An open letter to the couple at Toys ‘R Us with the scanner in your hand:
I am the ghost of pregnant future and let me tell you, your future is pretty fucking grim. Look how cute you are with your matching Starbucks cups and adorable outfits. Look at your brushed hair. Look at how bright and alert you are. You fill me with rage.
I was you once. Here’s the picture to prove it. We wandered around…wandered. What a lovely word. I haven’t wandered anywhere for a very long time. Moving on, we wandered around discussing all the wonderful things people would buy for us that would make having a baby easier on us. Man, we were stupid.
Anyways, not that you’ll listen to me but here are a few things I think you should know.
Don’t say stupid things like “When we have our kid we’re never going to…” Here are some gems I uttered when I was stupid like you.
When we have kids I’m never going to:
- Let my kid eat McDonalds…yeah, my kid can differentiate which drive-thru window we’ve pulled up at and knows what to order (up to and including which condiments he’d like)
- Wear jogging pants in public…um I don’t remember the last time my pants had a legitimate waistband and button. I literally have a hierarchy of jogging pants, dressy/messy/horrendous
- I will not let myself go and stop caring about my appearance. Ha. Ha. Ha. I have literally had the thought “how much is too much vomit on my shirt before changing it?”
- I will never suck boogers (or insert something else gross here) from my child. Sleep deprivation is terrible. There is very little I wouldn’t do if it gets my kid to sleep. I actually posted something about booger suckers being gross when I was pregnant. We own 2 of these.
- I will never let my kid watch TV. Talk to me when it’s 6am and you don’t even know where you are. You’ll be able to queue up Paw Patrol on Netflix with your motherfucking eyes closed.
Paul had a wonderful idea in the months leading up to William’s birth. Every Friday we would pick a restaurant we’d never been to and have dinner. I don’t regret doing this as it gave us time to connect every week but I think back to those dinners with a longing, as we’ll never experience that again.
The biggest adjustment (and there are so many things that change) is you are literally bound to another person forever. Having a kid is unparalleled to any other relationship. Romantic relationships can end but once you’re a parent, it’s for life. Think of unconditional love. There isn’t any love that’s unconditional except parental love.
If your partner cheats, that love will likely dissipate. If your family steals money from you or is deceitful in another way, that conditional love is gone. Think to when you see courtroom verdicts of serial killers, a lot of times you see their parents sitting in their corner. Why? Unconditional love. There is NOTHING in the world that my boys could do that would make me stop loving them.
With this love also comes a heavy weight that no one warns you about. You are not alone. You will never be alone again. For the rest of your life you are responsible for another person. Technically you are responsible for them until they’re 18 (or 30 if you’re Italian), but that’s not true.
Once they are 18, you have to watch and make sure you didn’t raise assholes. Your guidance and presence is something you are bound to FOREVER. You can’t just “go out” Going out when you have small children takes precision planning, packing, multiple provisions and here’s another awesome part, once you’re out you will worry and feel guilty and it will never be as fun as going out before kids.
If you’re the couple in Toys ‘R Us, do as much alone as you can, because you will never be alone again. I mean as a couple, and by yourself. Get a massage, go to a movie, and go on vacation!
William was a surprise but Paul had already booked us an all-inclusive trip to Panama for my 30th Birthday when we found out we were pregnant. It was my first all-inclusive and I couldn’t drink which was a huge kick in the dick. So was having to stop my booster and anti-malaria medication but hey, it all worked out.
Once we arrived in Panama, Paul made up for my sober days by creating truly magical mornings for us. Every morning before anyone else was awake Paul and I would grab coffee and breakfast and sit together on the beach. No one would be out there but us and as we watched the sun come up over the ocean, we would talk and laugh and just be together, and of course make each other stupid promises like we were always going to be this happy even after we had kids.
A lot of times, when the kids are being especially shitty one of us will say to the other “Remember those mornings in Panama?” We’ll smile wistfully while combing shit out of our hair, or scraping vomit off the carpet and think back to a simpler time. There are a lot of times you will feel full of rage or out of fuel and as it’s horrendous to take that out on a baby, chances are you will redirect that rage to your partner. It’s not fair but it happens so if you can take yourself back to those moments pre-kid it helps.
So for now, enjoy the scanner, enjoy the freedom and enjoy each other. After the baby your life will change forever, and there is no going back.