One of the truest song lines I’ve ever heard (not that I doubt that Katy Perry did kiss a girl – and probably liked it) is from John Lennon “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. And boy does it apply to me. You see, I’m a nice little French girl who grew up in Paris, and my plan was to marry a nice little Parisian boy and we would raise our 3 kids in the trendy 11th arrondissement, as nice little French kids. Somehow 10 years later, I am living in NY, married to a great American guy (from Buffalo no less) with a nice little French-American boy. I managed to make the trendy neighborhood happen and we live in the heart of Lower East Side. But it’s a little more west of the Seine than I had anticipated.
When I moved to NY “for 18 months tops”, I thought I was going to test the Sex and the City life for a year or two, and come back to France with a NY experience on my resume and a few Manolo Blahniks in my suitcase. But the first job led to a second better job, then the third even better. Five years later, I decided it was time to call it quits and come back, so I started interviewing back in Paris. It’s around the same time that I started dating The (then) Boyfriend. After a few months of blossoming love, he made a case that I shouldn’t move to France, as my added value was to be a French girl in the US, and there was really no point of being a French girl in France. Valid argument. So I stayed, moved in and 3 years later we got married. After all, what’s a few more pairs of Manolos in my suitcase closet….?
Fast forward 2 years, we inevitably have “the baby” discussion. I always thought babies were cute for an hour at a friend’s house but that they didn’t apply to my lifestyle. I saw babies as the end of your 1) social life 2) couple’s life 3) financial life 4) body. But I love my hubby so much and somehow he always seems to know what’s best for me better than I do, so I jumped in and a few weeks later, we were (happy) expecting parents. To be honest, I was a little nervous about what was ahead of us and I felt that I was on a roller coaster: the next 9 months was the slow agonizing climb to the top, the delivery was going to be the moment of panic when the ride tilts at the top and you start screaming… and the 18 next years were going to be a lot of going ups and downs screaming.
I guess the good thing of expecting the worst is that everything actually seems so easy when it happens. My 9 months of pregnancy were a breeze, delivery was short and painless with a surprise c-section and I quickly realized afterwards that having a baby wasn’t the end of your life. It was just the beginning of a new life. I will even say it: a BETTER life! Sure we had to make some changes to our social life and the nanny certainly is a toll on our wallet. But I realized that you can still enjoy the pleasures that NYC has to offer, with a (very energetic) child and a wallet on a diet. You just need to do a little bit of digging, as surprisingly, there is very limited information on that topic. I guess it’s because everybody moves to the suburbs after Baby #1. But I’m sorry, I can’t do that. That’s just too west of the Seine for me.