I can remember the days prior to having my son. I would see people have babies & I never really understood why they were so frazzled in the early days.
And then I had my son. My hubby & I were beyond exhausted during over 24 hours labor resulting in emergency c=section. At the time I honestly didn't realize how tired my hubby was. It wasn't until later on, when I was looking back at the photos & I saw his face. I could see the exhaustion on his face so clearly in the photos. I felt bad not having realized how exhausted he was at the time.
And then after I got home from the hospital I was soooo overwhelmed. All that exhaustion & there was no chance to catch up. It was constant non-stop feeding & tending to the baby. And for the life of me I couldn't seem to figure out how to comfort him!
Of course he was colicky, which made things worse than usual. But somehow I had imagined that all I had to do to console my crying son was to simply have him in my arms. No such luck. Of course my hubby already had two kids so he seemed like a total pro at it. And although I know it wasn't, it sure felt like my son was rejecting me back in those days.
I remember always hearing people say that having a baby changes EVERYTHING. And I could never understand how. While I wouldn't actually say that it changes everything, per se, it sure does change a lot. And suddenly you look back at yourself with other people & their kids & you realize things that you did or didn't do that you now feel bad about or regret.
Although maybe that's just me. I can remember in the early days my sister in law (who had no children at that time) always offering to hold Lil J at get-togethers, just so I could eat or get a break. Prior to having kids I never would've realized just how much of a relief that is, yet somehow she did even though she wasn't a mother yet. I am forever grateful & admire her for that.
At this stage I am unsure how much I'll be able to offer to hold other people's little ones, since Lil J just might get jealous about it. But as time goes on I'll be able to & I'll remember to offer that.
And now that I have my son I always end up feeling bad when I go to people's houses. Back before I had my son I would always offer to help clean up afterwards after get-togethers. I would pick up & do dishes, etc. Now I'm constantly watching my son & am unable to do that. I do feel bad about it, even though I probably shouldn't. And then there's issues of my son making messes in people's houses. I do my best to clean up after him if anything happens. But some things that I allow at home are not welcomed in other people's homes. Like his sippy, for example. It has a valve so it won't spill,but when he sips, he usually leaves a little bit in the spout & it will drip a little bit out. Some people don't like it dripping in their house & I can totally understand that, but it makes it hard, that's a tough one to try to teach to a toddler. And then I feel bad about the mess in their house. I clean up his mess at my house all the time so I don't think about it much, but other people aren't used to that & don't want any extra cleaning to do.
I'm sure each person's individual situation varies, but I do think after you have a child you look back on things you did in the past in regards to people's kids so differently. I would bet that that's pretty universal.