I had lunch yesterday with my friend Jennifer, a fellow English teacher at Salem State that I’d lost touch with—hadn’t seen her since the end of the semester last spring and hadn’t got around to contacting her after I left last fall. We reconnected a few weeks ago when we both signed up for the same prenatal yoga class, neither of us knowing the other was pregnant!
Jennifer is due in July and it was great to sit and chat with a friend who is also pregnant, though for her this is the second child. Her son, Luc is three. One of the things we talked about was the things people tell you that are either unhelpful or untrue.
As we were talking about how your life changes after marriage and then how it changes after having a baby, she said that after Luc was born she read quite a bit… making her way through the complete works of Jane Austen. I laughed. So many people have told me that once I have the baby I won’t have time to read. But Jennifer and I agree that if you are a reader—as we both are—you read. You find time. True, I’ll have less time than I have now. It will probably be more like the amount of reading I get done during a busy semester when I have plenty of papers to grade and lessons to plan. But not reading at all is just not an option. I suspect that most people who don’t find time to read after their kids are born simply don’t make it a priority. They probably had to stuggle to find time to do so before they had kids too. Whereas for me books are like food: a necessity, not a luxury.
I know things will change and I know that I can’t really anticipate what my life will look like. As Jennifer said, one of the things about having kids is that as they grow their routine changes and your life has to keep changing with it. No sooner do you start to get comfortable with one routine than they enter a new phase and you have to overhaul everything. But then that’s kind of what I like. One reason I enjoyed both being a student and then teaching college is that every semester my schedule would change and I got to develop a whole new routine. And it’s not like Dom and I have been married so long that we’ve had time to develop patterns that will be hard to break. In fact things have been constantly changing for us for the last year or so.
It all comes down to this: everyone is different and though there are some universal experiences, how you handle them will depend on your personality, your expectations, your past experiences, a whole multitude of factors. SO I take any advice I’m given with a grain of salt and listen to people’s stories for information but don’t count too heavily on my experiences being a match for anyone else’s.