Before, my mornings began by waking up from a full night’s rest with a quiet house, a mug of coffee, and the Today show. My only tasks before heading up to the office were getting myself showered, dressed, fed, and caffeinated.. Now my mornings begin by waking up after a varied amount of sleep, picking up a fussy baby who needs to be nursed and changed, and feeding said baby while my stomach growls and wondering what kind of breakfast I can pull together using only one hand. If I get my teeth brushed before 10AM, I’m doing pretty good. More often than not, a shower does not happen. This is my new normal.
Before, Matt and I would work out at the same time every day after work was finished and before dinner was made. We had a rotating schedule of weight and cardio workouts and we made it a priority, something that was gonna happen whether we felt like it or not. Now with a colicky baby who does not like to be put down, we’re lucky if we get two real workouts per week. Sometimes the most exercise I get in a day is going up and down the stairs in the house. This is my new normal.
Before, I was able to clean my house on a regular basis and though I’m not the greatest housekeeper, I was able to keep most of the dust and dog hair at bay. Now a tumbleweed of dog hair the size of your head can sometimes be seen floating across the footprint-laden wood floors. This is my new normal.
Before, we would cook dinner together and enjoy our meals either at the kitchen table or while catching up on our favorite shows together. We prepared healthy meals and ate them slowly and leisurely, enjoying the most chill part of our day. Now we still eat healthy but dinner prep is rushed and chaotic as we trade off soothing the baby, who likes to show us his tonsils starting at about 6pm, while the other one cooks. Most of the time I have to eat my dinner with use of only one hand, usually my non-dominant hand, and I end up dropping food and crumbs over him while he nurses. This is my new normal.
Before, I could hop in the car and complete my errands without much forethought. Now running errands involves packing the diaper bag and making sure the baby is fed, freshly-changed, and dressed for the weather. It involves making sure I am dressed in clothing that is appropriate for easy and discreet nursing. It involves desperately singing goofy songs in the car when he starts crying in his seat and I can’t do much to soothe him. It involves decisions regarding whether or not to haul out the stroller or just plonk down the car seat in a shopping cart and pack my items in around him (no babywearing for me – he hates it!) It involves shopping one-handed when he demands to nurse and scurrying off to the nearest bathroom when he decides to blow out his diaper in the produce aisle. This is my new normal.
Before, I knew a life of sales meetings and client contacts conducted in an intelligent businesslike manner. Now I barely change out of my pajamas and my voice is perpetually stuck in a high-pitched singsong tone.
Before, my husband and I could hang out with friends and plan date nights with little regard to what time of day we were out and how long we were gone. We didn’t have to make sure that our destination was family friendly in case of a four-alarm meltdown. We enjoyed going to movies together. Now we see “new” movies via Pay-Per-View and RedBox, we don’t see our friends as often, and dinners in quiet restaurants are currently a thing of the past. This is my new normal.
Before, bedtime consisted of climbing under the covers in a comfy pair of pajamas and getting lost in a book or Netflix until I fell asleep. Now bedtime consists of a carefully executed routine of baths, swaddles, feedings, rocking, and singing. I haven’t read a book since before he was born, because I never know what kind of night’s sleep he will allow me to have. When he goes to sleep, I go to sleep. This is my new normal.
Now I have this sweet little person that depends on me, on us, for everything. Now my days are filled with big toothless grins, sweet little coos, and warm snuggles. Now I get to watch in amazement as he learns a new skill and gets so excited when we react with claps and cheers. Now I get to look forward to a future of making memories and carrying on traditions as a family. Now I know a kind of love I never knew existed, a kind that’s powerful, overwhelming, and yes, even a little scary. Before, I didn’t have any of that. This is my new normal.
Now I am a mother, and I wouldn’t trade my new normal for anything else.