The adorable young couple that lives across from us just announced that they’re pregnant. She’s 3 months along and is experiencing major morning (afternoon and evening) sickness. Just the other night, her husband went outside to ask our downstairs neighbor if he would consider smoking inside his apartment because the second-hand smoke was going directly into their apartment.
Not once did he mention to the smoking neighbor that his wife was pregnant or that the second-hand smoke was bothering her (not to mention its negative effects on the baby) but he was very respectful and polite in his request. From the sound of the conversation (I could only hear the request and not the response), it seemed as though he was willing to comply and smoke either outside, away from the building, or inside so the smoke didn’t travel in through the patio door.
Then, just a few nights later, the same friendly neighbor stormed down the stairs to discuss the smoking situation with the downstairs smoker, and this time, he was not sweet about it. He was mad, angry that he’s had to close his patio door during the hottest weekend of the year, and more upset that the neighbor claimed to be willing to move while he smoked even though he never actually followed through with that.
They exchanged words for quite some time and the young, father-to-be ended up stomping back upstairs, slamming the door before heading back downstairs for another chance to express his outrage with our downstairs neighbor, an old, sickly man who moved in directly from the hospital, looking as though he was using this apartment as his hospice, living in his robe, using a walker to get around and looking much older than he probably is.
I felt bad for both of them as I lay in bed listening to the conversation. I was a smoker once, but I don’t think I was ever inconsiderate to others and if someone had asked me to smoke elsewhere, I would’ve happily done so. Needless to say, I quit smoking a long time ago and have since changed my view on the habit considerably.
This whole situation got me thinking about the ways in which parenthood, and pregnancy, in particular, changes the way we view certain issues or situations. Secondhand smoke didn’t bother me before I was a parent but it’s definitely one of those things that irks me now, especially when my kids are exposed to it.
The other night, in a discussion surrounding the recent TIME magazine controversial breastfeeding cover, some of my friends shared how they were totally against breastfeeding in public before they had kids, but consider themselves breastfeeding advocates now and cheering on those who breastfeed wherever and whenever their little ones are hungry.
There are so many things that parents never thought about, worried about or had to decide between before kids. Now, no matter what age our kids are, there are situations that come up every day that require us to research, discuss and debate as to what might be the right path for our particular family in each circumstance.
What are some of the things that have you thinking differently now that you’re a parent?