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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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??