I feel like there have been a few definite phases to first-time parenting. I’m sure they’re different for everyone, but here are the phases I’ve gone through.
- The first 3-4 months of your baby’s life, this phase is hard. Really hard. A total shock to your system to witness the reality of having a teeny tiny human totally dependent on you and adjusting to life outside the womb.
- Everything non-baby related gets pushed to the back burner: household chores, work, your marriage and social life.
- While this phase is hard, it’s also magical to just focus on your baby and get to know him/her. You become a family.
- Some of the best weeks of my life were during this phase – being unaware of the outside world and just curled up with my baby and wife.
REINTRODUCTION TO WORK
- You struggle with balancing work and family life for the first time. And feel like you’re failing at both.
- Sometimes fantasize about winning the lottery and not having to work.
- Feel completely out of the loop in terms of current affairs and pop culture because of the Survival Mode you just went through.
- Struggle to find appropriate work clothes that fit your slowly shrinking body. Maybe wear the same two pairs of pants (i.e. The only pants that still fit) for the first few weeks.
- Often realize after you’ve left the house that you haven’t brushed your teeth or your hair.
- Forget your pump parts a couple times and then fork over money to make sure you have multiples of everything.
- It takes a while before you find your footing and get a rhythm to your day, but it does happen.
REINTRODUCTION TO YOUR PARTNER/ FRIENDS/ OUTSIDE WORLD
- This phase started when Mabel was about 7 months old. At some point I realized I wanted to hang out with someone and not just talk about the baby.
- You feel naughty and guilty asking your partner to take on parenting duties while you go have a drink.
- While you’re out, you’re always looking at the clock thinking, “she’s getting a bath right now. She’s being read a book right now…”
- Try as you might to stay up, you can’t make it past 10pm anymore.
- You never stop loving your spouse, but around this point, you suddenly look up and realize, “oh, there you are. I remember you.”
- You start making more time for your partner – nice dinners after the baby goes to sleep, laughs during the baby’s naps, etc
- You still put your needs last and sometimes leave the house without an umbrella (when it’s raining), without brushing your hair, with two different socks on….
REINTRODUCTION TO YOURSELF
- Just entering this phase, but I suddenly feel the need to get my shit together and take better care of myself
- Let’s start with my DAMN BRA – I have no idea what size I wear now. My ribs are definitely wider than they were pre-pregnancy, so my old bras aren’t comfortable anymore. But my boobs shrunk back down after I stopped breastfeeding, so my maternity/nursing bras are way too big. And I’ve just been fumbling around wearing ill fitting bras for months and putting it on the back burner. Time to get remeasured and wear a fucking comfortable bra again!
- I’m going through a style identity crisis. I’ve just been wearing whatever is comfortable and has the fewest food/spit up spots on it. I work in San Francisco – a pretty stylish city, but my office is very casual – jeans and such – and I’ve totally taken advantage of that. I need to up my style game. I haven’t bought any new clothes in a very long time and I really want to get out of my rut.
- Am trying to find a way to start running again. Was training for a 5k when we got pregnant and I really loved it. My goal is to run along the embarcadero in SF once or twice a week after work.
Maybe it’s the appearance of spring after a very rainy and cloudy winter, but we’re feeling hopeful in this household. Still sleep deprived, but we’re doing something right, as we have one hilarious, happy, thriving daughter. Money is still super tight, but we have food on the table every day and our bills get paid. Ready for spring and summer!