When I was pregnant, there were plenty of things I made sure to do before the baby arrived, whether it was going on a date night or sleeping past 10 a.m. (Though, warning: sleeping past 7 a.m. will soon feel indulgent.) But one thing I didn’t do enough of was leave. Just leave.
If you are pregnant and reading this, just stand up and walk out your front door. Right now. Just walk through that door, and close it behind you. Bring a wallet, or not. Take or leave your cell phone, I don’t care. Just leave and don’t come back for, say, 20 minutes. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Back? OK. That, my friends, is something you’ll never take for granted again.
You see, the other day, I was taking some “me time” and spending about 45 luxurious seconds going to the bathroom when I pulled off the last of the toilet paper roll. It was of course only then that I realized I’d forgotten to buy more the last time I was at the store. No big deal, I’ll just run out and grab some. Let me briefly explain what “run out and grab some” means, in minutes, to a new mom:
- 6 minutes: Pack up the diaper bag. It’s a short trip, sure, but you’ve learned the hard way to be prepared.
- 2 minutes: Brush your teeth. So what if it’s past 11 a.m. and you still haven’t done that yet? Don’t bother with makeup. It’s only a TP run, after all. It’s not like you are buying actual groceries and thus need to break out the mascara and lip gloss.
- 20 minutes: Feed baby. It’s been a while since she ate, and you don’t want to be dealing with a fussy baby the minute you step outside.
- 3 minutes: Burp baby. Easy peasy!
- 4 minutes: Change baby’s outfit. Not for sartorial purposes, but because that burp just came with a side of spit up. A lot of spit up. While you’re at it, you might want to change your shirt, too.
- 5 minutes: Change baby’s diaper. That smell you were trying to ignore during the outfit change isn’t getting any better.
- 1 minute: Check the weather. Looks like baby needs a hat.
- 1 minute: Find a hat.
- 4 minutes: Strap baby into car seat. Keep in mind, you aren’t anywhere near the car yet.
- 2 minutes: Grab your purse and keys and diaper bag and car seat and head for the door.
- 2 minutes: Pee. All this moving around has you needing to go to the bathroom again. Halfway through, you realize the reason for all this: you are out of toilet paper.
- 1 minute: Look for a tissue, paper towel, baby wipe, anything. Maybe you don’t need toilet paper after all?
- 2 minutes: Grab everything again and head out the door for real this time.
So, 53 minutes later I was finally “running out.” It took me nearly an hour to leave the house, and keep in mind that I was still in sweatpants, sneakers, and a ratty ponytail. (Truth: I realized right after I got outside that I forgot to put on deodorant but refused to turn back.)
The lesson here? I never realized how easy it was just to walk out the door before I had a baby. If I could go back in time, I’d tell my pregnant self to just get up — no matter how swollen my feet were — and leave. I’d tell her to enjoy the freedom of being able to decide to leave and actually leave within the same minute.
So, every now and then, just stop what you are doing and go for a walk around the block. Go grab a manicure. Go run to the bodega for a bag of Skittles. Go anywhere. Soon enough you’ll have one major (albeit adorable) obstacle between you and the front door.