Editor's Note: Mónica Guzmán is a columnist for The Seattle Times and Northwest tech news site GeekWire and a community strategist for startups and media. She emcees Ignite Seattle, a grab-bag community fueled speaker series, and dissects media tech trends on PBS MediaShift’s Mediatwits podcast. Eight and half months ago, Monica became a first-time mother to her baby boy, Julian. In honor of ParentMap's upcoming BabyMap events, Monica answered some of our questions and shared some of her new motherhood memories with you.
As a first-time mom, what was the most surprising change in your life?
Before I became a mom, I was scared that I would miss so much: The freedom I had to do things on my own time, on my own terms, without a baby to care for.
After I became a mom, the changes were definitely there. No leaving the house without a diaper bag and a baby, no following friends we met for dinner to a bar, because we have to relieve the babysitter, and almost no going to the movies. At least, nowhere near as much as we used to.
The surprising thing is how little I actually miss being able to easily do this stuff. My son is so fascinating, so fun to watch grow, that those other things — going to the movies? — it just doesn't mean what it used to mean to me.
What else changed for you and your partner?
Another surprising change: Before I became a mom I was convinced that the baby would explode our precariously balanced, extraordinarily busy lives. Now we look at the baby, playing with his toys, look at each other and go, 'what the heck did we do with all that time we had before?'
Instead of disrupting our lives, baby's schedule — his naps, his bedtime, his waking up, like clockwork, right around 8 a.m. — has ordered them. We plan ahead more. We have more of a routine than we ever did. Plus, by some miracle we're getting lots done (he works full-time, I work part-time, plus extracurriculars) with plenty of time left over to play with our son. We don't understand how it happened, but it did.
Lastly, and this is the scariest thing — it hurts how much I love my son. The first time he got sick — vomiting and a fever — I didn't shower. I didn't dress. I barely ate. It killed me to see him in pain. There is a thing alive now that needs me and needs his dad so, so much that it's terrifying to think, what if we mess up?
Then again, like with our schedule, it's clarifying. Julian so obviously comes first, that it's kind of nice to order everything else after him. No fussing about priorities here. He's it.
What do you do for fun these days?
We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of two parks in northeast Seattle. When it's nice out, we go. It's been a fun way to meet other parents. I met our now part-time nanny through a connection I made at View Ridge Park.
We're still getting together with our PEPS group, which is so fun. The babies just keep growing, and we share tips and milestones and questions pretty regularly on Facebook, too. We don't have to do anything special to have a good bit of fun, though. There's nothing quite like finding new ways to make Julian laugh. And that can happen anywhere. On a stroll, at a restaurant, or at home, watching mom dance to the Caspar Babypants Pandora station or squirming as dad tickles his tummy.
More Play Dates: This Q&A is part of a new blog series that profiles some of our community’s most interesting parents and how they live and play.
Get your post-baby passion on!
ParentMap is hosting two special BabyMap events for Seattle and Eastside parents (and soon-to-be parents) this May: At Seattle Children's Theatre on May 15 (evening) and Bellevue College on Sat May 18 (morning). Hear guest speaker Dr. Pepper Schwartz, America's leading sexpert and best-selling author, share secrets for post-baby passion and how to build love and intimacy alongside the needs of your growing family. Event guests will find resources and expert advice on baby health, infant CPR essentials, early learning and parent support. Treats include mommy massage, Trophy cupcakes and a chance to connect with other new parents. For those expecting child #2 or #3, there's also FREE onsite childcare! Visit our event page for details and tickets ($15 or $20/two)