Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to go and get my hair cut. You know what that really means… 3 hours ALONE, well not completely alone, but 3 hours that I get to be just Jess. I love my daughter dearly and I really enjoy my time with her, but I do still need some time to be just me. Also, my hair was looking like crap so something had to be done. Now that Everly is taking bottles, I knew I could get away, so I made the plans and asked her dad to watch her. They dropped me off at the salon and for the first 10 minutes I sat there all spun up like a top; then something weird happened, I started to relax! What? Relax? What is this relaxing thing… my shoulders came down from their breastfeeding hunch, my neck loosened from it’s baby watching crook, and my back and arms released their 10 pounds of tension. Life was good! Then it hit- the mother guilt. I started wondering how she was doing and if she was being kind to her dad, I wondered if he could cope with her if she got fussy… what if she didn’t eat or didn’t sleep. BAM! Here comes the mental breaks time! I quickly reminded myself of why I was there, that moms need time away too and that her dad is 100% capable to deal with anything she can dish (and if he isn’t well he will learn quickly like I did). Okay… back into relaxation zone, I even read a few pages from a magazine; consecutively without putting it down no less. The I see my hairstylist Michelle (who I LOVE) and of course she asks about the baby, how could you not and the floodgates open. I don’t think I shut up about our baby for nearly 3 hours. Michelle is such a sport; she was either genuinely interested in all the Everly is and does, or she hid her boredom like a true pro. Here I was all excited to be on my own and by myself and I spent the whole time gushing about my precious little girl at home. Motherhood- it messes with your brain!
I was asked today if having a baby has brought me and my husband closer together. I would have to say that initially, in the first 10 days it did. I would look at him dreamily as he held the baby and talked to her and think that my life was pretty much perfect. Then slowly, as he started back down the path to life as normal, (while I was on the path to anywhere BUT life as normal) the resentment started to grown. I started to hate the fact that he got to leave and be on his own while I was stuck at home or at best stuck to going out with an imperial entourage (at minimum!). In my saner moments I reminded myself that he was going to work and that he could not breastfeed so it really wasn’t his fault, but in the crazier ones I disliked him more than I can ever remember disliking anyone. Then of course I would feel guilty for feeling this way towards him. He is a good dad. He spends time with his daughter, he loves her to bits no question at all. He will change diapers, bathe her, make us dinner and sometimes help with the chores (all the while supporting us financially and building our daughter a room); he is busy too. But I think it just came to the fact that his busy could be put down and he could leave the house to go play golf or soccer or baseball, whereas I could not. I also found myself apprehensive to ask for help with her, feeling bad because he had worked all day too. In talking to my girlfriends who are new moms also, I realized that this is not an issue that is unique to me. The fact remains that nursing moms do more work until a bottle has been introduced; and even then there is no guarantee that things will improve. In this expensive world it is hard enough for one parent to go on maternity leave, let alone two! And like a friend of mine says, taking care of a baby can sometimes be a 10 person job! As the weeks have gone by and the independence of our baby has increased my softer feelings towards him are starting to return. I shared with him how I felt recently and he said it was disheartening that I would feel that way about him. I reminded him that it’s not so much him, but what he represents and what he represents is a life that I don’t have anymore. No matter how much you love your children, you still have to adjust to the fact that they are here and that your life as you knew it before will never return, this seems to be a bigger adjustment for the mother, seeing that we are the ones who do most of the care giving early on. I always tell him that mother nature was smart in making parents love their children so fast and so strong, because we could not put up with this kind of life adjustment for anyone else. I can’t imagine what would have happened to us if we did not have an open, healthy relationship. Or what would happen to us in the future. I can see how many couples who do not have a strong foundation find that their relationship deteriorates completely after having children. I am so glad that even in the tougher times, we still love each other and still fight to make things work. Talks about a date night have begun 🙂