It’s hard to believe we’re only a month into this parenting adventure. I can barely remember life without baby, we’re so focused on the care and routine the days of sitting lazily on the sofa moaning there’s nothing on tv are a distant memory.
After our previously reported bust-up things are much better. The release of frustrations was a good thing and I’m glad we were both able to realise that most of what was said was born out of tiredness and frustration. Having a baby is a true test of your relationship.
But we were rewarded with a great day afterwards, I’d had time booked off so we could register baby in our first proper outing. We packed up the car and headed to the city where she was born (I make it sound a bit Mary and Joseph!). The plan was to register her, have lunch and do a bit of shopping. This was a pretty ambitious adventure considering we’d never been further than the grandparents 20 minutes away and were about to drive 40 minutes from home and put the last four weeks training and skill on public display.
Six things I learnt from our first outing
- Trying to fit everything into one change bag is pretty tricky. In hindsight maybe we didn’t need three changes of clothes and four bottles of milk…
- I’ve never got so much attention from women before, having a baby strapped to your chest seems to turn you into Ryan Gosling
- Changing a nappy in public is quite stressful. I’m getting better at ignoring the usual screams when at home, but it’s a different kettle of fish when you’re so aware that everyone else hasn’t had weeks of practice building up a tolerance to your baby’s cries.
- Baby has a love/hate relationship with the car seat – she screams as if I’m pulling teeth when she’s put in it, but after 10 seconds of driving she’s fast asleep in a luxury dream world.
- As a result of packing half the nursery into the change bag, carrying a baby on your front and a change bag on your back gets quite heavy after an hour or so.
- Although pushchairs are less agile, if you’re on your own they’re the way forward. Baby, change bag and anything else you pick up on the way gets thrown in/under/hung off the back.
We successfully got baby registered (which reminded me of giving notice to marry wifey, strangely romantic in a bureaucratic kind of way), brought lunch, ate lunch outside, changed and fed baby in the summer shade and did some shopping.
If we were American we would have high-dived when we got back to the car – baby was well, jobs completed and sanity in check – maybe we can actually do this baby thing after all?!?!
We celebrated with a glass of bubbly and chocolates after dinner while watching the recorded England vs Ukraine match (I know the ball was over the line, but the striker was offside when it was played to him so fair result IMHO).
The perfect end to our first family outing!
I’ve been back at work a few days now and trying to get the balancing act of working office professional by day and sleepless new father by night.
All in all I must say that I believe I have the better deal when making the unavoidable comparison to wifey at home. Work is hard, exhausting, and challenging, but it’s good to have a bit of control over my time – to be tested mental instead of just by endurance and to have conversations that aren’t about sterilising bottles or how many times baby has had their clothes changed.
Compared to the relentless demands of our little one who is growing more alert, sleeping less and becoming grumpy more, I know where I’d rather be.
But I’ve only been doing it a few days, I’m sure I’ll be more worn down over time. We have a rota for the working week – I cover baby duties from when I get home to 11:00 at night, and from 5:00 to 6:30 in the morning before I need to shower and leave for work. So far it’s worked out OK, we’ve had some good and bad night but they even out, and I find the situation a lot easier to manage having these clear boundaries.
I’ve still had some “crashes” following my initial meltdown but they’re getting more manageable. I described it to a colleague as a mourning process for my old childless life. We made this decision to ruin our lives in the nicest possible way 9 months ago and have to work through the transition into becoming a family.