Ten Ways Living Through the Pandemic is Like Having a New Baby

Man with small child on his shoulders
Ah, the days when help from
the grandparents was a
plane ride away.

There’s a current article in The New York Times that recommends the mental stamina of athletes to running the gauntlet of the current pandemic.

The truth is that living through the pandemic is a lot like having a new baby. It’s a different kind of marathon and one without grandparents just a plane ride away.

I realized this when, for the first time since my childbearing years, everybody around me was welcoming babies and I found myself writing a lot of welcome-baby cards. I racked my brain for advice when I realized this year’s crop of new parents are already prepared! They nest. They bake. They do endless loads of laundry. That’s all some of us have done for nine months. 

So, parents-to-be, here are ten other ways your life will feel weirdly the same after your baby arrives:

  1. Still stocked up on flour, canned beans, and toilet paper? Perfect, since going to the store already makes you nervous. The only difference is the diaper bag the size of carry-on luggage that you’ll be carrying with you. For the next two years.
  2. You’ll be right at home in those chic sweat pants you’ve been wearing since March. Don’t throw those out yet!
  3. Sure, go ahead and tell yourself you’ll do yoga and journal every morning. Remember when you said you’d do that during the pandemic? How’d that turn out for you?
  4. When you are ready to make your first foray to the store, it will feel like a whole new universe. It’s not. You just swapped the toilet paper aisle for the diaper aisle.
  5. You’ll get lots of rest for awhile. (Bonus!) Just not at night.
  6. But at least you won’t be obsessively taking your temperature because of that tickle in your throat! In fact, please get a second thermometer. You’ll find out why.
  7. Forget that novel you were working on. In fact, forget any creative venture you initially thought you’d have “so much more time for…”.  (A hint: don’t reschedule those activities for about six more years. Maybe eight.) 
  8. There will still be lots of hand washing. I did mention diapers, right?
  9. The zombie shows you watched before the pandemic have moved on to new seasons without you. No matter. You’ve discovered new, positive, non-snarky choices, like The Great British Baking Show, and fun, televised dog grooming competitions.  Who wants to watch downer shows during the pandemic anyway?
  10.  In a strange twist of fate, the word “confinement” which you thought was such a cool French word for stay-at-home orders actually means staying home with a baby! Can you believe that!? It’s almost like you’re Emily in Paris!

Best wishes, new Moms and new Dads. You’ll do great because, look, you’re practically there already.