Babies, A Reality Series

This jet lag is kicking my ass. I downed a bunch of Nyquil last night so I could sleep through and this morning when SPARKY woke me up for school, I did NOT want to get up. So before I hit the sheets for a little afternoon nappy, I thought I’d share a conversation Sparky and I are having.

It’s about babies. Ok, listen, we are not having them yet. We’re still in the “talk about it” phase.

Anyway, we were lying in bed, in our clean, quiet house, talking about the realities of babies and I mentioned that mothers are so tired in the first six months that cleaning the house is the last priority. That it can be so overwhelming that even getting dressed sometimes does not happen. I was trying to emphasize how much work babies are and really hit home that cleaning house and polishing our glass counter top would take a backseat to feeding, changing diapers and sleeping.

He seems to think that I’m exaggerating. After all, HIS mother managed to keep a clean house, feed her men folk, her baby AND sleep. As he was an infant, I doubt his memory. I figure Mutti had a hook on every door of her house. She’d feed and swaddle young Sparky then hang him on the hook. He hung on this hook until he was 20 and left for school. That is the only way any house I know could survive a child without fingerprints on the walls.

So in this vein, our perspectives on the realities of babies are a bit different.

Our neighbors are about our age and have a 1 year old. He says the Bs managed to keep their house clean and Mrs. B got dressed in the morning with the baby. What didn’t register is that we did not see Mrs. B for 3 months after the baby was born AND Mrs. B’s mother and father stayed with them for those three months AND they have a housekeeper who came twice a week during that time.

If we were to have a baby, hopefully my mother would not come for a visit. I can’t imagine Sparky’s mother making me less stressed and I my position is that if we have a baby, he will be on housecleaning duty or we get a housekeeper because I promise I will not keep the house in his pristine museum-like state.

He thinks I’m kidding. I’m serious. He thinks I’m exaggerating. Am I? Can I hear from some moms out there? Christina? Library Lady?

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19 thoughts on “Babies, A Reality Series

  1. On the one hand, it is true that with a new baby, it is impossible to keep the house perfectly clean.

    On the other hand, noone in the house will care. Not the mother, not the father, and certainly not the baby.

    Our experience is that this phase lasts at least until the child is 6, and perhaps longer. Our son just turned 6…

  2. Hey Hey! What the “F” is going on here? Hey, I loved your blog, but I got to wonder and because I am wondering I got to ask…. What the hell is sparky planning to do during this child raising experiance? You mentioned all the additional duties you or your visitors would be performing, but no mention of what ole sparky will be doing during this time. Is he gonna be an active member in the child raising experiance, or is he gonna just loaf around? I gotta know!! I was once a guy that thought that all the parenting was to be done while I was at work.(Yea, when I was 10 or so) Now that I am expecting a baby I want to be the one wiping the fingerprints from the furniture. I want to be the ONE!!! I want to not miss a moment of my babys life! I want to be the one responsible for everything that is a part of my babys life. VOMIT, PEE, LATE NIGHTS, TEETHING, DIAPERS, CRYING, BOTTLES, MORE FEEDING, MORE DIAPERS……..OH god,yes and thank you!! I want it all!! and please let every moment that I am witout my baby be uneventfull and boring. I do not want to miss a minute of life from my baby!!

  3. Oh man. You’d have really big problems if your mother visits. Altho I doubt a baby would be enough to drag her out of hiding.

  4. I’m so glad dads responded. But I have one more question, were you obsessive about cleanliness before the baby?

    PS – we had a six year old over once. Sparky followed her around making sure she never touched the walls.

    Haddock: Hmm. that is the point i was trying to make. not the cats, but the priority thing. but the cat/kid thing, you have the greatest kid, do you have messy cats?

    Rich: you have to still love sparky, he’s just has OCD. It was the hook he was raised on, not his fault. He’s GERMAN.

    I’m so happy you’re going to be a dad. Looks like you’ll be a natural. Sparky and I, not so much.

    My sister was born when I was almost 16. I totally remember the gory details. Best form of birth control my mother could have provided and its still effective 19 years later.

    I come from a large extended family amd babysat my way through high school.

    Sparky… well, life on that hook was pretty clean and baby free. He’s an only child.

    Chevy: She’s not “hiding”. I know exactly where she is. I just don’t want to dig up the box of worms. And don’t we have enough skeletons in the closet?

  5. Strike a deal. One baby for one cleaning service. If he wants a second one, he’ll have to throw in an au pair or a twice yearly trip to a health spa. It’s not like he’s going to have to be that kid’s room and board for nine months and main food source for the months following…

  6. Sorry, – couldn’t reply sooner because I was too exhausted from taking care of the kids! HA HA HA!

    Wow, you mean ‘the vessel’ just might see some action after all? I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one. 🙂

    No, you are NOT exaggerating at all. The Sparkster (god love him!) will just have to get used to a little dust and grime. Or clean the damn house himself. Baby comes first.

    Neither I nor my husband were fanatical about a clean house beforehand, so when everything went to pot afterwards, no one noticed much. In the beginning babies don’t make much more mess than a diaper or a burping cloth can contain, but you just don’t have the engergy to do much else than take care of the little nipper. My doctor says it takes 9 months to grow a baby and at least 9 months to recover, if you’re lucky

    A cleaning lady would be a GOOD THING. We don’t (and didn’t) have one, due to financial contraints and the fact that I don’t like other people touching my stuff, but my mum ALWAYS had one and still does even though it’s only her and my dad.

