Selfish mom is selfish...
I've done a lot of soul searching these past almost 5 months, trying to come to terms with what my life has become and where it's going. So here it is, confession time:
I am not a baby person.
I kept hearing from people ever since we went public with the pregnancy about what awesome parents we were going to be (thanks, btw), but in the wake of a newborn I felt like anything but. I like SOME kids, but babies? I was completely out of my depth.
I dove into parenting head first, determined to be the Best Mom Ever. I knew every wheeze, every snort, every facial expression, every twitch that came from my child. I lived baby for 12 weeks.
I had my moments to think about how my life had changed. Some changes, like the giant warm squishy love exploding from my chest, were for the best. Part of me, however, couldn't help but mourn the loss of my "me" time. I never realized how much I had come to enjoy my time alone: reading my kindle, having a DVR catch-up marathon, vegging on the couch with a Project Runway marathon. I was trying to come to terms with the fact that these things just wouldn't be happening ever again, for I was now a full-time mom and my life was no longer about me. Oh, well.
As I approached the end of my maternity leave, I started getting sad. Gosh darn it, this kid was just starting to get fun and now I have to go back to work? F*** that! I'm moving to Canada!
September 24th arrived, and back to work I went. I was fortunate to have an INCREDIBLE group of coworkers who were able to help me ease the transition back into a regular schedule. Thank heaven, since that first day I think it took me almost 2 hours to get out the door with the kid, not including all the times I had to turn around and go back for things I'd forgotten. That first week was stressful: my kid vehemently refused a bottle for 12 weeks and was continuing to fight it at day care. I was running up there as soon as I could get wrapped up to engage in a boob marathon with the kid in the early evening.
Then the second week, a little miracle happened. First, my kid crossed the three month mark (also known as the fourth trimester) and was replaced by a pod baby of awesome that I am NOT giving back. Second, she finally threw in the towel and started drinking from the bottle. It could have been for any number for reasons, but a very large one is most likely Miss Kiki (my very own baby whisperer and the young woman in charge of the baby room at my day care.)
Kiki is an absolute wonder to me. She is patient, upbeat, and somehow juggles babies under one year of age the way I used to juggle AIM windows in college (oh man, dating myself). Kiki also gave me her personal cell phone number so I can text her for updates whenever I want. She sends me pictures of my kid and sends home art projects for my fridge (Daphne "painted" an acorn for fall).
Once Daphne let go of the bottle drama, I got to see her really come into her own. She loves meeting new people and making friends with the other babies (Gemma and Mora, who have been a very positive influence on my kid!). I found myself getting done with work early and NOT feeling the need to rush over to pick her up. So I went home....
And I found that part of me I thought I'd lost. I started the blog I'd been talking about for years, I watched my DVR without having to rewind the same segment 4 times because I couldn't hear the dialogue over the screaming kid. I did dishes (and somehow enjoyed it?). I finally got my "me" time back.
That turned out to be the final step I didn't know I needed to take to move beyond the PTSD and baby blues that I hadn't realized were still weighing on me. Is it wrong that I don't go racing to get my kid the minute I'm free to do so? I know it's not the "thing" to say, but sending my kid to day care is one of the better things to happen to me since becoming a mom. Because I don't spend all day catering to this kid's every whim, when I do go get her at the end of my day, I am so EXCITED to see her and to spend my evening with her. I LOVE the time we get together and i get to give her 100% of me, because I'm not worrying about trying to get other things done.
I have nothing but respect and admiration for stay at home moms, I just know now that I am not cut out to be one. So thank you, day care, for giving me back ME and helping me be a better mom in the process.