As I think about my daughter’s upcoming first birthday in late April (wow, how did we get here already?!?), I’m finding that there are definitely some things that surprised me this first year of parenthood.
There’s definitely an element of anxiety and tendency to worry that has been magnified in my personality since having my daughter (just ask my husband for confirmation!). Especially in the first few months of winter, every cough or stuffy nose had me googling “dry cough baby,” “how long should a cold last baby?” I even took her to the doctor when she had her very first cold, convinced it was something more serious. That particular worry has abated somewhat, as she has gotten quite a few colds this winter, but I’m definitely now that crazy lady with hand sanitizer and wet wipes in her purse, trying to avoid the germs out in the world (most of the germs are probably in her daycare class, I’m sure). This is something I would have never thought about before, but now I try to wipe carts at supermarkets before touching them and squirt hand sanitizer when leaving the pharmacy. I’m sure that as the seasons change and she gets older, I’ll find endless new things to worry about.
I remember one of my coworkers remarking that after her daughter was born, she felt that she couldn’t remember a time when her daughter wasn’t part of her family. As a childless adult, I didn’t understand that sentiment at the time, but I definitely do now. My husband and I were just talking the other day that it seems like our daughter has always been part of our little family, and it’s hard to remember a time that she wasn’t, even thought it’s been less than a year since she was born. I think it’s a difficult thing to comprehend until you’re a parent.
Lack of Time
I am still constantly bewildered at how much less “free” time I have now, and wonder what in the world I did in my spare time before my daughter was born. There’s just so much to do that isn’t even directly connected to taking care of a little person, from the uptick in loads of laundry, to the nightly washing of breast pump supplies and bottles from daycare (coming to an end soon!), and trying to keep the house cleaner for a crawling, exploring baby. In the days before my daughter was born, I would stop working for the day hours before my husband (that’s still true), and I’d have plenty of time to get in a daily workout, go to the grocery store, and cook up a Pinterest-inspired dinner, before he even got home from work. These days, it’s go-go-go from the moment I stop working until we sit down after our not-as-healthy but faster-to-prepare dinner. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I guess this one wasn’t really too much of a surprise, because of course I would expect that I’d love my daughter, but the fierceness and totality of it has surprised me somewhat. She’s our whole entire world, and we’d do anything to protect her and make her happy, and I expect that will continue as we transition from the new parent stage into the months and years to come. I can’t wait to see what those days bring, even though I’m a bit sad to leave the infant days behind.