Congratulations! You've successfully procreated some time ago and were, rather beautifully, prepared. You froze meals and pre-made casseroles and hoarded nonperishables in preparation for sleepless nights and exhausted days.
And now supplies have diminished.
It's not the sleep deprivation.
You're not hallucinating.
They're really, actually, inexplicably gone.
Vanished. Disappeared. Utterly consumed.
It's been surprisingly difficult to find the time to properly shower every day but, nonetheless, you're hell-bent on opening your vibrantly red front door. You're ready to cross the threshold that separates the baby bubble you call home from the real world; with adults and complete sentences and, at the very least, an acceptable amount of drool.
Wait, your door is red, right?
At this point, you're not too sure. It's been three weeks since you've seen the outside of your house. It's been several months since you've slept without the very real need to pee or a hungry baby's, rather impressive, interruptions. Maybe it's purple. Maybe you've lost the ability to differentiate between colors.
Maybe colors don't actually exist at all.
You're a brand new mother and you're still incredibly sore from the blessed birth and you're wondering if this, this moment right here, is the real reason people go to college. It isn't to obtain a degree or find a spouse; it's to learn how to survive on Top Ramen and peanut butter because that's all you have left in your kitchen.
You overlook the undeniable fact that a strict diet of instant noodles and peanut paste would help you get your pre-baby body back and, instead, decide to brave the unknown. You have bungee jumped off a 275 foot bridge and you've owned high-level meetings with important executives and you've even plucked your own eyebrows so, honestly, how hard could it be to take a 7 lbs 12 oz human being to the grocery store?
You carefully transfer the slumbering newborn from a safe and secure bassinet to a heavily researched yet strangely perplexing car seat. You're afraid to pull the straps too tight but you're terrified you're not pulling them tight enough and now you know what a rock and a hard place actually feel like.
Lesson number one: Take your time. There is no more rushing or circumventing or altogether cutting corners in order to get out the door. Sure, from now on you'll be late and it will no longer be fashionable but some things are worth it and your child's safety is one of them.
Even if it means you tighten and loosen and tighten and loosen the straps seventeen times before you're satisfied.
With baby safely secured, you begin to look around for necessary provisions that will adequately carry you through a short, probably thirty minute grocery store visit. You bring three separate outfits because blow outs happen and weather changes and extras are important. You bring four pacifiers because one could fall on the ground and one could fall into the abyss that is your purse and one could fall into the blackhole between the seats of your car. You bring half a pack of diapers because, well, poop. You bring three bottles because what if the car dies or there's a massive power outage or you spend an hour wandering the parking lot aimlessly because you're too exhausted to remember where you parked your car?!
Your bag now weights 67 lbs but the peace of mind is weightless.
Lesson number two: Over-prepare. Sure, you'll carry your weight in necessities and replenishments, most of which will remain untouched, but you'll have an answer to every problem and a solution to every puzzle and when a tiny set of healthy lungs erupts in the cereal aisle, you'll be grateful.
Armed to the teeth and confident in your preparation, you forgo looking in the mirror and walk out the front door. You shut the red, yes red, door behind you and walk towards your car, only to realize that you left your keys on the kitchen counter. You then trudge back, silently cursing your astounding ability to forget an essential component of your transportation process. You contemplate your capabilities, unsure you possess the competency to fulfill your grocery needs because, honestly, if you can't remember your car keys how are you going to remember to buy granola or free-range chicken thighs or those little Cuties you love so much?
Lesson number three: Be kind to yourself. So what if it takes you a few extra trips or you can't seem to find your head on your shoulders? You're still adjusting to an incredibly new and exciting and challenging and exhausting and amazing lifestyle, and that takes as much practice as it does time.
You're doing great.
Repeat after me: You're. Doing. Great.
You really are.
In fact, you did so great that this first attempt can prematurely come to a close. Sure, you'll send your partner to the grocery store, again, and, okay fine, you might end up spending another three weeks inside your baby bubble of a home but remember:
You learned three important lessons on your very first attempt.
Your baby slept the entire time. That's priceless. And kind of amazing.
And you can rest easy: your front door really is red.