I had an appointment with my OB today. When I entered the office, it was packed. There was one chair left in the middle of the room and I was lucky enough to get it. On my right was a Mom busy with her toddler and on my left was a skinny, young guy who looked a little on the shady side. He was there with his pregnant girlfriend or wife, and I’ll be honest, my first thought was: What is she doing with him? (I know, I know, how judgmental and rude to judge a book by it’s cover. Like you haven’t done it, come on!) The girl was dressed nicely and had her hair and make-up done, she was cute. He looked bored, unimpressed and possibly hung-over, in very saggy work-uniform pants and a grungy shirt. I pulled out my phone and decided to play a little Candy Crush while I waited for my name to be called.
Then…she started talking. She was talking to her guy, and it started with a bunch of stuff I didn’t pay attention to because I was immersed in Candy Crush and trying not to eavesdrop, but I was certainly aware of the non-stop chatter. Before long, I couldn’t help but hear her because she was getting loud. Loud enough that pretty much everyone in the waiting room was able to hear her.
Chatty: “Well, did they win the game last night?”
The Boy: “No. Julius Randle broke his tibia too.”
Chatty: “Oh, really? Is he like an important guy? Does he get along with Dwayne Wade? I heard Dwayne Wade was talking shit to people.”
The Boy: “I don’t know.”
Chatty: “Why don’t you ever want to talk to me? I’m trying to talk to you and you just have one word answers for me…(continues furiously berating him for around 3 more minutes.)
The Boy: (Quietly) “You just have the worst timing…this is not the time for this…”
Chatty: (Not Quietly) “Well, I was just asking questions! You just never…” (non stop stream of words for another three minutes.)
The door opens and a woman comes in pushing a very large jogging stroller with a toddler inside. At this point not only are all of the chairs in the office filled, there are now around ten people standing against the counter and wall. It is hot and uncomfortable, and now the last tiny section of space is covered by the biggest stroller in the universe.
The Boy: “See that? That’s how big those things are.”
Chatty: “What do you mean? Is that the one we got? We haven’t even opened it yet, how do you know it’s going to be that big?”
The Boy: “Well, they are pretty much all the same and that thing will take up all of your trunk space.”
Chatty: “No, it will take up all of YOUR trunk space! You can haul it around in YOUR car!”
The Boy: “I don’t even have a trunk!” (I am now wondering what he drives…)
Chatty: “Whatever! I’m not hauling everything around in my car, just so you know.”
The Boy: “Oh God…”
Thankfully, the nurse called them back just then. It took everything I had to not stop them and say:
Listen, I know that you two think that the issues you’re arguing about right now are a really big deal. You don’t talk to her as much as she’d like, she doesn’t give you the quiet time you’re looking for. Neither one of you want to sacrifice the coolness of your cars for stroller room and car seats. You are probably both terrified of being stuck doing more than the other one in terms of raising this baby. I might even be giving you more credit than you deserve and you may have not even thought about what this baby is about to do to your lives and relationship at all. I won’t pretend to know exactly what you’re going through based on the twenty minutes I’ve spent listening to you argue in the waiting room. What I will tell you, is that you have no idea what is about to happen to you. There will not be time for this crap once this baby comes. You will need each other, you will HAVE to rely on each other, you will be equally scared and equally clueless and equally responsible to care for that helpless little being. Instead of being afraid of doing more than the other person, you’ll be afraid that they aren’t doing it right and you’ll want to do it yourself. You’ll hover, you’ll try to take over, you’ll secretly feel like you are the only one who knows how to take care of your baby’s needs.
Your car will mean exactly nothing in a few months. As long as it runs and can get you and that baby to where you need to be, the rest will never cross your mind. Not only will your trunk space be gone, so will your back seat. You’ll have toys and wipes and diapers and cheerios and some unknown sticky substance covering every single inch of everything. Pulling the huge stroller out of the trunk will be easy, forgetting the stroller at home when you have an entire day of errands planned and no one to help you carry the diaper bag, baby and groceries is hard.
Good luck following up on all the NBA drama in a little while. Not only will you not care who gets along with Dwayne Wade, you might not even know if he is traded or retires. This also applies to any television show you currently follow, artist you listen to or publication you enjoy reading. If you can find five minutes of silence to enjoy a hobby, you’ll probably want to sleep instead. Oh Boy, her chatter is no longer going to be dedicated to finding out your thoughts on your interests. She will probably talk just as much, but now it will have nothing to do with you. It will be all about your child. What he needs, what he did, what he needs to do, what he will soon be doing. Did I mention what he NEEDS? You will miss the days that she begged you to talk about YOU. And you, Chatty, will no longer care about him talking to you about meaningless drivel. You’ll no longer feel that burning desire to know every thought on his mind and opinion on every topic. You will need him to fill you in on what cute thing the baby did when you went to the store, what he thinks you should do about this diaper rash, how he feels about the pediatrician you’ve chosen, how to celebrate the holidays, when he thinks the baby will crawl. Oh, and what the hell are you going to do for dinner tonight?
You won’t be able to dismiss each other. You won’t be able to fight about the little stuff. You simply will not have the time or energy for it. You’ll consider the day a success if you can collapse in bed together before ten o’clock and manage to sleep uninterrupted until midnight. I don’t know if you have what it takes to grow up and pull it together before the baby arrives, but you’ll find out really fast if you have what it takes after the baby is here. This tiny person has the ability to sink you if you don’t grow up. It looks like you have a few months to work on it, and I suggest you do. Work together for the sake of your little family. It is really beneficial for you both to be there every morning and every night, getting along and digging in the trenches side by side. There is only one other person in the world that loves your child as much as you do, and that person is standing right next to you. Lean on each other, you three are all that matters in your world now.
But I didn’t. Because the truth is, I’m still figuring it all out. I am no where close to an expert wife and mother. There are nights that Mike and I barely have a minute to talk to each other before crashing out, and times that we get on each other’s nerves too. Maybe I just caught Chatty and The Boy on a bad day. I hope the best for them, because this parenting thing is really hard and having an ally makes it a lot more bearable.