    I think I just repeated what everyone else said, but anyway.

    I say go for it. You guys would make fantastic parents!

  7. tell you what…wanna babysit after your Ireland trip? (hehehe)It’ll be just a couple weeks after the baby is born…you should experience it before I offer my first child realities…they say it depends on the kid. I’ll let you know that too!!
    miss ya

  8. M: Good point, but theoretically, I want two and he wants one. So, I’m in a bad barganing position. room and board for nine months, huh. I’m glad we are only in the talk about it phase or i might really be having second thoughts. The kid wouldn’t be so bad for me, but the room and board part freaks me out.

    C: we would only be good parents if we saved up enough for both college AND therapy. My mom had a housekeeper come twice a week even when she had slave labor in her grown children. I think the realities of the situation will prompt a cleaning lady. I just wanted Sparky to understand that I was NOT exagerating. I think we might need a different house, actually. I can’t imagine our white leather sofas making it out alive and i can’t imagine anything but white leather in this place. Its a white leather, 2 seater cabrio kind of house. Know what I mean?

    Still “talking” about it.

    T: I’m still waiting for you to hand over twinkle toes. I promised my GayBoyfriend (who is also a dad) I’d stop joking about stealing babies, but I’d take TT in a second.

  9. No experience here yet either BUT.
    I’d say don’t worry about a clean house. Sparky would have to help out with the cleaning and other things. If it’s what you want, then maybe it’s something to go for. I think the cleaning won’t be that much of an issue, but it’s easier to go with the flow for me..

    Just remember there might not be much traveling for a few years, or more…

  10. From a dad who is the primary caregiver for His Holiness, a two year old bundle of schmutz-flinging love …

    EVERYTHING CHANGES … period!

    and if keeping the house clean is still an issue after you “issue” so to speak, a new member of your family, I will be very surprised.

  11. Expat,

    I ALREADY help out with the cleaning.
    In fact, I do almost all the POLISHING.

    Thing is, I feel PHYSICALLY uncomfortable with mess around me.
    This can start with two or three items of clothing on the floor (yes, i already consider that a mess).

    I just need crisp, clean surfaces around me.

    – Sparky

  12. If you POLISH and have such exact needs when it comes to cleanliness then it seems logical and fair that more of the burden of cleaning shifts to you, once your wife has added on the extra work of bearing and raising a child/children.

    A cleaning service even twice a month isn’t that expensive and will give you two more time together and with your kids.

    Oh and don’t worry: A friend just had a baby and has $$$ white leather couches and discovered they are stain resistant. (unless you have suede couches that is…)

  13. I have a feeling Sparky didn’t read this recent entry in my blog about parents and happiness. Truthfully it’s my philosophy of parenthood in a nutshell.

    As for the mess, kids MAKE messes. Like cats, only more so. But my guess is Sparky will be so besotted with the little bubbeleh that he’ll barely notice the stains. Or he’ll be too durned tired to deal with them, and by the time he DOES start caring again, he’ll be over it.

    It’s a good thing if he is already doing the housecleaning though. Because you WILL be too durned tired to deal with much. At least for the first few months.

    Aww, who’s kidding. Probably for the first few YEARS….

  14. You have white leather sofas, Ach mein Gott.

    My husband’s like Sparky. Getting a maid after the first baby was born saved our marriage. We both think so.

  15. E: yeah, that no traveling thing is somehting to think about.

    BB: you seem to be doing a fabulous job with HH. I can only hope i have as much patience.

    Sparky: you polish. this does not a clean house make. shoving apples into the plastic drawer or dead plants into food cupboards does not a clean house make. You definitely take care of the mirrors and faucets, but believe it or not, there is a whole lot more to keeping you in fresh panties.

    Megan: Sparky so cannot actually clean a house. A cleaning lady is a for sure thing if we have kids.

    Clean to sparky is out of sight. so if there is something on the counter, he shoves it into the first place he can fit it and calls the counter clean. It takes me a good week to find all the stuff he put away when he “cleans”. Freekin kraut!

    LL: your recent post on SAD and not feeling tired in the last few years because you were contantly exhausted put some good perspective on the kid spin. If sparky is kept busy, he notices nothing, so maybe it won’t be such a big deal. I just wanted him to be aware that i was NOT exaggerating tiredness. I want him to walk into the kid thing fully informed.

    Anon: yeah, nice, beautiful, expensive white leather sofas. When my sister comes to visit, we cover them with sheets because one piece of chocolate can end up ALL over it. My sister is 18 years old. So imagine my fears with babies and toddlers.

    I’m taking your advice with the cleaning lady. If the stork flies this way, a clenaing lady will be budgeted. thanks!

  16. Cleaning service. Cleaning. Service. Failing that, find yourself a good old fashioned pediatrician who tells you it’s good for the baby’s immune systme to have a less than sterile house. Lets you have a dusty house, guilt free.

  17. well, it looks like its settled, if a baby makes its way into this house, a cleaning lady will too. thanks Swissmiss.

    you hear that sparkles?

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