When my baby was a week and a half two weeks old, I had my sisters come and watch her so I could get my eyelashes done. The following week, my mom came to look after her so that Darren and I could go out on a date. Since then, on a weekly basis I have arranged for someone to take care of her for a few hours so I can run errands, have some me time, or go on a hot date!
When she was about 5 months old, while my husband and I were at an event, another mother said to me “Oh how are you doing? This must me the first time you’ve left the baby“.
I turned around to make sure she was talking to me.
“Me? ” I asked…. “Oh no my baby is like 5 months old”
“Oh you’ve left her before?” – insert judgemental look here
Awkward pause “Oh ya… well only a few times, and not for long” LIE!
(I choose not to tell her about the recent weekend getaway Darren and I had taken)
After she walked away, I felt a little ashamed. I felt embarrassed. Wasn’t it okay to leave my baby here and there? I know some women choose not to leave their babes for months, and that works for some, but it doesn’t work for me
Then I calmed myself down – HELL YA it is okay to leave my baby. I love her to death but I would be a complete lunatic if I were with her 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Plus, during the last months of my pregnancy I was DYING for a night on the town sipping on wine, rocking skinny jeans and heels… and that look just wouldn’t be quite right if I were pushing a stroller!
Okay, okay I know I am sounding a bit ummm… insensitive, un-maternal or even selfish here. For those of you who are ready to pounce and leave a comment about what a self centred mother I am, you can just sit tight, I am exaggerating (a bit) to make a point!
Have I cried when leaving her with family and friends? Absolutely! I miss her like crazy!
Have I been that harassing mother constantly checking in and asking for picture and video updates? Yes I’ve done that too.
But I’ve left her with family, friends and babysitters because I know that adult time is what I need to the best Mom I can. And I’m no attachment expert, but I’m pretty sure it’s also good for her to not be stuck with me day in and day out.
For me, one of the hardest parts of having a baby has been how much I miss my husband. Our nightly & morning romp fests cuddles have turned into negotiations over who will do the next feeding. Our quality time at home has become centred around emptying the diaper gene, cleaning sleepers, and discussing whether or not she is getting onto a routine.
For those of you who are saying, “Ummm sweetheart, that’s what happens when you have a baby, everything becomes centred around them. They are the most important thing in your life” … I KNOW THAT! But do you know what is also important? Keeping the spark alive with my husband! Because in this crazy life, we need to be connected and in-sync and feel like we are a team! And that a challenging thing to maintain when you don’t get any time alone.
Now I am facing my biggest challenge yet! While I am okay with leaving for the day or even a night or two, my husband has a conference booked in the Dominican Republic, and I am going to be away from her for 6 full days! In a completely different country, over 5000 km away, unable to just slip home if she needs me!
Am I okay with this? Kind of not really!
Do I feel like a bad mom for leaving her for that long? A little bit!
Do I cry whenever I think about it? You’ve got it. I’ve cried on and off for weeks.
But you know what? She is going to be okay! Her grandparents are coming to stay with her and I am going to have a week to reconnect with my husband, drink cocktails and attend adult events with adult conversations that aren’t centred around baby-led weaning and sleep training methods.
The best part is, I am going to come back relaxed and refreshed which will allow me to be more attentive and patient and a WAY better (step)Mom!
In case you haven’t picked up on the trend, I am ALL about mom’s having self care!! I truly believe that caring for yourself is one of the most important (and most forgotten) things you can do as a mother. When your needs are taken care of, you’re better able to take care of the little people who deserve you to have you at your best.
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival” – Audre Lorde
Do you have your next date or girls night booked? If not, do that now! Throw on your skinny jeans and heels (or whatever makes you feel fabulous) and have a night for you… YOU deserve it (and so do your kids)