…over spilled milk. Unless it’s breastmilk. But actually the tears this week started when I began to think about pumping, bottles, daycare, and going back to work in less than two weeks. And then my thoughts spider-webbed into images of less free time – short evenings with Amaya before bedtime, passing the baton to Andy so I can sleep, and trying to find time for myself. Then I thought about how I miss my friends and how I find it harder to see and even relate to them nowadays since all my waking moments are consumed with Amaya. Then amidst all the tears, Andy got me to calm down and get to the root of the problem: me.
Transitioning to Daycare
This one is a doozy. At the beginning of the week I was a hot mess thinking about how to transition Amaya for daycare. Since I’ve been home with her all day, I’ve gotten used to doing things a certain way. Then I thought, what if my methods won’t work for daycare? They probably won’t have a swing for her mid morning nap; they won’t take her for a mid afternoon walk in her stroller; she will have to take 3 bottles a day but has been pushing it away from Andy lately after only drinking an ounce or so. Thoughts of her upset and crying flooded my mind, and I started to get really anxious.
Then my cousin Allie came to the rescue. Her daughter is in daycare, and she called to tell me I don’t have to hit a checklist of prerequisites to send Amaya. She told me the professional caregivers are used to dealing with infants and will have a whole host of tools and knowledge to help her adjust to her new environment. After buying one of the most expensive bottles on the market and trying to soothe her for over 30 minutes so she’d nap in her crib – only to have her wake up 15 min later – I was so relieved to hear this. I realized I needed to let go and trust that Amaya will be just fine at daycare; she may cry a bit, but she’ll eventually figure it out. I don’t have to stress myself out trying to prepare her for something of which I’m not even sure. This notion helped me get present so I can enjoy our time together because these days are coming to an end soon. At first I felt like maternity leave was boring and draining, but now I look forward to every waking moment and miss her when she’s asleep. So I spent the rest of my day enjoying her smiles and coos and just holding her. And I let her nap in that darn swing for 3 hours!
Andy recently got back into paintball so he could get outside, be active, and do something to focus his mind. I was a bit jealous of this, and I thought it was because I wanted him to spend time with me. But the truth is I’m finding it hard to find quality time to recharge. I’m still doing my mama’s day out each week, and I always enjoy catching up with friends and getting some time away. I just realized that I used to have so much alone time to reconnect with myself in a meaningful way. Every day I’m home alone with just my thoughts, and it’s easy to go down a spiral of self doubt or worry (or googling parenting advice). I realize now how important it is for me to make time to unplug and disconnect so I can get grounded – whether it’s meditation, going for a walk, or just reading a book on the patio.
I also began to think about what our evenings will be like after we pick Amaya up from daycare and get home. We have to feed her, give her a bath, put her to bed, make/eat dinner, and then try to spend time together before I go to bed and start the process over again. The idea of this routine and the little time we will have made me feel suffocated and sad. I also felt a little guilty because I miss work and my team, and I have a feeling I’ll enjoy my days when I’m away. After talking to a few people about what it’s like, I realized I just need to enjoy work and use that productivity as another way to recharge, and when I’m home, I can give my all to Amaya for those few hours I get to see her. Andy also helped me come to terms with spending less time alone as a couple. If I want more me time, more us time, and more Amaya time, something has to suffer; I need to be the best version of me for Amaya, so I guess for now me time and Amaya time win out. Andy and I just have to seize the opportunites we can as they arise.
I recently read an article about how friends often drift apart after kids. The friends without kids just have a very different lifestyle that makes it hard to find time to connect and harder to find common topics of interest to which we can both relate. For the most part I haven’t felt this way when I spend one-on-one time with friends, but then I’ll be in a group conversation about traveling or trying new restaurants and just feel completely disconnected. I haven’t been anywhere besides Houston, and I haven’t gone on a date with Andy for months. Part of me misses my old lifestyle where I could buy a ticket to Bali and not think twice or go check out the new hot spot with Andy for date night on a random Tuesday; the other part of me acknowledges my new life was my choice, and I have no regrets. But it’s definitely a constant adjustment, and I’m trying to find a balance of engaging in meaningful conversation when my mind is always preoccupied with baby. I do hope it gets easier. For now connecting with other new moms is uplifting and comforting, and I treasure the new tribe that’s forming around me. To all my other friends I don’t see as often, I miss you and can’t wait to hear all your fun travel and food adventures. I promise I’ll come around more often when I can, and my door is always open for a visit.
The Root of the Problem
So after I let go of my anxiety over these topics I saw that the root of my problem was me. I want to be better. I want to be able to do all the things I love (travel, go out to eat, work out, spend time alone, and spend time with my family) and not sacrifice any of it. I want to be the best mom I can, do things right, and make sure Amaya continues to grow and develop. But I continue to idealize motherhood and sometimes wish I could fast forward to a time in the future when things are easier and I’m more put together (as if that really ever happens!). This knocks me out of the present and keeps me from appreciating the time I have right now. It isn’t really fair to me nor is it fair to Amaya since I only have two weeks left with her all to myself. She’ll never be this age again, and I want to cherish every second. Today I set an intention to do what I need for my mental sanity so I can be the best me for Amaya.
I’m reminded of a quote by Rumi: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
I have to remember there’s no right or wrong, there’s just what works for me and my family. I’m doing the best I can and can feel myself getting better every day. So here’s to embracing change with an open mind and remembering I am enough. Besides, Andy always says, “Crying is for babies!”