It would be a futile task to consider all the things that change in life after you become a parent. Many of them are big and meaningful and emotional; some are mundane. I think of two especially mundane changes in my life often when I’m out walking the city streets.
I used to always know the weather. I would spend hours poring over various weather websites and blogs. My husband and I mused about becoming tornado chasers. I vividly remember a prenatal yoga class when I was about 7 months pregnant with BRK. A fierce snowstorm was howling and blowing and covering everything with a white fur. My yoga teacher, who was expecting her third, shook icy snowflakes out of her hair and said she had no idea it was going to snow.
No idea? I thought. I had known about that snowstorm for 4 days, back when it was an upper level disturbance over the Rockies. How could anyone have “no idea” it was going to snow?
And now . . . I get it. I find myself surprised when raindrops begin to soak my face, no umbrella on hand. The last big snowstorm? I found out when my school principal announced over the PA that tomorrow would be a snowday. What is going on? Am I too busy now to spend hours poring over weather websites? I think that would be an easy explanation, but it’s not true. I am busy, but I also do a lot of different things with my time. I could watch less of Big Little Lies and more Weather Channel if I really wanted to. Perhaps I’m living more in the moment, not because of some inspirational quote but because it’s easier to do that right now, and I don’t want to think about the weather 5 days from now. Or maybe it’s that storms now stress me out. A power outage with small kids really sucks. Like the one we had in January for almost a whole day during which I couldn’t operate the breastpump. I don’t know the reason, but I do know there’s been nearly a 180 degree shift in my behavior. I wonder, will weather re-emerge as a hobby down the line when my kids are grown?
Another thing I used to love? Flea markets and second-hand stores! For everything! Clothing, knick knacks, furniture. Safe to say I bought most of my material things from these sorts of establishments. I would spend hours poring over vintage purses, finding the perfect one for $3. Shortly after BRK’s birth, I went to a few second-hand stores and flea markets. And then at some point, I just stopped going. My interest in them diminished to nearly nothing. Now, they actually create anxiety. I think I have a better handle on the reason for this shift. Basically, I feel like we are living in a chaotic mess at home most of the time, and the thought of spending my precious leisure time looking through what amounts to other people’s messes is just not appealing in the least. Having children has made me into a minimalist. I don’t own a lot of clothes and jeans and a T-shirt is sort of my main uniform. Empty horizontal surfaces bring me to a place of Zen. In the world of parenting entropy, I crave simplicity like never before.
Might I re-embrace the weather and flea markets at some future date? Perhaps I’ll be 75 years old, poring over an old mariner’s weather chart at someone’s yard sale. But for now, I’m happy in my world of weather surprises and flea market avoidance.