I’ve had a few outings sans baby lately, and each time, my friends comment on how weird it is to see me without Rowan. Maybe I should feel weirder to be out and about without him, but once I leave the building, I focus on what I’m doing in that moment. I still check in with the caretaker, and the OCD part of me needs to know the nitty gritty in regards to nap time and feedings. Otherwise, I embrace that it’s socially healthy for Rowan and me to have time apart.
But the third time someone noted I was flying solo, I started to think about how a year ago people thought it was weird to see me with a baby bump. Now they’re more used to seeing me with a baby attached to my hip than without. What else has changed in the last nine months?
Rowan’s officially been in the world for as long as he was growing inside me, and since he’s been here, many things have become my new normal that would have been out of my comfort zone before. Beyond the obvious, there are subtle differences:
1.) It takes me three times as long to go anywhere. Packing the diaper bag; dressing Rowan appropriately for the weather; strapping him safely into the car seat, carrier, or stroller; double-checking the diaper bag; remembering the keys. Instead of being places 10-15 minutes early, like the days of yore, I arrive on time.
2.) My house is more cluttered (and not just with Rowan’s toys). All of the things I haven’t gotten around to, such as the stockpile of magazines, the unsorted paperwork, the clean dishes to be put away, just sit out. When Rowan’s awake, I want to soak up time with him. When he’s asleep, I want to soak up time alone or with Arthur. As much as the clutter bothers me, it’s not enough to eat into family or me time.
3.) Outings are much more social and fun! Strangers are eager to make friends with Rowan, and he’s happy to interact with them. Places that I used to dread going to, like the post office and the city clerk’s office, are now more enjoyable thanks to my little boy. I’ve found nothing breaks down a hard exterior quite like a content baby.
It’s astounds me how much has changed in the past nine months, and I can only imagine what will change in the next nine. Chances are the condo will only get more cluttered. Once Rowan starts walking, it will probably take even longer to get anywhere. But on the bright side, our outings will be even more interactive and fun!