Turns out caring for a baby is hard. And not for the reasons you probably think I’m going to say. Yes, there are a lot of diapers, crying, sleepless nights. Yes, caring for another human being is a huge responsibility. Yes, it might have been especially hard for me because after the second week, my husband wasn’t there half the week. He didn’t just leave for work early and come home late. Since he works 2 hours away, he had to leave us Tuesday morning to Thursday night (and he hated it just as much as we did). I expected all these things though. I already knew babies were hard work. And I already anticipated my husband not being able to be with us every night. What I did not anticipate was the emotional toll this baby would have on me. It’s really hard to have something depend on you 100%. Taking care of my baby made me feel like I was losing a little bit of myself. Losing my identity. I was no longer wife, daughter, engineer. I was only “mom” and I didn’t know how to handle it. I was also nursing and that was horrible. Sometimes little guy would need to be nursed for up to 2 hours, which gets tough when they’re supposed to eat every 2-3 hours. And I’m pretty sure he wasn’t getting enough to eat a lot of the times. Breastfeeding is especially hard for a numbers person like me I think. I want to know exactly how much baby is eating and there’s just no way to know that when you’re breastfeeding. Unless you exclusively pump, which I thought about, but stubbornly decided to nurse and only pump when I needed to. The nursing, being alone for 3 days a week straight, it all started to take its toll.
I loved when friends came to visit, but would also be very anxious about his feeding schedule at the same time. Is baby going to want to eat when my friend gets here? And how long is he going to want to eat if he does? Will my friend care if I feed my baby while they’re here?? Adult interaction was key to survival during my maternity leave. That, and just being able to get out of the house. I would strap baby to me in his carrier and go for a walk around the neighborhood with the dog. I think all three of us appreciated it.
My other escape was TV. Television has always been an escape for me. Maybe why I love it so much. In one hour I can travel to far away planets with The Doctor, pretend I’m high society with the gang from Gossip Girl, fight demons with Sam and Dean, help take care of the Gallagher kids and yell at Fiona’s bad decisions on Shameless. I did all those things while on maternity leave and I think it kept me sane. Not trying to brag or anything, but I made it through 5 seasons of Shameless, all 121 episodes of Gossip Girl, 3 seasons of Suits, and 2 seasons of Supernatural in 8 weeks.
When baby was a week old, the family ventured to Costco. When baby was 2 weeks old, I decided it was time for him to meet my coworkers, so I took him into my office to meet some people. When baby was a month old, we traveled 12 hours to New Hampshire for a family reunion. Nothing was keeping mama and baby from leaving the house. Like I mentioned above, it was needed for survival. Dad had a conference in Las Vegas to go to when we got back from New Hampshire. He was gone for 6 days straight. 6 days!!! It was a little tough, all that time alone with baby. Before I met J, I had considered having a baby on my own, just because being a mom was something I wanted so bad. I wouldn’t have been anytime soon, but it was something I was seriously starting to consider because I was almost 30 without even a boyfriend. Thank the good Lord J came around! I can’t even imagine doing this all by myself.
Baby is almost 3 months now. Feedings are so much quicker. I’ve been back at work for almost a month and feeling more normal because of it. The first 3 weeks of work, my Manang (see my Mother’s Day post) stayed with me and helped. She was a Godsend, to say the least. Not only did she care for baby, she deep cleaned the house from top to bottom! And I didn’t even ask her to! It was weird coming home and the t-shirt I slept in that I just threw on the floor that morning was no longer on the floor! Then I started to stress out, the thought of taking care of a crying baby, AND getting lunches and dinners together, as well as cleaning and sterilizing pump parts and bottles, all by my lonesome, made me cry some nights. Manang was so good at tending to baby while I took care of everything else. But, the first week without Manang is now passed and we survived. An unintended side effect to parenting alone is that I somehow became productive and organized. And I now eat dinner before 9pm and sleep before midnight. Weird!
Baby seems to like daycare, and let’s be honest, he’s doing way more in daycare than he would be if he was home with me. We would probably just watch TV all day. And now that he doesn’t watch any during the day anymore, I don’t feel so bad plopping him in front of it at night for a little bit. It’s our bonding time 🙂 Call me a bad mom, but I know it’s just the lights he’s interested in. The first daycare drop-off wasn’t the traumatic experience I’ve heard many talk about (traumatic for mom, not baby.) I felt a little guilty for a second, like I was supposed to have some sort of break down, but I realized that just because I didn’t cry doesn’t mean I love him any less. I love my little guy. I mean, how can I not – he’s the cutest baby in the history of babies.
I’m pretty sure he’s like the smartest and strongest also.