we spent the long labor day weekend w/ friends in austin, tx. these are good friends we’ve kept from the days we were all living in mississippi years ago. we’ve known them since they first met and started dating. i remember feeling like the old married couple next to their early, drama and glory-filled budding romance. and they were a bit wild w/ lots of heavy drinking and partying…when we went down to new orleans w/ them to celebrate debauchery, let’s just say that they were a whole lot better than us at availing themselves of all the tom foolery mardi gras had to offer. so that was then.
now they’re married with an 8 month old baby girl.
and yee-doggy have things changed!
life is now completely about the baby. they’d be the first to tell you that, although they’re thrilled to be parents and couldn’t possibly love her any more than they do, it’s really hard and just surviving the day is sometimes an achievement. not sleeping for more than 2-5 hrs at a time for nearly a year can really catch up with you. the stress on the marriage that comes w/ the new priority, the financial worries, etc all take their toll. and to their credit, they are one of those miracle couples who are somehow still able to carry on adult conversations while struggling w/ a baby slinging snotty cheerios and sweet potatoes at them or screaming for their attention.
and these are really good, well-intentioned people who are working hard to be the best parents in the world. they bought a whole catalog of pregnancy books when she was in the family way, and now that the bebe’s been hatched, they have a whole catalog of “how to keep a baby alive” books. it’s overwhelming. it truly is. both the arduous task of keeping a baby alive and the PhD in early child development you have to earn before you feel (barely! not really!) equipped to be a parent.
so each night in austin robb and i would lie in bed and look at each other with wide eyes going “are we sure we can do this??” it’s a daunting task. and since i’m sort of on forced “baby hiatus” we can’t help but double, triple check that we’re sure this is what we want and that we’re ready.
but can you ever really be ready for not sleeping? never finishing a whole meal or sentence or movie? ready for the constant, chronic guilt of parenting (guilt over day care options, guilt over health care options, guilt over not having enough money, time, or patience, guilt over not being enough of/being too much of a conservative/hippie parent, etc). argh!
this is why i always (impractically) sort of wished i’d just accidently wind up pregnant (something about responsible use of modern contraceptive methods makes this fantasy). weighing all these worries and still pushing ahead is hard to do! but if i was just (oops!) suddenly “with child” i know i’d just carry on with my bad self. sigh. you see what i mean?
but- on a more immediate note- i’m taking advantage of the baby hiatus by enjoying wine! margaritas! sushi! and all the blue cheese my heart desires!