Why My Baby Hasn’t Ruined My Life

First flight!
First flight!

When we were pregnant we constantly heard negative comments and warnings from other parents (not all, but more than I expected). People loved telling us that our lives were basically over now that we were having children. Goodbye fun, no more adventure, adios traveling…none of this is allowed or possible once you have baby. Some of the more common phrases we heard were, “Good thing you got all your traveling out of the way before you had kids.” “Enjoy all your summer adventures now, this won’t be possible next summer.” “You know you have to stay home all the time once you have kids.” Every single comment sounded like a bad omen, like we just made a huge mistake, like I made a bad purchase and should exchange it or get a refund.

Luna's first time on a horse.
Luna’s first time on a horse.

I expected everyone to be happy and excited for us. I thought everyone would tell us how magical and rewarding it us to be a parent. The last thing I wanted to hear was “Beware! This is going to be so much harder than you ever imagined!” There are lots of reasons why these statements bothered me while I was pregnant, but after having Luna I am trying to understand what these parents were really saying.

First time in a swing.
First time in a swing.

I’m an optimistic, believe in the good in people, kind of person, so I don’t think these parents were trying to be harsh or that they do not love their kids. In fact, I’m sure they adore their children and even like being parents (most of the time). What I think, is that these parents may be, or perhaps were, going through a stressful time. I have to admit that as far as families and parenting goes, Husband and I have had it pretty easy so far (minus the whole me being sick thing). It’s true that we got to do so many things and see so many places before having children. That doesn’t keep us from wanting to keep traveling. On the contrary, it just makes us want to see more, However, we certainly don’t feel like we didn’t take advantage of our single kid-less life. We have no regrets, that’s for sure.

First swim.
First swim.

Also, I think that maybe, just maybe, we are slightly more adventurous than some of these well-meaning advisors. Maybe some of them didn’t do some of these wet-and-wild crazy antics before children, and therefore do not do them post-children. I don’t really know, but I do know having Luna has only added to the adventure in our lives.

First hike to a waterfall.
First hike to a waterfall.

We take her just about everywhere we go, and while it isn’t always easy, and certainly not faster, it has been very doable. We are pretty low-key people. We pack the essentials, carry backpacks, wear the baby and take her with us to show her how we like to enjoy life. So far, she’s been on a plane, hiking, to a waterfall, swimming, rock-climbing, on a boat, out to fancy dinners, played at parks, had a picnic, and lots more. I feed her when she’s hungry, she naps two-three times a day and is a really happy baby.

First trip to Cheekwood.
First trip to Cheekwood.

Sure, there are times when we have to cancel or reschedule (thanks teething!), but it doesn’t phase us. We decided to have kids because we wanted to be parents. We wanted this, and we know that parenting require some sacrifice, sacrifice we are more than willing to make. Even if we weren’t able to travel and have adventures, it wouldn’t matter. I can honestly say I love spending time with my baby. I enjoy feeding, changing, bathing and playing with her. Sometimes we just stare at her as she kicks her legs, rolls around and babbles to a stuffed animal. It’s somehow become more entertaining than anything on TV.

Her first boat ride.
Her first boat ride.

You know, now that I that I am writing this, I guess they were right… our lives are different. This summer is nothing like last summer. Regular day chores and events are more challenging and take longer to complete, but what they failed to mention is that it would all be worth it. They didn’t tell me how I’d grow to love someone more than I ever thought possible. They didn’t tell me that hearing a baby’s first laugh would be better than hearing a waterfall. No one said that feeling her fall asleep on my chest would be better than feeling the ocean water on my skin. I didn’t know that watching her grow would be our biggest adventure yet.

First rock-climbing trip.
First rock-climbing trip.

What I’m trying to say is, if you want kids, or if you find yourself in a surprise situation, do not let the fear of losing your pre-baby life takeover. Babies will live your life with you. If you love to travel, hike and climb, then your baby will love doing those things with you. If you love reading, painting and watching classic movies, baby will be loving it right at your side. That baby is going to make your life a hell of a lot happier. Yes, you will be busy, exhausted, stressed and covered in someone else’s bodily fluids, but it won’t matter. It’s all just part of the latest adventure.

