When my wife first told me the news that we were pregnant, I freaked out a little bit. Imagine that, trying to get pregnant and being astonished when it actually happens. Anyways, I looked around the house and felt it wasn’t good enough, looked at my job (or, *cough cough* my income) and decided it was trash, and peeked in the mirror and said I could use some work too. The feeling abated after a few panicky weeks but quickly returned once I had my daughter in my hands 8 months later. It felt like a truckload of pressure on my shoulders, but not necessarily in a bad way.
I have heard and read about ‘nesting’, where there is a biological mechanism in one’s body (more strongly felt in females; hmm…what does that say about me?) that makes a parent become subconsciously protective even before the child comes. Is the nursery ready? Is the house clean? Are the 12 diaper genies in secure locations? Can we afford this rugrat? Am I too fat to keep up with a newborn? Will my newborn hate these curtains? Are we good enough? I assume these are things that other people think, but I suppose it could just be my wife and I.
Having my first child felt like an adrenaline shot into my life and almost completely positive as well. I felt a need to better protect my family financially and found a more secure job in the first trimester. I randomly started doing more housework for some inexplicable reason; planting more grass, mulch, weeding…if the baby somehow biologically affected me into doing yardwork, then I know what chores she’s getting in a couple more years. I also dove further into a lot of health and wellness initiatives, researching diets and exercise regimens. I wanted to do everything I could to make my baby healthy and I wanted to protect myself so I could ensure I’d be around for a long, long time if at all possible (my poor wife). Oh, and I decided to go back to school for my MBA. After sitting on my back end for 7 years doing nothing after undergrad graduation, I decided the perfect time to return to school was after I got married and was preparing to have my first kid. MORON. I blame this feeling I’m describing for my idiocy. And my first class took place when she was about 10 weeks old.
Now I wouldn’t say I let myself go after my daughter’s first year of life, but eventually the adrenaline and protectionism wore off just a little bit. I assumed that this little energy jolt was a firstborn phenomenon and some leftover evolutionary parental instinct relating to the first time I reproduced. But, 19 months later, the wife got herself knocked up again and the cycle repeated. Are we eating healthy enough? Not so much. Am I working out enough? Hardly. Are we financially secure? Laughable. So the motivation cycle kicked back into overdrive and I’ve been riding this motivational high for several months now.
Want some proof? My second daughter is 4 weeks old and I haven’t slept more than 5 hours in a month. Yet here I am, pounding keystrokes at 1:15 am with my wife and newborn asleep in the next room, trying to get this blog off the ground because it was my big motivational whim I experienced with Everly (my second daughter). And yes, I’m back in the gym regularly, my diet is flawless (haha…just kidding), and my house is clean and orderly (blatant lie on the last one).
So my first daughter prompted me to return to school at age 30. My second daughter spurred the idea that an incredibly time-consuming blog and social media presence was a good idea. And both girls’ births have me punishing myself at the gym and eating rabbit food at night. If one kid makes me go to school and a second has me buy a website to start a blog, maybe by kid 12 or 13 I’ll actually be spurred into an action that generates money. Oh well. In all seriousness, my two daughters have produced a lot of action in my help; whether it is worthwhile…I guess we’ll see what the future holds. But it’s interesting how having children can inspire a sudden breath of self-awareness and set you down a path you may not have explored otherwise. Would I have gone back to school just for me? Would I start a blog if it was just my wife and I? I honestly don’t think so, which makes for yet another reason my daughters have been such a blessing to me.