For the past six years, I haven't been to the grocery store alone.
That's the kind of thing you don't realize when you're expecting your first child. Some changes are obvious, like "this is a lot of responsibility" or "This is going to be very expensive" You realize this when the equipment starts rolling in. Cribs, swings, car seats, diapers, bottles, safety equipment for your coffee table. It's a lot.
But you still don't really get it until a few months in. You're never really alone anymore. And I don't mean in some metaphysical sense. I mean seriously, there's a kid with you all the time. It doesn't quite sink in until you're living it.
The advice to other expecting parents becomes the stuff that blindsided you. My favorite bit of advice - enjoy being in the bathroom with the door closed. Especially for stay at home moms like me. It won't happen again until that first day of preschool, when you are finally alone in your own house. That's like 3 or 4 years of leaving the door cracked so you can hear what's going on in the other room. But preschool was still only half day. I had a few hours to write and paint, so I spent my few precious alone hours working, and did all the errand running when CJ got home from school.
Now he goes to school full day. There isn't enough time after he gets home for a big grocery store trip. Yesterday, for the first time in six years, I found myself shopping all alone. No carseat bucket, no cart cover for the seat, no kid circling the cart every .8 seconds. No 20,000 questions. There were a lot of other moms with little guys in the cart, looking exasperated while they compared the price of pasta or canned soup.
The only thing in my cart's seat was a can of pizza sauce.
It was sort of zen to be able to shop in silence. To just pick up what I needed and get out of there. But I also missed my shopping buddy. From now on, I'll be handling this mostly solo. That's the other thing I wasn't expecting. Once you get used to the situation, it all changes again.