When you have a baby, they tell you everything will be different. You know who “they” are. Your mom, your sister, your Aunt Jenny - even your best friend. They all have their take.
And Yeah...of course life will be different.
But somehow they’ve left you unprepared for what running a simple errand looks like, and the arsenal that you’ll need in tow as a first time parent.
OK... I’m leaving the house.
What to put in the diaper bag?
Extra Clothes? Check.
Nursing Cover Up?
Check. Check. Check.
Pacifier? Check. (WAIT...will a pacifier ruin my baby?...sit and ponder if I’m making the “right” decision).
Snack for me? Check.
Cartoon Band-aides? Check. (REALLY...what if my baby suffers a cut on our trip to the store?)
Wait...where’s my purse?
Shove wallet in the diaper bag.
Load the baby in the car seat.
Grab a baby carrier just in case (because what if my baby won’t stop crying - how will I push the cart or stroller and hold the baby…)
Little by little your confidence grows. You discover your baby’s personality, their favorites and must haves for leaving the house. You get into your routine and your diaper bag grows lighter.
And then maybe you have another baby. The thoughts of leaving the house with two kids looms over you.
How will I do this?
OK. We’ve got to be there at 1:30.
Diapers and Wipes? Double Check.
OK. Let’s get in the car.
Pick up baby to load car seat…Whoa is that poop I smell.
Grab diaper bag...aaaaand we have a blow out…
Change diaper and clothes on the floor by the front door.
OK. Now we can get in the car.
Pick up diaper bag.
Wait (to the other kiddo) did you eat your snacks while I threw the diaper away?
Crap, we’re going to be late.
Grab a diaper and wipes, toss in purse. Load car and go...
Like so many parents this was me. Wondering if I could keep it all together, or if I’d ever figure out the way.
I had made it to our appointment with our kitchen designer just in the nick of time, without any of my arsenal other than the one diaper, wipes and the pen in my purse.
My older son was bored out of his mind and the baby was fussy.
I stood there rocking the stroller with my foot.
I made a sailboat and crumbled waves and clouds from the pamphlets on the desk.
My older son and I played pirates and thunderstorms. We shot little cannons (read: flicked small balls of rolled up paper at each other) while I answered questions about the style of trash can cabinet that would be most appropriate for my workflow as I moved around my new kitchen.
And then it happened.
The designer stopped mid-sentence and said “You’re doing a great job, you know that? Where did you learn to make those boats?”
I looked around.
The baby was sleeping and my older son was laughing and crashing his boats in the waves.
I did that. Reading “Curious George Rides A Bike” a thousand times was worth it, and I was succeeding even if I didn’t notice. And to be honest, in the blur of parenting everyday, I’m not sure I would have marked that day as anything special even though it was.
Parenting doesn’t always look the way we expect. And that’s okay. We don’t have to have everything checked off the list to have a good bag of tricks.
Just ask my older son who begs for pirate ships and thunderstorms at every pamphlet we’ve passed since that day.