But after seeing several posts on Facebook over the past few weeks that all followed the same pattern, I had to speak up today. And again, I can only speak to my own experience, but I think I finally may have figured out a parenting trick.
So let's start with what I saw. The Facebook posts went a little something like this (and yes, I'm paraphrasing):
"Taking baby out for the first time. Wish me luck!"
"Have to go to the store, and Daddy's at work. I guess I'm on my own."
The tone is always the same, full of fear and worry. Like going to a store is a personal Everest that needs to be traversed.
Guess what? Sometimes, it is!
At some point, you are going to be on your own with your child, and you are going to run out of milk/bread/diapers/laundry detergent/(you get the idea!). You are going to need to leave your home with your baby and no other adults will be around to help you.
So my recommendation is just get this out of the way before it comes to this moment of forced retreat and sheer panic. Whether you are a first-time mom or a veteran, you need to get out of the house with your baby (or children). As soon as medically/physically possible. Go for something. Anything you need, really. And the sooner you do it, the better.
It's easier said than done, but try not to think too hard about it. Your baby may cry through the experience. Your baby may sleep through it. You may struggle trying to figure out how to fit a baby carrier into a shopping cart as well as all of your groceries. You may be better at juggling a shopping cart and a hand basket than you ever could have imagined.
I've heard stories from real friends and other moms online that talked about it taking two or three times longer than a normal trip to the store. But they did it. And you will eventually need to do it too.
You'll figure it out. Everyone does. And no one figures it out in quite the same way. But it's something that just needs to be done, and the less you look at it as some terrifying event, the easier it will hopefully be. Panic is never going to help in these situations.
Before you think I'm just doling advice and not taking it myself, please consider this. I have a husband who runs his own small business, and seeing as how his staff consists of his business partner and himself, he pulls a lot of long hours. In fact, two weeks before EM was born, his only employee (at the time) gave his two weeks notice. Which meant his last day was the day after I got home from the hospital, and D and his business partner were on their own again, with extra work that they had to divide between the two of them. If I had to wait for D to get home from work to get groceries or other household staples, we'd never have anything. Admittedly, his terrible, unreliable schedule is another reason I don't grocery shop often. But notice that I said "often," and didn't end the sentence without that word. I have to get out of the house sometimes. It just happens. I'll take the help when I can get it, but there are plenty of times when I am on my own. Three kids. One mom. And some days it works out just as it should, and other days, I'm that annoyed parent in the checkout line, saying through gritted teeth, "No, you cannot get the toy. Please stop crying because you're upsetting your baby brother."
So please, new parents, just rip off the bandage. Get out of the house, try not to think about it too hard, and just know that I've never seen a parent never make it home from the grocery store because of cranky children.