When you think you and your husband are on the same “oh my god how are we going to handle being parents” spectrum of anxiety that tends to hit around the middle of the second trimester of your first kid (which no one tells you is going to happen but everyone nods in understanding about when you finally share that you feel like you may be losing your mind), all it takes is a Costco trip to realize once again how different men and women are.
Tom and I were standing in Costco looking at diapers. We hadn’t really analyzed diaper pricepoints yet so this shopping trip during week 25 of pregnancy seemed a good time to start.
“Are we sure we don’t want to do cloth diapers?” I asked for the umpteenth time.
“We’re in a drought,” Tom reiterated again (Dear God, please send rain to California). “The cost of laundry will be more than buying disposable diapers and worse for the environment here.”
“Plus, you hate doing laundry. You’re really going to be able to handle washing diapers every day?”
“I don’t know. Maybe,” I retorted. Then proceeded to mutter under my breath: “I don’t really see how I’m going to handle any of this.”
Tom laughed and teased that we were probably doomed. We continued on walking, leaving the minefield of diapers behind for the safety of bottled water.
“I just don’t get it,” I said. “I wasn’t at all worried about parenthood during the first trimester and most of the second trimester. I don’t get why it’s hitting me now.”
Tom maneuvered the shopping cart over to the meat section. “Yeah,” he agreed. “It’s starting to really stress me out, too. I mean, is Australia even going to be fun with a baby?”
I stopped and stared at him. “Wait, what? You’re worried about Australia?”
Australia is the first big trip we’re planning with the baby. Tom’s sister and her family are on a two-year work assignment in Sydney and next summer is our last chance to visit them before they move back to the states. It took me awhile to get Tom to consider the trip, but he was finally willing to say he was 90% onboard for it. I’m well aware traveling with a baby is going to be different and challenging, but if there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that this baby will travel. Tom and I are both huge travelers, it’s only natural (right?).
Yet now, he was proclaiming his biggest worry was Australia? He looked at me like he couldn’t figure out why I was acting so affronted by this.
“Well, yeah,” he said. “I don’t want to go on vacation if it’s just going to be stressful the whole time. Are we even going to have fun if we have a baby with us or am I just going to come back to work more stressed out instead of relaxed?”
I put a block of cheese into the shopping cart and folded my arms. “So, let me get this straight. I’m worried about, you know, totally fucking up our child because we have no clue what we’re doing, and I’m worried about how this child is going to affect the rest of our lives. And you’re worried about a two week vacation when the baby is six months old?”
“I just want to still have fun on the trip.”
I threw my arms up in the air. “We’ll still have fun! If there’s one thing I’m not worried about, it’s going to Australia.”
“Well, I’m not too worried about screwing the kid up that bad. We both had good parents. We’ll figure it out.”
“Well, I’m not worried about traveling with the baby. We’re going to teach this kid to love airplanes and foreign countries.”
We mock glared at each other for a few more moments, then let the discussion turn to what bottle of whisky Tom should purchase while I pointed out he should just be happy he can drink whisky right now. (I have to get my pregnancy sympathy digs in where I can.)
Later that evening as we were putting the groceries away, I wondered at how much more stress-free my life could be if I could focus my baby worry on Australia like Tom and not on all the other things, but then I realized…I’m going to be a traveling mama. Worrying about traveling with the baby is probably the one thing I don’t want to worry about. And so far I’m not. So we’ll be just fine. As for all that other parenting stuff? We’ll figure it out. Everyone does, right?