First hike through the woods.
First hike through the woods.

Cheers!

P.S. We are currently planning our first international trip as a family of 3. Can’t decide where to go yet…any suggestions? Morocco? Australia? Chile? Spain??

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7 thoughts on “Why My Baby Hasn’t Ruined My Life”

  1. love this! It’s hard with a newborn, but it’s getting easier to get out! My baby will be 8 weeks tmw and we are going to Annapolis for the day! So excited!

  2. While I love the spirit of the article, many parents who say those words of “warning” are just speaking from their own experiences & that shouldn’t be any more discounted or written off than your single experience with your single baby. It is GREAT that your baby likes this stuff. Not all babies are wired that way, no matter what mom & dad like & no matter what you do or what you try to expose the child to, you can’t control that.
    Every baby is their OWN person with their own likes & dislikes just like adults. Each has varying needs. My 1st was highly sensitive & still is sensitive, although less so now, thankfully. So although most babies adore swings, he was scared to death of them. He HATED the car & no matter what I did, screamed himself purple whether it was a 5 min ride or a 5 hr ride. He couldn’t handle being outdoors at all his first summer or he acted like you were sucking the air out of his lungs. So we managed with him in a carrier, facing me, usually attached to a boob and he HAD to have a muslin over his face, or again, he acted like he was trying to breathe hanging out of a car window…gasp choke cough….. He was pretty much only okay in the house, with quiet, nursing & being held very tightly or swaddled…for ages. I was at my whits end because I never thought I’d have to stop everything to that degree & had no idea what to do with this sensitive baby & all I wanted was for him to feel safe & happy.
    Dh & I are loud, vivacious, go get ‘em kind of people who had spent our entire 20′s waiting to have kids so we could get set up financially & do some traveling & adventuring & all of that….and THANK HEAVENS WE DID. That first year was tough for us, like culture shock. I so wanted to get out & do more and show off my new baby & I thought it would be nothing like that, but it was very much like that…us alone at home in the quiet.
    He is still my kid who doesn’t like strong wind, lots of noise, etc. He hates travel really & no matter where we go or how great it is, he wants to go home at the end of every day. In fact we even took him to Disney & the night before we were going, he told me he didn’t really want to go anymore, he just missed his own bed & his own room & could we just go get back on the plane. We went FOR him, for his birthday….we don’t even like Disney. He did like Disney when we got there – for about 2-3 hrs & then was done with that too.
    We also did an awesome air boat ride in the wetlands on that trip, but thank goodness we chartered a private boat as he needed off about an hour into it & even then I think he was only sticking it out for us. Again, something I had thought he’d enjoy at this age. He speaks highly of the trip after the fact, but any time he isn’t at home, he is out of his comfort zone & I have to do a lot of planning to make it as enjoyable as I can for all of us.
    So don’t assume that any baby will love what the parents love like they inherit our eye color or facial features. They will love what they love & it may or may *not* line up. My 2nd child was totally different & my third is different yet again. I am NEVER sorry I had any of them. Despite it derailing my life completely, it is totally worth it and I’d do it again. I wouldn’t change a thing. It has made me grow more than I knew I could. I have given some things up for sure, but what I got in return is far better.
    If you have #2 & another & another, you *actually* see how limited your control in that matter is. It’s freeing too though because you also realize that you didn’t mess anything up (if your kid still wakes 5 times at a year old, or isn’t pottying by 3 or or or…..) & you stop patting yourself on the back quite so hard for the good stuff (sleeping through at 6 weeks or eats all his/her veggies) & you finally acknowledge the ride you are ACTUALLY on for what it is instead, which is one where you aren’t steering quite as much as you think you are. You also learn to be thankful for the parts that sail smoothly & accept the challenges with more patience & grace.
    Congrats on the baby! Believe me though, you really would love this adventure JUST as much even if she didn’t cooperate on your hobbies. Babies are so great, they are their own adventure. I agree that there is no reason to be *scared* about having your 1st – but a serious reverence for the adventure you are about to embark on is a wise place to be mentally. You do NOT know what awaits you until you are there & it truly is a lottery. The only solace is, you always win on this lottery – the prize package just varies. 🙂

