I’m a busy person by nature; I like to be involved and have things to look forward to during the week. If I don’t, I get a little bit stir crazy. Having a baby has unwillingly made me the biggest homebody. In the beginning, just the thought of leaving my house caused a dry lump to form in my throat and my stomach would jumble into a tangled mess of knots. A friend would invite me to lunch and I’d come up with just about a million reasons why I couldn’t go out before I would ever admit that it was too stressful to drive in a car with my newborn for longer than thirty seconds, let alone sit in a restaurant and eat a meal without being absolutely sick to my stomach the entire time.
In the past I would jump at the opportunity to catch up with a friend, go to my husband’s band concerts, or out to see a movie. Maybe it was because I was worried about forgetting the pacifier or maybe it was because I wondered if he would cry and I wouldn’t be able to soothe him. Regardless, leaving the house was not really an option for me
One evening I felt the desperate need to get out. My husband had a band performance he needed to be at and I got gutsy and decided I was going to venture out with the baby by my side and watch his students perform some pieces they had been working on. Somewhere between putting the baby in the car seat and driving down the road I had decided it was too much, began to sob uncontrollably, and told my husband to take me back. It can’t be this way. I thought. I need to be able to get out of the house and feel like a normal human being again.
I was listening to a podcast on budgeting (totally un-relatable, I know) when the host said, “I don’t let my babies stop me…” This single sentence changed me. Yes, my life is now different because I have another little human to care for, but it’s still my life. I was motivated to figure out how to get out of my house even if it meant forgetting a pacifier or having to calm my baby down in public.
I always keep my diaper bag stocked with items I know I will absolutely need… diapers, wipes, extra formula, and toys (and perhaps a onesie… just in case). This makes it so that I can grab the diaper bag and leave before I have time to think of a reason to say no. Even though I sometimes feel stressed once I’m out, it helps to know that I have everything I could possibly need with me.
And guess what? I’ve learned new tricks to keep him happy while I’m out to lunch with a friend. I’ve learned that it’s okay for him to take a nap in his car seat while I get groceries or drive to my mom’s. I’ve learned that it’s okay if he cries because I know how to calm him down and I can do it even if there are people around. I’ve learned that it gets easier and easier the more I get myself up and out of my house… even if I have a baby on my hip.
Right now, life looks a lot different for me than it did when my baby was first born. I say yes to playdates, venturing into stores, and visiting my husband during his guitar class. Having a baby may make me a little more tied down, but I know that I’m happier when I get up, get myself ready, and leave the house. I am even looking forward to taking my baby on hikes with me and out to swim this summer.
But just because I say yes more often, doesn’t mean the stress has completely left me. I still worry about the exact same things I did in the beginning, just not as much because I know I’m a better, happier wife and mother if I do take myself and the baby out every once in a while. I’ve realized that people are very understanding about a crying baby and that they’d rather you be with them, chatting and grabbing a smoothie, than at home sitting on your couch.
If you experience similar feelings, I encourage you to muster up a little bit of courage and venture out, even if it’s just for a ten minute walk around the block. I promise it gets easier and I promise that it will help you feel a little bit more like yourself again. Babies don’t have to stop us from enjoying the things we did before we had them. Sure, it’s different now and requires us to lug around a car seat and diaper bag, but I promise it’s worth pushing through the fears you have and learning how to take care of your baby while you take care of yourself.
Cambri is a young mother located in the heart of Utah. She and her husband welcomed their first son in 2019 and the world only got brighter from there. Together they love music, board games, and The Office. Cambri is an ambitious dreamer navigating her way through life while learning to love the beauty of motherhood. She believes there is something good in every day, we just need to look for it. You can find more from Cambri on her Instagram: @cambri-hurst
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