’s length or whether we have a babysitter confirmed. And during the first 17 months that I breastfed, my clothes required convenient boob access (e.g., no turtleneck sweater dresses).
Self-inflicted prohibition was enforced the moment I learned I was pregnant. Later, the decision of how much alcohol I could consume postpartum first weighed stiffly on the breastfeeding schedule and still continues to rely heavily on my desire to engage responsibly with my child the following day. Weekend benders are generally out of the question.
Much sooner than I’m willing to recognize, careful consideration will become necessary regarding housing and school districts and cell phone usage and social media and going to bed early on Friday in order to get to Saturday’s 7am extracurricular activities.
Decisions that I can currently make without considering Sydney: what I’m eating for lunch, which Netflix series to catch up on before bed, whether to shave my legs.
Even if I resist the tendency for life to revolve around my child, there are many more ways I still have yet to realize and accept that it does. I was wrong about what I used to say, but it’s the immense love that I feel for her that keeps it all from feeling like a burden.