    1. Wow, thanks so much for your comment! I always love hearing from other parents and their experiences because like you say, every experience/baby is so very different. I certainly don’t discredit any other parents. What I wanted to convey most through this article is that my baby has only been a wonderful addition to our life and family. Of course, this is just my experience, but like I say in the post, even if we couldn’t get out and be super active with her we would still be so happy! We love just spending time with her even if it’s just lying on a blanket on her floor…everything with a baby is exciting and adventurous. Just last weekend my husband went spelunking and I stayed home with the baby. He felt bad that I missed out, but like I said to him…I didn’t. Sure, I missed caving (which I love), but I can’t ever complain about getting to stay home with our little girl. I got the impressions from some of my friends and family that “having a baby will ruin your life!” but I think it’s just the opposite. Just like your situation, your baby was the opposite of how you may have imagined, but you still love being a parent and parenting that little munchkin because all the sacrifices are worth it. It’s so funny that you mention Disney because my Husband and I are disney NUTS! We ALWAYS joke that Disney is going to be the one thing that our little girl just hates! haha We dread the day she asks to go to Universal. 🙂 This is our first and she is certainly laid-back, most of the time, (like her Daddy) but I do know that the next (if we are fortunate enough to have more) may be the exact opposite, and that’s okay with us too! I just love being a parent, outdoor adventures or not, it’s all so special and that’s why “my baby hasn’t ruined my life”. I really appreciate your feedback. You are right that kids will love what they love, and I have a feeling whatever Luna loves I’ll end up loving right along with her…I just hope it’s not softball. 🙂

  3. Hilarie, I loved reading this. I’m nearly 30 weeks now and my husband and I say all the time that if we hear another “Oh just wait…” in reference to me not being able to sleep at night or “You’ll never sleep/go out/have fun/vacation/fillintheblank again now…” or the worst–“your life is pretty much over now…”, we could scream. I hesitate to even say anything that could warrant that kind of ‘advice’ bc now I totally run the risk of going hormonal-psycho on that (mostly) well-meaning person. Why do people feel like they have to regale you with their horror stories? Why do people feel like they have to smugly tell you how it’s such a good thing you waited so long bc you’re gonna be restricted and miserable now? It’s well known that with newborns and babies and children come sleepless nights, responsibilities, and a venture into adulthood that you can’t even begin to fathom, but like you, I think that somewhere on the other side of that is crazy insane happiness and fulfillment as well as adaptations and learning to grow and keep your happy. I’ve just started telling people that tell me my life is over that yeah, one part of it is and thank GOD bc no one wants to be that person forever, but a whole new book is about to open that’s probably gonna be pretty freaken fantastic. Obviously!! Bc many many people do it many many times!
    So while I appreciate advice, I swear I’m going to figure out a way to cut people off before they start and say KEEP IT CONSTRUCTIVE!!!!
    Just wanted to vent and put in my 2cents bc it’s driving me batty also.
    Btw–Luna is an absolute doll. And maybe one day we should get yours and mine together….I mean, with names like Luna and Sunny, they are kinda destined to be friends right?!

    1. Okay, wow! I suck. I read this so long ago while in the car or bathroom or somewhere else where I couldn’t respond and TOTALLY forgot to write you back! I know you are very close to having your baby and I am so so so excited for you. You are going to be a badass Mom! I’m really glad you liked this post, although it’s kind of unfortunate that you could relate. I hate that people are so darn negative. I really don’t know why they do it… maybe it’s how they try to help? Maybe it’s to make themselves feel better? Maybe it’s a crappy day? Who knows. ANd OMG YES to to loving that you are starting a whole new book in life, and yes it is awesome! She literally woke up crying in the middle of that last sentence and I had to stop typing to go get her, love on her and play with her for a bit. And, you know what, I could care less about having to take a break from “working” to be a Mom. She’s the most awesome thing in my life. I swear it just gets better and better…although I don’t know if I’ll be saying that in about 13 years! Good luck with everything. I cannot wait to see your little Sunny (perfect name BTW!). I really hope they do get to meet someday. I mean they’re basically “cousins” right!? xoxo

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