I wish someone would have rather graphically explained to me what happens when you’re a parent and you’re sick. You know the sweet relief of crawling into bed in the middle of the day, hopped up on cold medicine, and ready to doze the afternoon away? Kiss it goodbye, because you won’t see it for a long, long time.
I’m speaking from the middle of the experience. I woke up this morning with the beginning of a wicked cold. A year ago, I would have slept until 10, drank gallons of tea, and watched Netflix until my eyes dried out. Today, I changed diapers, cleaned the kitchen, and played endless rounds of “jump on Mama’s lap until her biceps burn.” Pre-parenting, when I was sick, I wanted to be alone (except for someone who would quietly bring me soup and tea and then leave me alone). Now, I drove 40 miles to my mom’s house, where she watched Gabe so I could at least take a break.
Your sick day experience is only one of the small things you don’t consider when you decide to have a kid. Our dinner used to involve hunching over our plates on the couch while catching up on the DVR. Now it’s at the table, where we trade off attempting to sneak puree into the baby’s mouth as he swats at his spoon, our food, and the dog’s head. My pre-baby living room had a stack of my homework on the floor by the couch. Now, it’s bisected by a baby fence, separating Gabe from his new infatuations, namely the dog, the recycling basket, and the cat’s water dish. We used to come home and have a glass of wine while talking as dinner was prepared. Now, one of us cooks while the other lays on the floor and is assigned the role of human jungle gym.
When you have a kid, you know things will change. Some of it’s good change (let’s model responsible eating habits!), and some of it’s bad change (goodbye, last-minute party invites). But I cannot state enough how much you end up underestimating the change that comes along with a baby.