Jet Lag and Other Symptoms of Parenthood


While stuck in an airport due to a delayed flight, I found myself feeling things I hadn’t felt in a while. To my surprise, I realized they were the same emotions I had experienced during the early days when my kids were infants. Inspired by this, here is a list of similarities between caring for a new baby and having a long airport layover:

You’re bleary-eyed and tired. Truth be told, “tired” doesn’t accurately describe it. It’s the kind of bone-crushing fatigue that you feel in every part of your body.

The passage of time ceases to have any meaning. You are in a constant state of bewilderment where you have no idea about the date or the time of day.

If someone takes a photo of you, you beg them to delete it, explaining that you don’t want to be recorded in this disheveled, grimy state.

Your focus is purely on survival and tending to your most basic needs, such as going to the bathroom and finding coffee.

Your eating schedule is all messed up, but you barely notice. Previously, you would have never considered eating a ham sandwich at 10:00 in the morning, but in this situation, it’s delicious.

You’d give your right arm to sit down to a hot meal prepared by someone else.

Your back aches from the uncomfortable chair you sit in for hours at a time. You walk around gingerly in an effort to stretch your legs.

You end up falling asleep on hard surfaces, in the most uncomfortable positions. You dream about having a soft pillow and a cozy blanket.

You have to carry a bunch of heavy stuff with you everywhere you go.

A TV is on, but you can’t absorb any of the information. It seems foreign that there is a whole busy world outside of where you are.

You feel worried that you don’t really know what you’re doing. This is made worse by the fact that everyone around you seems to have a clear sense of purpose and direction.

You tap into your deepest reserves of patience, but there are still moments of pure frustration and helplessness.

There are qualified experts there to answer your questions, but they’ve been through this many times and have a dismissive or blasé attitude. You wonder if you’d be better off figuring things out for yourself.

Even when encouraged to “sit back and relax,” you can’t.

You look over at your companion in hopes of getting some support or relief, but realize with a sinking heart that he or she is just as tired as you are.

At some point, it dawns on you that there is no guarantee that things will turn out all right. Still, you hang in there with a sense of resolve you didn’t know you had. It’s a wild ride, but you eventually get through it. And if you’re lucky, at the end, you’ll hear the words: “Thank you for choosing us.”

And you’ll think: you know, it wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe I could even do it again sometime…


Picture of Kristi York

Author: Kristi York

Kristi York is a freelance writer and mom of two sports-loving boys. Her work has been published by ParentsCanada, Running Room, ParticipACTION and The Costco Connection.

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