So…hi there, it’s been a while. Those of you who follow me on social media may have seen that I welcomed my own little adventurer into the world in November. Since then my life has been turned upside-down and while I’m completely and utterly in love with her, it seems that all other aspects of my life, including this blog, have taken a serious backseat.
But now I’m back. Or at least a more tired, more emotional version of me is back. As I was trying to write my first post in a while, I got to thinking about how my life has changed beyond all recognition. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that having a baby is a lot like travelling to a totally new place. I know that might sound a bit mad – and maybe this is just the exhausted mummy-brain thinking all kinds of weird things – but here’s six reasons why I think it might just be true:
1. You often have absolutely no idea what going on
You know that feeling when you arrive in a new country and everyone is speaking a different language and you have no idea what’s going on? Well imagine that every single day. Except the person that you can’t understand isn’t just a local trying to give you directions, or a waiter asking what you’d like to order off a menu. They’re a tiny, screaming, person that you’re responsible for keeping alive. Quite frankly, it’s terrifying.
2. Time changes shape
When I’m talking to people about my little adventurer I find myself alternating between saying “I can’t believe she’s already x number of weeks old” to “it seems like she’s been with us forever”. I feel like I’m in some kind of weird time warp. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that I’m seeing all sorts of times of day (hello 4am feeds), which makes the weeks seem so long. Sometimes I’ll see friends I feel like I haven’t seen for ages and ask them what they’ve been up to, thinking they’ll have loads of news and they’ll reply saying nothing has changed since the last time they saw me. This always reminds me of when I get back from my trips away feeling like my life has changed massively and ask people what they’ve been up to and they said the same thing. Time is weird.
3. There’s so much guess work involved
Travelling in a new country often involves a lot of guess work. When I was in China with friends we spent a lot of our time trying to guess what we were supposed to be doing. We didn’t always get it right obviously, which is how we ended up on our legendary 30-hour train journey. So what I’ve discovered is that having a baby involves pretty much the same level of guess work. When our little adventurer is crying Mr A and I go through the new parents’ checklist. Is she hungry? Is she tired? Does she have a dirty nappy? If the answer to those three basic needs is no, then the guess work begins. Maybe she wants a cuddle? Maybe she wants to be left alone in her cot. Do you think she’s been overstimulated? Do you think she’s under-stimulated? At times the list seems endless as we try to figure out what this tiny person wants us to do. It reminds me of so many moments on my travels when I have had no idea what was going on. Most of the time I just winged it; something I’m finding myself doing a lot these days.
4. You’re always exploring new places and meeting new people
Just like travelling, having a baby opens up a whole new world to you. Suddenly you discover secret baby changing rooms and feeding areas you never knew existed. You join new clubs and visit different places and you pretty much need to install a sat nav on your pram to figure out where all of the lifts are in shops.
The travel community is brilliant, especially when you’re staying in a hostel and everyone is desperate to make friends. When I was travelling solo on my 30b430 trip I met so many amazing people on bus rides, in restaurants and on day trips. And it’s the same with new mums. All you need to start a conversation when you’re travelling is a passport and all you need as a mum is a baby. I’ve struck up conversations with new parents in the strangest places: feeding rooms and doctors surgeries, yoga classes and rhyme time sessions at the local library. The network you become part of is the one that celebrates with you on a good day, like baby’s first smile, when you feel like your heart will break with the love you have for them and saves you on a bad day, when the crying just won’t stop. Like travel friendships, you find you bond with people quickly, because at the end of the day we’re all just dying to meet other people who understand this strange new world we’ve found ourselves in.
5. Everything takes forever to do
I always remember travelling in South America and being really frustrated about how long everything took to do. The ‘mañana mañana‘ attitude was something new to me and it took a long time to readjust my expectations and understand that everything would take longer than I expected it to. Having a baby has totally taken me back to that feeling. I’ve lost count of the number of times where I’ve told myself I’ll be up and out of the door in an hour and three hours later, after one poo explosion, two outfit changes and three feeds we still haven’t left the house. My little adventurer obviously has a little bit of the Latina in her.
6. It is 100% the best time of your life
Trying to sum up an amazing trip or holiday can often be hard. When I got back from my 30b430 travels I found it difficult to explain how special and life-changing they had been. It was honestly the best time of my life. Until now. From the moment she was born my little adventurer has taken over my life. Although looking after her is the hardest thing I have ever done, it is also the best. I love every day that we get to spend together. I love seeing her reach her little milestones. I love the little smiles that she gives me and the way she kicks her legs when she’s excited. I love how cute she looks in her tiny outfits and the way she holds my hand in the night when she’s trying to get back to sleep. And I love that some day soon I’ll be able to take her on our own adventures and I will get to see the world through her eyes.
How did your life change when you had a baby? I’d love to hear what the biggest differences were.