It's common to believe that once you get married and have a kid, your "fun-self" gets canceled, and life becomes one big diaper. Maybe it's not that grim, but it's not the kind of fun you used to have as a single or newlyweds - carefree, sleeping in and all that good stuff. Well, I'm here to tell you that's not necessarily true, and it's not that bad if you can make a successful mental paradigm shift to your new tagalong. For those who choose to go down the path of married with a kid or even kiddos, you don't have to let your cool music-loving self die; you just need to change your tactics a bit to achieve your new strategy.
When my daughter was born, I was in a state of disbelief; I was part of the breeding community, and now I had to reconcile that with my old self and the new horizon line that had been set. I will not lie; in the beginning, you will have some internal freakouts, question your decisions, and wonder how you are going to deal with little human care, all the time.
So the good news is that if you have a great family and friend support system, you will be immediately in better shape and able to ease into the role of parent (cool part comes later, you will be taking a 3-4 month parental quarantine). If you don't, you need to think about this stat and figure out who will be your backup, help, counselor, part-time instructor, etc. The point is, figure out the most reasonable support system you can so things will be more manageable, and you will be able to find a routine that works for you.
So fast forward three months, you have found a groove and are ready for a night or maybe two off. This step is where the cool part comes in, reestablishing yourself as a couple and getting back some of your old pre-baby groove. It will start slow, just having a night out for dinner and drinks, maybe see a show - you are not going to a nightclub quite yet. Getting out as a couple is essential for your mental health and, having fun again will sow the seeds of what will blossom later.
Once you have your date nights established, a good babysitter or family member that can take care of junior while you are out, you are ready for phase two. The one thing you will learn about small humans really quickly is that they are pretty easy to move around, and they sleep a lot. This opens up the ability to port the baby along easily for picnics, early dinners, poolside vacations, etc. Enjoy this while you can; it only lasts about 7-8 months before we are in crawling and walking territory.
Ok, so you are on the road to recovery here! Things get more relaxed, you having a bit of your life again and starting to enjoy being a parent, and it only gets better. Once your child hits the age of one or so, you are engaging with them more, seeing life through their eyes and bonding in ways you never thought possible. This bonding feeling is the pure joy of being a parent, and when they look up at you when you play that classic house jam on Spotify and bob their little head to the groove, you will lose it.
If you are a music lover like me, make sure to play music as much as possible from conception, during birth (we played Brian Eno's Music for Airports) and whenever possible. This method sets up future outings to daytime festivals, fairs, concerts in the park, etc. Our daughter loves music; she dances, bobs her head, and even knows what records are (Daddy did put turntables in the kitchen after all).
Here are the tips for getting out successfully and enjoying all those things you thought you were going to lose. Please don't be lazy; it's worth the effort.
- A great diaper bag or backpack that is easy to port and pack, with enough room for diapers, changing mat, and other essentials. Don't overload the bag with too much crap, be a lean and efficient packer, and always do a supply check before leaving the house. Big, clunky diaper bags are NO BUEN
- Get a great travel stroller that packs up fast, is small and agile, and light enough to fold up and carry on your shoulder. We got the Joolz Aer (see review below), and it's about the best one on the market.
- Make sure you plan around naps if you are doing a morning activity like a farmers market, or picnic, just be home in time to put them down - this will allow you a couple of hours to have your own break, have a beer or your own disco nap. If you fuck this up, you will pay severely, and the day can go haywire fast.
- Get a cool carrier for when they are not in the stroller or walking. there is a brand called the Minimeis that we have our eyes on but do your research. This type of transport will allow you to get the lil' one above it all and feel like they are part of the action. This type of device will be great for daytime festivals and concerts.
Get a great water bottle and avoid processed sugar at all costs. Babies are thirsty, so have a sturdy water bottle with a good flip top that is easy to sip and flip. Also, avoid processed sugar and juice, we have managed to keep our daughter off all processed sugar and just give her fruit.
Case Study: We screwed up in Ft. Collins and let her have a waffle cone, we had a couple of beers and figured we would let her have a treat. That slip-up, turned into the perfect storm - and when we got back to the room, the sugar was firing on all cylinders, and we had the meltdown of a lifetime, at least most significant yet. We also screwed up on the nap, don't do that. Keep your routine and your no-sugar policy intact, and you will be happy parents.
- Ear Protection is an absolute must, there are a ton of brands on the market, so do your research. Find a pair that are light and comfy, and also breath somewhat well for longer sessions. Our daughter thinks they are headphones (like Daddys) and wears them with pride.
Having a small and easy to port stroller is a game-changer on a lot of different levels. The Aer pretty much checks every box for parents looking to be agile in urban environments, restaurants, and other areas requiring maneuverability.
Construction and Design - The build and design are second to none; we have another expensive brand of travel stroller but have dumped it totally for the Aer. It's super light at 13 lbs, sturdy, and folds up lean and mean with one click of the button and simple motion. Easy folding is essential, as you will often only have one hand to pull this off, and the immediate access to the elastic/suspension like should strap is fab. The back of the stroller features a simple zipper that will drop the rear down another 4 inches or so to recline, which is great for naps on the go. If it rains, don't worry, there is a rain guard that fits easily into the back pouch in case of a sudden downpour.
Maneuverability - The footprint of the Aer is small, and the wheels glide exceptionally well and have a lock on the front if you are going for long strolls in one direction. When all four wheels are fluid, you can quickly get around smaller restaurants, bodegas, and other places bigger strollers dare not tread. There is also four-wheel suspension that will take on bumpy sidewalks and paths with ease, great for music festivals and parks. We have all seen those god awful double wides lumbering down the aisle or airport concourse just sucking up space and radiating anxiety.
Portability - The Aer has a nice little basket on the bottom big enough to fit your diaper backpack/bag and a pocket in the back to store coloring books or other smaller items. When you are ready to start traveling by train, bus or plane again post COVID, the stroller easily fits in most overhead storage bins, making it a breeze to pop up and out of the way.
A stroller like this will be with you for around five years, depending on how big your kid gets/grow. So investing in a quality piece of gear is worth it as the stroller will get a lot of use if you are committed to this type of lifestyle. The Aer can also be fitted with an infant carrier so you can start with this stroller immediately.
We never thought we would be writing about strollers when we started this magazine, but as our audience grows with us (we are almost ten years old - yikes), we figured it was time to start addressing some of these topics. Life is short, your little buddy is only small for so long, and the magical moments pass quickly, so be prepared and get out there. There is no greater joy than to see your little boo (apply nickname here) dancing to music that you love and having a blast!
- Length 32.7 inches
- Width 17.7 inches
- Height 41.5 inches
- Weight 13.4 lbs.
- Length 21 inches
- Width 17.7 inches
- Height 8.5 inches
- Weight 13.4 lbs.