Can’t stop, must stop
My wife and I have a tendency to make our big life changes in bunches. In 2014 alone, we got married, bought a house, ran two marathons (both by her), and switched jobs twice (both by me). We also tend to schedule just about everything. If you were to look at my wife’s handwritten timeline on any given Sunday afternoon, you’d most likely find an entry that simply says “Relax — 9pm-10pm” sandwiched between various chores and activities. This is just the way we do things.
And, to be honest, it’s only over the last week or so that I‘ve begun to accept what I suppose I’ve always known to be true — when our little guy shows up, we’ll have to slow down.
About 6 months ago, I made the executive decision to stop watering the lawn in our backyard. California is in the midst of an historic drought and, perhaps more to the point, I have absolutely no idea how to take care of a lawn. So we’ve committed to transforming our yard into a more sustainable and comfortable space (complete with a patch of astroturf). And while we’re at it, we figured we might as well knock out half of our second floor deck and replace it with stairs leading to said yard. This is no small project, so we’ve spent the last few months working with an architect to design the stairs and searching, in vain, for contractor who’s available to do the job.
As time slips away, so does our opportunity to finish the project before my wife’s due date. Our instinct has been to push forward anyway, assuming that we can handle a few weeks of newborn + construction. But when I asked our architect for assurance that this isn’t a crazy idea, he took a deep, measured breath: “It’s awesome that you guys are so eager. It’s one of the reasons why I love working with you. But your lives are about to get crazy.”
This was the first time that I had actually considered the possibility that parenthood should probably be the only thing we do with our free time for the first 3 months of our son’s life. In fact, even our most socially active friends have warned us that we may not leave the house for weeks at a time.
We’ve heard all of this before, but I guess I always assumed that we were different. If we can plan a wedding at the same time as looking for a house and launching a company, then why can’t we take care of a baby while we manage our first-ever remodeling project? The answer, I’m beginning to realize, is that taking care of a baby is way harder than any combination of anything we’ve ever done. And maybe, just maybe, we need to focus.
To be honest, I’m not terribly worried about me. I’m far from a homebody, but I can imagine myself becoming so consumed with the daily tasks of parenthood that I’ll simply forget to go outside.
My wife is a bit different. She’s not the type to let a day get the best of her. It’s hard to imagine her going months without complete control over her own plans, with no clear agenda, and subject to the whim of an infant who doesn’t quite grasp the concept of budgeting time.
So, yes, I guess we’re prepared to slow down a bit. But if we’re going to do this, it might as well be in a nice yard.