Huggy Bear Hits Reluctant Mother With Some Knowledge

People tell you having a child is life-changing.  I think we all understand the obvious, broad brush stroke type ways our lives will change.  I get it, taking babies to a bar is frowned upon.  Fortunately, the liquor store seems to be a gray area.

What I failed to fully appreciate was the small seemingly insignificant things that occur all that time that will leave me forever altered.  I suddenly find myself in a sticky, chaotic, noisy little world where my convictions, ideas, and lifestyle are being challenged daily.  Here’s what I’ve learned lately:

1.  In Which Sunscreen Drove Us to What Was Previously Considered an Absurd Expenditure:  A few weeks ago, we were in REI checking out all the outdoorsy junk.  Of course it’s always fun to look at children’s apparel and we wandered into that section of the store.  There, is all of its adorable glory, were miniature versions of adult apparel.  There were little breathable SPF camp shirts complete with little button flaps, and zip off at the knee pants with actual working velcro welt pockets.  They might have been intended for a 6 month old nature enthusiast but the prices were very adult:  $30 per item.  My Husband and I smugly snorted at the idea of spending $30 for a camp shirt the kid would out-grow in a few short months.  What kid of people would purchase these things we whispered to one another, backs to the sales associate who was hovering dangerously close.

A few days later, I placed an order for the sunscreen our pediatrician recommended.  Imagine my surprise when I realized 8 ounces of sunscreen cost $25!  ($30 after shipping).

Suddenly $30 lightweight, breathable, SPF treated shirts and pants seemed like an absolute bargain.  So Chris and I drug our previously smug, fiscally responsible selves back to REI and purchased one shirt and one pair of pants.  Why does crow taste so damned bad and cost so much?

2.  Not Enough Shit is Handicapped Accessible: I’ve been wheeling this stroller around for months now.  I love my stroller.  Some days I sorely wish I could take the stroller in places I can not alone get it.  I never realized prior to the stroller, just how many curbs lack the little handicapped ramp; how many stores and restaurants have several steps at their entrance making it impossible for a stroller – or more importantly, a wheel chair bound individual – to enter; how many doors are a complete bitch to simultaneously open and wheel something through.  While I wasn’t completely insensitive to those with physical needs greater or different from my own, I certainly took my own mobility for granted.  My perceptions of mobility and accessibility and convenience have been forever altered.

3.  We Are Defensive and Edgy with Each Other – A Lot:  My Husband and I seldom argue.  And prior to Mac’s arrival, we rarely even disagreed or bickered.  We certainly did not nitpick or constantly judge one another.  In fact, had you asked me a year ago if I considered myself or my husband to be overly critical, or defensive, or judgmental towards one another, I would have vehemently argued we were not.

Unfortunately, as we publicly and rather loudly bickered the entire 6 block walk to Easter Mass, I was forced to admit despite our best efforts, despite how much we love our child and one another, despite all of our stellar qualities, having a child has definitely magnified every one of our worst qualities as individuals and as a couple. We give one another disapproving glances, we make passive aggressive comments, we silently gloat when one of us can comfort the kid faster and better than the other.

Our marriage is still incredibly happy, but I sure as shit never bargained for it to feel as petty and competitive as often as it does.  I can better appreciate what a strain children can place on a marriage.

4.  Am I Being Cautious or Irrational?  Previously I used to be able to just enjoy a walk.  Now I walk with the kid and wonder.  What if someone tries to rob me?  What if a car blows through a traffic light and hits us in the cross walk?  What if I forget to set the brake on the stroller and it somehow goes careening into the water?  I wonder what would happen if he’s allergic to bees and was stung?  It seems my over-active imagination provides no shortage of doomsday scenarios for me to contemplate.  I do not endeavor to live a life dictated by irrational thoughts and fears but that doesn’t seem to stop me from thinking about it.

These minor revelations are going to keep coming fast and furious aren’t they?

Seems Huggy Bear, who is learning by leaps and bounds every day, is also doing one helluva job schooling me.


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5 thoughts on “Huggy Bear Hits Reluctant Mother With Some Knowledge

  1. Hey, Girlie! So here’s the real: As long as you and your husband keep at this parenting thing, little competitions will arise. What I’ve learned, though, is that making a competition out of something you really don’t want to do just so that he will try to “do it better” is great! That’s the very reason why I no longer mop. Second, the bickering tapers off as the kids get older. Just stick it out. As for the worrying thing, just wait until Mac goes to school. You ain’t worried yet, girlfriend! The “good news” is that you are in the same boat as moms and wives all over the world. MM

    • Thanks Sweetie! I NEVER understood why my Mother was nearly a basket case on certain occasions. I know now and the kid is just 11 months old! And I consider myself much more relaxed than she was/is. I also understand why my Mother would say to me, “I hope you have three just like you.” LOL!

      I LOVE your idea for making a competition out of household chores. I have noticed that my husband insists on loading bottles in the dishwasher. If I put them in the dishwasher, he moves the stuff around. Hmmm. . .He must think I do it incorrectly. So now I just have to fold laundry, scoop cat box, vacuum, and dust incorrectly and I’ll be on easy street! Ha!

  2. Ooh, this is so insightful! I can completely identify with EACH of your points. I’ve definitely become more “cautious” and edgy since the little one arrived. And boy, do I have more awareness of how difficult it must be to get around if you’re handicapped! As for the ridiculous expenses, yeah, this is just one of the points of contention between “defensive” mom and financially frugal dad. Such a fantastic list! Had to share it on FB 🙂

    – Evanthia

    • Thanks for the FB Share Evanthia! I know at least a few of the Merely Mothers team were educators and likely more conditioned to children and parenting but I was some nearly clueless 34 year old that just decided to get knocked up before it was was too late. You will definitely see more posts from me proclaiming how oblivious and ignorant I was pre-kids! I do feel more worldly post first kid. Perhaps it’s the indignity suffered during child-birth because I’m certainly not smarter! Ha! Seen your Tweets for guest posts. . .I’d love to contribute with appropriate subject matter at some point.

      • Sarahlynne and I were both teachers way back when, but I’m not sure it prepared us TOO much for what our toddlers are throwing at us these days (literally and figuratively)! We love that you aren’t afraid to write about how you’re feeling “oblivious and ignorant,” even when it sounds like you’re doing an amazing job 🙂

        It would be FANTASTIC if we could get you on our calendar for a guest post soon! Let’s chat: merelymothers@gmail.com.

        – Evanthia

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