(this is part four in a continuing installment of what people usually tend to leave out when they tell everyone about parenthood. The previous installments can be found below. Woot.)
The first three months, as we just discussed, are a pretty dazed blur. That’s okay though because chances are you’ve had some time off work to adjust and your parents have been there to help you out and generally, once you kiss a full night of sleep goodbye forever and learn how to work your tits for breastfeeding, the baby itself isn’t that much work. You can put it on the bed and go take a shower. You can set it on the floor and make a sandwich. You can put it in a carseat and go out to brunch with your friends. You’ll get the first little taste of the bullshit that is a baby that refuses to just shut the fuck up and chill at a crucially inopportune time, but ultimately, for all the haze and sleepless nights, that first three months is also pretty cool because it’s kind of like being on vacation.
Well, welcome back to work, assholes. The party is over. This is the point where you CAN, if you’re so inclined, sleep train your baby so that it won’t wake up in the night. It’s a grueling and brutal process that I’ve gone into here before (when I was actually doing it) and I’m not gonna revisit now, but lemme just briefly say that it takes about 3 nights and on that fourth morning, when you’ve slept through the night for the first time in months, you’ll wake up at some ridiculously early hour and you’ll immediately have these two thoughts 1) ‘holy shit. I have NEVER felt this rested at 645 in the morning’ immediately followed by 2) “Holy fucking shit! The baby is dead!” You’ll run in and wake up your baby and instantly feel like a complete moron (unless your baby’s actually dead in which case, well, you can pretty much stop reading now).
Anyway, 3 months is when they stop being wrinkled, clear larvae and start looking like what you traditionally think of as a baby. They can hold their heads up, they’ve got some thickness and it no longer seems like they could just up and die if they sneezed too hard or something (at the three month mark, your baby’s chance of randomly dying does, in fact, go way down). I don’t remember too many details from this period because honestly, babies at this age are still pretty fucking dull. They don’t get even remotely interesting until they’re six months old, when they start recognizing you and smiling at you and giving a shit about you (if this sounds myopic, consider that a baby of that age knows only their parents. Replace “you” in the previous sentence with “anything at all” if you prefer a less self centered explanation), and generally focusing on stuff here and there. At three months, they’re no longer completely terrifying, but they’re still useless as shit and they’re not doing anything approaching something you could guilelessly refer to as something other than “just laying there and shitting and crying.”
Three months is also when you start getting some clearance to get a little bit of your life back. Boning is now something you can consider doing again and you’ll be relieved to find that things are pretty much the same (reduced sexdrive, exhaustion and completely off limits hooters not withstanding). You will also, around three months probably decide that you’re gonna go out for the evening. This leads to the greatest, and most inescapable dickpunch of parenting, and what I really want to discuss today.
You’re out at the bar! You’re a parent. Fuck. Finally, you’re back, motherfuckers (if only for a night)! If you’re a woman (and you’re not a completely revolting human being), you haven’t been drunk in a year. If you’re a guy, you’ve most likely been going out a lot less than you were used to back before your old lady got pregnant. For the past few months, you’ve been sleep deprived and there’s just no way you’re partying in any sort of consistent manner (unless you’re a godless asshole). This starts around when the kid gets born and goes on at LEAST until they turn four. I can’t really comment past four, as it’s as far as I’ve gotten so far as a parent. BUT, the point is the same. You may have been a reckless partier that was out until 2 every night drinking shots of whiskey and telling the world to go fuck itself before you had kids, but once you have a baby, (again, unless you’re a terrible asshole) you can’t keep that shit up at all. You may try once or twice, but the lack of sleep, the impossible mornings, the guilt you’ll genuinely feel (and the guilt trip your fellow parent, who stayed home and then got up early to deal with your child while you slept in) and your own realization that being really hungover around something that screams right in your ear is absolutely terrible will all conspire to keep you out of the bars with anything approaching any sort of regularity. You will (mark my words) disappear.
BUT! Not forever. Every now and again, you’ll have a night out. It may be a buddy’s birthday, or a show you really want to see or a bachelor party or whatever. But here’s the thing: you’re out of practice now. Now when you’re out at midnight, you’re up a full two to four hours past the absolute LATEST you stay up at home. Now, when you’re out drinking cocktails and shots (you’re still drinking shots?!?!?) your body is unused to them. Now, when you drink the ‘regular amount’ that you’re used to drinking when you’re out at this bar with these friends, instead of being witty and urbane and in the zone with everyone, you’re fucking hammered. You’re, in fact, incredibly hammered due to your new sleep schedule and diet and lack of booze training. You have become a lightweight. Thank you, parenting.
So, you disappeared for a while and now you’re back in your old stomping grounds where people know you and for fucks sake, they recognize that you can’t party like you used to and understand the situation, right? They say things like “oh, look. Darlene is back out on the town. Good for her. She deserves a night out after being cooped up for the last year+.”
Nooooooooooo. They do NOT. Maybe your close buddies/girls will dig what’s happening, but the VAST majority of the people that you see when you go out will think (and say) things like this: “Wow. Did you see her? So fucking wasted. And she’s a mom now. Holy shit. That’s pretty gross, honestly. She’s got a problem” completely ignoring that the whole reason you’re so wasted is because you actually DON’T drink all the time and don’t have the grizzled, hard ass, take no shit, drill sergeant liver you once did. It’s (to reiterate) the ultimate dick-kick of parenting. You will become a lightweight, and people will shame you for it. You. The person in the bar who actually doesn’t go drinking all the time, the person in the bar who really does need to blow off some steam, will be shamed by greasy dipshits with fat thighs, pimply roommates, Jager breath and bags of cocaine in their pockets as the one who’s disgusting and needs to pull it together.
Welcome to the life of being a mom/dad out on the town. It’s a fucking gas. Tomorrow, we’ll get into some other great facets of this bullshit. I keep wanting to write about time budgeting (yes, it’s really come to phrases like ‘time budgeting’) so maybe we can do that tomorrow. Yipes.