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How Parenting Has Changed My Life (In At Least 8 Ways)

Today, I realized my life has changed. Don't get me wrong, I knew my life changed when I saw a human come out of another human (and when I realized I had to take care of this Russian nesting doll). But, today is when it was clear how much my life has changed.
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Father holding his newborn baby girl
Father holding his newborn baby girl

Today, I realized my life has changed. Don't get me wrong, I knew my life changed when I saw a human come out of another human (and when I realized I had to take care of this Russian nesting doll). But, today is when it was clear how much my life has changed.

What made me realize this? How often I think about bowel movements. Guys, I think about bowel movements a lot. And, it's not that I think about my own bowel movements -- although when you're a parent you think about that too. It typically sounds like this:

"Are you cool if I use the bathroom?"

"Sure, but can you hurry because I really need to go too and someone needs to watch him."

"Oh, do you want to go first? I think I can hold it."

"No, just go. I'll watch him. Do you think you'll be a long time?"

(Realizes he can't just sit and watch videos on his phone) "How about you go first."

"AAARRGGHH just GO!"

"(Sits in bathroom. Starts cat video on phone. Hears phantom baby cry. Rushes out, disappointed.)"

It's my three month old's bowel movements that have consumed my thoughts more than I had predicted. After a sudden week of constipation, I found myself at work pondering, "I wonder if he's pooped yet..." Imagine if a person had that thought about anyone other than his or her own child. Creeper.

Beyond increased poop pondering, my day-to-day thoughts have changed a lot. Here's a sample:

1. Wardrobe
Before parenting: What should I wear today?
After parenting: These sweat pants don't smell that sour yet, right?

I like to keep my wife in daily suspense, wondering which combination of sweats I'll don. The gray on gray ensemble is masterpiece of eye candy.

2. Dining
Before parenting: "Where should we eat?"
After parenting: "Where should we eat?"

These seem identical, but they aren't. Before parenting, my wife and I would brainstorm romantic and exotic restaurants. Now we are basically asking which of the three fast food restaurants at the bottom of the hill we'll take turns eating in between baby bouncing.

3. Utility
Before parenting: I should probably pick up my underwear off the floor.
After parenting: Crap, no burp cloth . . . what's this on the floor? Perfect.

Yep. This really happened. More than once, actually. More often than it should . . . but not so often that I stop doing it.

4. Initiative
Before parenting: What should I do today?
After parenting: What can I do today?

You are allotted one 45 minute errand opportunity, two stops maximum. It must start after 4:57 p.m. and must end no later than cry o'clock.

5. Planning
Before parenting: I should plan a vacation
After parenting: I should plan a nap.

As seen with the bathroom visit negotiations, everything must be scheduled, including sneezing because that crap will wake a baby up from ten walls away. My body basically absorbs all germs and dander now. #osmosis

6. Fortune
Before parenting: "Sweet! I found a dollar!"
After parenting: "Sweet! I found a pacifier!"

These sound plugs are pure, 24 carat gum gold.

7. Investment
Before parenting: "$20 for a sound machine!? Who the hell would ever pay that!?"
After parenting: "$20 for a sound machine!? I'll take 9. Wait, I have a coupon. I'll take 32."

Side note: The folks who make white noise apps are jerk holes. "Our free version will last just long enough for your child to fall asleep before abruptly ending to induce a startled rage. Upgrade to the full version for $9.99." You better enjoy that $9.99, jerk holes.

8. Attention to detail
Before parenting: "Okay, before I leave . . . do I have my keys? Cell phone? Wallet?"
After parenting: "Okay, before we leave, do we have extra burp clothes, diapers, wipes, sound machine 1, sound machine 2, pacifiers, bottles, sanitizer, backup clothes in case he spits up, backup clothes for after he spits up on the backup clothes, sound machine 3, a hat, gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, child? Where the f*#% is my wallet!?"

This is just a sample of how much things have changed in just three months. But, I'm not complaining. The change is oddly good (especially when I make bank on my sound machine stocks).

Now, if you'll excuse me, my wife and I have a celebration to attend. I know what you're thinking: Oh cool, an anniversary of some sort? Nope. My son finally pooped. Cheers.

Chase Mielke is a teacher, father, and stress-eater. Follow his parenting blog at www.dadishblog.com and his teaching blog at www.affectiveliving.com. He also tweets every fourth full moon @chasemielke