Yesterday, we went to our “dink” friend’s new home. (In case you don’t know the meaning of “dink”, it’s a married couple with dual incomes and no children) In preparation, I packed the pack-n-play, booster seat, cereal, fruit, water, milk, toys, sunscreen, bug spray, and, of course, diapers with disposable bags. When we arrived, I joked with the husband and said, “Don’t mind me, just moving in.” He laughed and replied, “No worries, make yourself at home.”
After being there a few hours, it hit me how I had actually started to make myself at home. I took over their guest bedroom as a napping area. I put food and milk in their fridge. While I was sitting with my son while he ate at their table was when I realized how comfortable I had made myself. It made me look back over the last year and a half of my son’s life and realized the progression of truly “making myself at home” had come about.
It definitely started with breastfeeding. When your kid has to eat, you feed them – and you find a place to do it. Same goes for diaper changes and napping. You get to know your friends’ and family’s homes better than you thought you did. You can point out where the dimmest, quietest areas of their houses are. You know the most comfortable place to breastfeed. The term “make yourself at home” became more than a nice gesture. It was how you survived outside your well-stocked, easily-accessible, baby-proofed home, especially in homes with no or grown children.
So to my friends and family, thank you for allowing me to do what I needed to do as a parent in your home. To friends and families of new parents, make sure that when you say “make yourself at home,” you are aware of what can follow. And to new mommies and daddies, don’t stress. With the help of good and understanding friends and family, you will survive outside your well-stocked, easily-accessible, baby-proofed home.