by: Emma Aguirre
January 31, 2011
What a beautiful weekend we had! My anxiousness was completely uncalled for. Once again my daughter stepped up to the plate and surprised me! It’s not that I expect her not to. It’s simply that we all hear horror stories about fussy babies on trips and we’ve all seen the screaming baby waiting at the gate to board a flight (I have a renewed respect for those frazzled parents!). But I do tend to live by the motto ‘prepare for the worst but hope for the best’ which has helped me in a few new baby situations. Not to mention, people tend to share their horror stories before their “good” stories when it comes to children!
That said, my folks kept my daughter for the night and I thought I was doing the right thing by getting our rooms close by. This may not have been the right thing. She fussed before bedtime as we were getting ready and we could hear her crying (it was a very old hotel, paper thin walls) which was just heart wrenching. So we stopped on our way out and kissed her goodnight (again) in the midst of the wails. I knew she was in the best hands, but still…maybe we’ll do different floors next time! (The 8oz “To Go” premade formula bottles were a lifesaver. I had to order the disposable nipples from Amazon.com. It was $10 for 10 and I’m going to order more just to keep in my diaper bag. So handy!)
It felt wonderful to have a night off together with my husband, as a real, married, grown-up couple. We’ve been great about trading off and I think that’s something new parents really have to do but a night off, just us, is rare. I’m a stay home mom now, I don’t work outside the home and he does. While I have certain expectations that need to be met, my boss can’t really fire me if I don’t do them like his can, so I think it’s important that he gets a full night’s rest. He helps as much as he can on weekends, and I try not to fuss too much about it during the week. That’s not to say it’s not difficult and realistically, a bit of resentment every now and then is totally normal. Last week for example, I was completely exhausted. I could feel myself getting a little sick and I was making silly mistakes (putting the laundry in the washing machine and forgetting to close the lid, pouring water into a Playtex bottle without a bottle liner so the water came gushing out the bottom, leaving the oven on…and that was just Thursday. Thankfully, my daughter survived!). That evening, I went to bed around 8pm – usually I’m squeezing every last ounce out of my day and not getting to bed until 11pm or midnight. But that day I knew if I didn’t stop and relax, I would be no good to anyone. Without saying a word about making bottles, or the dream feed, or the dogs, or the dishwasher, I went to bed and my husband just took over. I slept soundly until my daughter awoke at 7am. I didn’t even feel him coming to bed and had to ask if he had given her the dream feed (which he had!). A solid night of good, uninterrupted sleep can do wonders for a new mom’s psyche, and no one should ever underestimate it. Sure, naps when the baby naps are great, but for me they just don’t work out. I want to cram everything I needed to get done into that hour or two block of time she sleeps. Tonight, he says he isn’t feeling one hundred percent, so I know I can’t rely on him for help if I need it and that’s just fine because I know he would if he could.
We worked out our “system” from day one. For the short period of time we had the two night feeds (“night” for us being between midnight and 6am), we would each take one. Then when it cut down to one a night, I would do it. Now, we share the dream feed and it’s now just part of our bedtime routine. I’m not sure discussing who’s doing what when there’s a baby crying at 3am is the best way to tackle it, and it all comes down to just a bit of planning and consideration. Everyone is happier when they know what’s expected. Being a parent is being part of a team.
A question popped into my mind earlier today when I was thinking about this blog post and the role that I seem to have taken on. Am I a stay home mom or a housewife? Housewife sounds so 60’s. I feel like I should have a martini in hand and dinner on the table by 5pm, in my stilettos and cute dress, complete with an apron (oh, and a smile on my face!)! It’s not really me (especially considering the disaster that was Thursday!). So that leaves me with stay home mom. But that too seems to have a stigma attached to it. I distinctly remember an Oprah episode that had half stay home moms in the audience and half working moms, and they just battled each other so harshly. It was so sad. Stay home moms were called “frumpy” and working moms were called “heartless”. I think today we’ve reached an understanding where motherhood is neither. We’re far from “frumps” or “heartless”. We are beautiful, nurturing women, who have selflessly brought human beings into this incredible world. Our hearts burst with love, complete joy and fulfillment for these little people who we created from the second we hear that gentle heart beat. But a hard work ethic comes with the territory. We are expected to think on our feet and become entertainment directors on a minute’s notice, not to mention the customer service aspect of the job. My time management skills have been perfected (for the most part) and I am convinced I work longer hours than I did as a reporter. But the benefits and the pay are the best I’ve ever had, and nothing beats that gummy smile staring back at me. This weekend, we discovered the baby equivalent of jumping on the bed, and my daughter giggled so hard she gave herself the hiccups. It was just hysterical and such a great moment for our little family. The perks just don’t get much better than that. Being someone’s mom is the best job I’ve ever had, and I realized I don’t care about stereotypes one bit.