Of course, it’s not all puppy dogs and ice cream. There are the downsides of parenthood. For me, the crying, diaper changes, and lack of sleep aren’t on the list, although I wouldn’t call them perks of the job, either. The toughest part is the (temporary) loss of “me” time. If I’m going to be an engaged parent and a good partner to Colleen (which is the priority), there’s not much time for anything besides work and baby and maybe occasional personal hygiene and food shoveling (the twitchy cousin of real, actual meals). I have to say goodbye to the extended guitar playing time, the long workouts, the leisurely morning coffee and writing sessions. And new endeavors are also a challenge. Now is not the ideal time to start a new project, or take up a new hobby, or even do much planning beyond the next weekend. Long gone are the “Massive Nights” of The Hold Steady, the Japandroids’ “plunder of the poets/thunder of the punks’ guitars.” All that, in a word, sucks. And I have it easier than Colleen.
On the flip side, having a baby has a clarifying effect. I know my priorities. And I have a newfound appreciation for simple pleasures. An uninterrupted meal. A good (if interrupted) night of sleep. A few minutes of whispered adult conversation in bed with Colleen. Family visits. Time in the park. The time and energy to do the dishes. I’m hoping as Declan gets older and we begin to add some of the lost endeavors and hobbies back in, I won’t lose that sense of gratitude.