Today marks seven weeks since my life changed forever. That sounds quite dramatic, but there’s no other honest way to talk about becoming a parent. One day: BAM! You’re responsible for a mewling poop factory, a tiny human for whom your heart must expand to accommodate the immense amount of love you’re now feeling constantly. The day before, you only had a spouse who was more irritable than usual.
Some parts of this parenting lark are easy. Like wandering around with an iced coffee on a Saturday afternoon, taking in a nearby park, while your baby is sleeping in the stroller. But other parts, like waking up every couple hours during the night to change her, or making sure she doesn’t die ever, are much more difficult. For my wife, spending entire days with the baby without a break or adult contact, can prove challenging. And I get it: babies are awesome, but let’s not forget that grown-up company has its own merits. As does taking a break from anything – no matter how much you love doing it.
In fact, I should be honest. Getting up in the middle of night, or changing diapers isn’t hard. I thought it would be a real struggle getting up in the dark, but it turns out to be much easier than I thought it would be. And now that I’m a parent, I see how other parents do it. With gray hair, stains on our clothes, and bags under our eyes certainly, but also without a second thought.
The other part I like, is that it changes constantly. From day to day the baby is growing, we can see it already. She moves different, has a broader range of noises, and engages more deeply than even a week ago. None of this of course, gives my wife a break during the week while I’m at work, but at the same time, she always seems slightly reluctant to hand our little agent of sleeplessness over when I get home.
And that’s the thing I’ve noticed about having a baby. It’s always two things at once: tiring but exhilarating, hard but completely natural. Without this dichotomy we wouldn’t be in this constant state of anxious bliss.