Reconfiguring Life – Pregnancy and A New Baby
Ian “the dude” Conley came along relatively late in his parent’s lives (Monica was 42 years old, I was 53), so, as I’m sure you can imagine, his arrival did signal some changes. The good news is that most of these changes have led to some great improvements in our general lifestyles.
First, there is the strictly physical. We’ve been very lucky that Ian has always slept through the night. However, since he turned toddler and beyond (he’s now just two months from turning four), he napped less and now tends to keep long hours and days. That means we are on duty from the time he rises until he goes to bed. What does that mean for us parents? The sheer length and intensity of the days forces us to think and act in a healthier manner, and that’s a really great thing!
Long hours and days with a very different focus are just part of the changes we’ve made. Another really important factor is how we deal with others. A child requires a different type of attention. Since Ian’s language skills are in the early stages of development, we’ve become much keener listeners, and I have found that this effects how I listen to others. I’m more attentive, and I really try to understand not just the words that someone may be saying, but also the meaning and feelings that come along with those words.
I find myself taking more time in conversations with people I may not know, and I am truly listening. It seems these days that people aren’t really listening when someone else is speaking, but rather they are busy formulating their response in their own mind. With a child, that just doesn’t work very well. A child might be looking for information (or giving information) that may not be exactly in line with whatever is going on. I find myself, again, actually listening to what the person is saying, and then formulating the proper response. This results in not just a higher level of conversational quality, it is also a better way to deal with others. We become more compassionate and empathetic when we listen.
IN REAL TIME
We must also be much more cognizant of how we deal with our physical household. Things we would once leave laying around on counters, or items we may have once not put away as soon as we were finished using them now get dealt with in a timely and safe manner. No sharp knives or items on counters, no glasses close to edges, cleaning products and inedible substances are now behind closed and secured doors. This has led to our generally being tidier and, more importantly, it has us thinking in the moment and taking care of business in real time.
That’s probably the biggest change, and the biggest benefit. Our lives are healthier because we have to be in shape to deal with someone who may be running for 16 straight hours! We have become more attentive to others, and we are more consistently living in the moment. Thanks, Ian!
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