by Dezi Hall
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'll never be as good of a parent as I was before I had a kid.
In pre-baby world, there are plenty of things that parents do that you think are insane. Things you swear you would never, ever, not in a million years ever do. I used to think when I had a kid I would have everything on lock. And then, of course, I had one. You realize pretty quickly that, unfortunately, some of that insane stuff is actually pretty necessary. There are just some things that no matter how hard you judged them when you were pregnant, you now have to do.
CHANGING THE BABY... WHEREVER
My husband and I are germ freaks, which means whenever we saw a worn out parent doing a diaper change somewhere other than a government prescribed bathroom changing table, we would be aquiver with judgment. How inconsiderate could these people be? Just a revolting thing to do. Then we had our daughter. On her first flight at two months old, we changed her diaper on a pristine mahogany conference room table in a hotel. Had to be done.
FEEDING THE BABY... WHATEVER
I used to tap my fingers on my swollen belly and imagine all the wonderful things I would make my baby to eat. I would see other parents begging their child to take a bite of a gross fried chicken finger and shake my head in silent shame on their behalf. Only organic vegetables and grilled chicken for my precious angel. Except, you know, that the baby can see other foods floating around out there in the world and can also demand them. So now she subsists on bread. We still feed her all the organic vegetables but they really just serve as garnish for the bread.
I was, and kind of still am a screen-time sergeant, even post-baby. But I've really cooled it on the judgment of other parents employing the iPad at restaurants. Sometimes the toddler just can not deal, and the only way you can get them to gain any of their chill back is to give them a little zombie time. My daughter hates the car with a passion of 1,000 burning suns. So I gave in just last week, opened up YouTube on my phone and showed her a seven minute video of a mother duck swimming in a pool with her babies following behind. And, IT WAS MAGIC. Not only did she not cry or scream, she laughed, signed "more" and pointed at each one of those yellow babies. So, maybe those parents are just doing what they need to do to make sure Skylar doesn't dump his ravioli on the ground. Doesn't mean that they use the iPad as a nanny 24/7, it just means they want to eat while their food is still hot.
You'll always have time to do all the dishes and laundry. I mean, your baby naps, doesn't it? Ha. Ha. Hahahahahaa. This might've been my most naive judgment. Yes, the baby naps (sometimes, if you're lucky), which means maybe you need to relax on the couch for the 25 blissful minutes this nap is happening. You do you.
NOT LEAVING THE HOUSE
When I was pregnant I researched the best baby carriers for hiking and all the gear a newborn would need to live a life of adventure. I had spent so much time judging parents for not leaving the house with their infants and I knew I would never be like that. I would continue to live the same life I had pre-baby only with an additional tiny companion. This was by far the most unrealistic and insane vision I ever deluded myself with. Babies cry and go to the bathroom and are generally just terrible travelers. The amount of effort it takes to get an infant ready to do, plus the amount of enjoyment you have at said destination equals never leaving the house. At least in the beginning. And, that's ok.
Once that baby comes out, you start to realize that all that judging really isn't benefiting anyone. Parents do what they have to do to survive babyhood. If parents could just get their psychotic toddlers under control we'd all be able to get along.