Said pretty much all expectant parents everywhere. But then you have the blighter and realize your life has changed beyond recognition.
But it’s come to my attention that there are a small bunch of parents who doggedly stick to the ‘I’m not changing’ mantra and don’t. A while ago I declared ‘mum’s night off’ and met up with a friend to a nearby pub quiz. There was a couple with a baby slightly older than Matilda also participating. Now, call me militant or suffering from precious first born syndrome but at that point we were all about instilling good sleep routines. No way was I going to risk Matilda’s precarious good sleeping by taking her out in the evening. And whilst the parents were busy drinking and doing the pub quiz the baby was playing on a smart phone app. I promise I tried not to judge, those in glass houses after all – I’ve definitely used ‘Elmo Calls’ when situation is desperate and Postman Pat pays a visit to our TV most days, but I did find myself thinking ‘it’s only a pub quiz, is it worth it?’
As it so happens though I recognized the baby and I’ve seen him out with his nanny at various baby groups locally. The next time I saw the nanny, who let’s call Emily, I mentioned I’d seen the baby – let’s call him James, in the pub. ‘Oh yes’ twanged New Zealand-er Emily, ‘mum and dad go every week. They do loads – they’re determined that having a baby won’t change their life’.
‘Wow!’ I thought and made me wonder if we had become too routine orientated and should be more chilled like this mum and dad. Over the last few months I’ve become quite good friends with lovely nanny-Emily and have asked more and more questions about these mysterious parents-who-have-stayed-fun. Fun mum and dad are keen skiiers – they’ve been 3 times this season (did I mention they’re also MINTED) and taken Emily to look after James each time. Lucky Emily, I thought, until she revealed that she’d not even seen any snow and worked virtually 24/7 each week. At one point 79 hours passed without the parents seeing James. Beggars the question why pay for the extra airfare and room? Emily and James could surely have stayed at home. Indeed, skiing trip #4 is looming and she’s asked to do exactly that.
I have so mixed emotions about this. On the one hand I’m totally envious of these parents-who-have-stayed-fun continuing their holidays and social life as if nothing has changed. It makes me wonder if I am pandering too much to routines and not daring to do fun things lest it affects Matilda, when actually she’ll probably be just fine.
On the other hand though, I feel quite sorry for the fun parents. At one point my husband and I were (somewhat) fun, and I fully expect in about 18 years we’ll become fun again, but I hands up accept that currently we’ve become totally baby-fied and our life and decisions revolve entirely around the little one. My career has suffered by me taking a year’s mat leave and then going back part time and my husband, the formerly inteprid adverturer is doing a desk job he doesn’t exactly love to provide stability for our wee family. Yet at the same time I think we both would consider ourselves ridiculously #blessed (puke!) and so fortunate to have such a sunny, cheeky and funny little girl in our lives. I feel so fortunate I can work part time to get to know her better and my husband lives for his weekends and holidays where he can throw her about and play ‘clip clop’ with her to her hearts content (mummy does not have that level of patience, it must be said).
So I don’t know. I should probably loosen up. I’ve promised myself I’m going to relax about nap times and bed times when we go away on holiday this year. But equally I think it’s sort of sad that the couple-who-have-stayed-fun haven’t (as far as I have heard/can tell) embraced the mess, fun and the chaos that comes with hanging out and really getting to know a toddler.
I guess there isn’t a right or wrong way to parent. You just have to find a balance you’re happy with and do what’s best for you and the baby. Easier said than done, right?!
Have you become a slave to nap times or does baby fit around your life? Any hints or advice from veteran parents on getting the balance?!