Let’s start with mama guilt. Why do I feel that I should be with my daughter 24 hours a day? Why do I want to be with her all the time? I know that’s how bonding hormones work: the more contact, the more you want. And I believe in being with your child lots and lots, for you (to learn to read them and parent effectively) and for them (to develop that sense of trust and security). But nonetheless, I think it might be helpful if I didn’t feel horrible when I leave her sleeping in the bedroom and I do chores, computer work, even relax and watch a movie with my husband. And really, I don’t think I want to feel torn when my husband offers to take her for a walk so I can have time to myself. But this, folks, is where I am at. I’m even hesitant to book a massage, in spite of my husband’s urging, because it would mean an extra hour away from her.
What is this really about? I certainly trust my husband with her and know that she loves being with him. I know in my mind that I need some time to myself to do a few things and just to breathe and unwind. And the reality is that life requires constant work and maintenance and it’s not possible to do all the things that need doing while caring for an active baby. What is stopping me from taking a more balanced, healthy perspective on time with and away from my daughter?
Pause while I wait for writing-induced inspiration.
I don’t know. Maybe in this case, emotions and the mind will constantly be in opposition. She is incredible and delicious and I want to be with her all the time. Realistically, I can’t. I hope that by writing a bit about this struggle my subconscious will get to work and help me figure out what I need to do to feel more peace about how I spend my time.
Next story: accidental shoplifting. With the day off, baby & I went to do some errands. The Bay had Jockey underwear on sale and I decided to spring for a few more pairs. I needed a new watch battery but the watch desk was closed for a few minutes. We wandered through the clothes, then I decided to venture into the mall. We went as far as Chapters where I picked up a book on breastfeeding for a pregnant colleague. And noticed that the 3 pairs of underwear were still hanging from the stroller handle.
Was I tempted? I can honestly say no. But I was amused and slightly horrified to consider what might have happened.
Final story: friends. While waiting in line back at The Bay to pay for my underwear I found myself in front of a family: mom, just-finished-crying baby in arms, girl and boy standing. The girl (9?) said baby was cute and asked her name. I asked back, and she introduced the rest of the family. We talked for a while, the girl and I, (including her gibing me when I asked if the large bikini was for her) while I eyed up the mom. She looked around my age and had a beautiful, calm, inviting face. Just from the way she comforted her baby, from her expressions, I felt like I knew her and that we could be good friends. But I don’t feel in a place right now to make that social leap and connect with someone in line with me. Baby was getting tired too, but really it was about my hesitation. I would like more friends, and more close friends, but reaching that goal seems challenging (see story 1 for the time limitation aspect of this challenge). Later at the park my sister and family made the acquaintance of a woman, baby & mom from Kazakhstan who are here for a while. I was glad to make that linguistic and friendship connection too, though it didn’t feel the same as the woman in the store.