Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fantasy vs. Reality

Now that I've been a mother for five whole months (during which time I have become wise and all-knowing about parenting), I'd like to take a moment to look back in time at pre-baby Pregnant Melissa.  Pregnant Melissa had a lot of cute ideas as to how she would be spending her time during maternity leave, mainly based upon the unrealistic portrayals of parenthood that we see on television....

Situation:  Taking a Walk
Fantasy:  Pregnant Melissa had a lovely fantasy in which she saw herself pushing a stroller through the park in autumn, chatting with her newborn bundle of joy, and pointing out the beautiful changing colors of the leaves.  Melissa is trim and fit in her newly purchased outfit because she has lost SO much weight that even her pre-pregnancy clothes are too big.  For the duration of the walk, the baby smiles and coos quietly in the stroller, and adorable little woodland animals scurry alongside the walking path.

Reality:  Too scared to leave the house alone, I coerce JK into joining us to attempt a single lap around our block.  In the 20 minutes it takes me to flap around the house and prepare for the walk, I get all sweaty and worked up.  Which isn't really that big of a deal, because I've been wearing the same spit-stained t-shirt for at least three days.  For the first half of the walk, I am paralyzed with fear that Monica is going to start pooping or crying and we'll need to turn around.  Once we hit the halfway point around the block, I practically sprint the rest of the way home.  I collapse on the couch even sweatier than before, vowing to never leave the house again.

Situation:  Shopping and Running Errands
Fantasy:  Pregnant Melissa envisioned a leisurely stroll through Target to pick up a few household essentials.  On the way out, her and the baby stop at Starbucks to enjoy a refreshing frappuccino.  Everyone who passes by stops to comment on how the baby is so adorable and well behaved.

Reality:  Too scared to leave the house alone, we stick to group outings for the first two months.  JK shops and I nervously keep the stroller in constant motion, fearing that Monica will start pooping or crying.  Both things happen anyway.  I end up hanging out in the car, changing diapers and nursing, while JK finishes shopping.  It's just like being at home, except that we don't have the comfort our Boppy.  When I finally muster up the courage to go out on my own, it wasn't until I was in a store that I realized I can't push a stroller and a shopping cart at the same time, so I can't actually buy anything.  It's almost a relief because I'm too scared to have to wait in line.

Situation:  Cooking Dinner
Fantasy:  Pregnant Melissa just knows that her perfect baby will be taking all sorts of lengthy naps, during which she will have tons of free time to concoct exciting new gourmet meals for her husband.  She has been pinning recipes and stocking up on supplies to make fun and healthy new meals.

Reality: Whoever said that babies nurse every 2-3 hours, and sleep most of the time in between, was full of sh*t.  This kid eats every hour.  On the off chance that I might be able to snag a few minutes to prepare some food, there's no way in hell I'm actually going to get to eat it once it's done cooking, so I'm not wasting my time.  JK does his very best to prepare meals and deliver them to me on the couch where I have a baby stuck to my boob 24/7.  
Present Day State of Affairs - Life with a 5 Month Old
If you're a new mommy or mom-to-be reading this, take heart:  this phase where it seems like you can't go anywhere or do anything totally settles down after the first three or four months. I promise.  Things will ease up and you will be able to go out in the world again. Get out there and enjoy yourselves before teething begins!

For those moms who are still laughing at Pregnant Melissa's absurd fantasies - it's ok.  I'm laughing, too :) 

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