After I had my first baby, I didn't leave the house alone with him for six whole months. I wasn't afraid of germs, and I wasn't hogging him all to myself, I was mostly just scared that he'd have a diaper blowout at the craft store or throw up all over me in the produce section of the supermarket and I would die right there of utter mortification.
At home, I felt pretty comfortable in my role as a new mom so long as I had all
my trusty equipment and resources at my fingertips: bouncy seats and burp rags and snot
suckers and extra diapers and wipes and clothes and, of course, the
internet, to answer all my questions. I knew I couldn't pack all that into a bag for even a short outing, and the more I thought about all the millions of things that could go wrong "out there" with a baby, the more I felt my confidence fading away. This is how I ended up never leaving the house with an infant except on weekends, when we were accompanied by my husband, who was not only infinitely braver than I about this sort of thing but could also be employed to carry the giant bag of precautionary "what if" supplies I would pack for us.
Fast forward to when I had my second baby and it was--surprise!--no big deal to cart him all over town with me as soon as he was a few weeks old. What changed? What advice would I have given to myself the first time around? Three things:
- You can't prepare for everything.
- Bad things will happen.
- You'll be okay.
I learned these lessons the hard way (diaper blowout? check! baby barf-fest? check!), but you know what? I'm glad I did. Living through the mortification taught me just that: that I could and would live through the mortification and everyone would be fine. It's kind of like getting that first scratch on a brand new car; once it happens, you can stop worrying about it happening. In fact, as it turned out, even the worst of the gross/messy/embarrassing baby milestones were never as horrible in reality as they were in my head, and knowing that made all the difference.
Okay, confession time: What public mishaps have you lived through with your baby?
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