I’m not going to pretend that before I had a baby, I was one of those New Yorkers who searched Time Out New York for the latest openings; I have long preferred eating oatmeal in my pajamas over waiting to get into the latest brunch spot.
It has been years since I said goodbye to my twenties, which also meant bidding farewell to most events that involve cover charges, line-ups, parades, costumes, and port-a-potties.
But even for this New Yorker, having a 10-month-old baby changes things. Here are six ways my life in the Big Apple is different post-baby:
1 | Instead of reading The New Yorker on Saturdays, I try to prevent my daughter from eating it.
Most of the time I’m too late, and she has already chewed through The Talk of the Town. Cozying up with a cup of coffee and a long read is simply not possible for someone who enjoys paper products as much as pears. New Yorkers, travel guides, Pottery Barn catalogs, Victoria’s Secret coupons, Freakonomics – nothing is safe from this teething crawler.
2 | I now enjoy riding the subway.
The urine-infested underground tubes have become my friend; getting on typically signals I’m going somewhere without an infant attached to me. Any alone time is precious time, even if it involves regular rat sightings.
3 | I no longer search online for bargains on “desk to dinner” dresses.
Let’s face it, the only place I go to after work is my apartment, and the only dinner that’s happening involves my boob and a baby. “Reservation for one!” my husband often calls out as he hands over our daughter for her evening nursing session. No dress code needed at this restaurant. As for online shopping, there is still plenty of it – but instead of “cubicle to cocktail” dresses popping up in the “We thought you’d enjoy this item” section, now it’s breast milk storage bags, washable bibs and splat mats. Based on the number of purchase confirmation e-mails I have between 4:30-5:30 am, my peak shopping hours have also changed.
4 | The days of browsing through The New York Times Food section for 5-star recipes have been replaced with planning baby-friendly foods.
At first, these were purees, such as “Mango Tango,” “Blushing Bananas” and the “Green Bean Bliss.” Who knew that peas and mango went together? And that you can add pear to everything to please a baby – at least the one living in my apartment. Turns out, you can liquefy just about anything. I come from a family of seafood lovers, so perhaps I’ll puree an octopus next.
5 | I hate New York’s transportation hubs even more.
After living in the city for 15 years, I didn’t think it was possible to despise the lack of functioning escalators, elevators, ticketing machines and other basic elements of civilized travel even more. And then I had to run through hell that is Penn Station with an infant strapped to my chest while carrying a diaper bag on one shoulder and a duffel bag on the other. And with every stair I climbed on the non-working escalator, I became an even crankier, not to mention sweatier, New Yorker.
6 | Instead of noticing trendy boutiques, weirdoes and other staples of New York street life, I now only detect other babies and their parents.
When I see a couple maneuvering a stroller on a packed subway, or a mom nursing on a park bench, I try to give them a friendly, yet non-creepy smile. I’ve opened more Duane Reade doors for stroller-pushing moms than many doormen. I feel like it’s my responsibility, from one stressed out, sleep-deprived New York parent to another. Our madness-filled lives in overpriced shoeboxes are even crazier now, but for a good reason. I have a little person to take care of, and she’s going to be all grown up in a New York minute.