Friday, November 16, 2012
Guilt Over Not Feeling Guilty, or I Hired a Babysitter for Tonight
I can account for every moment I've spent away from my son during his whole life. In six and a half months, I've spent exactly 15.5 hours away from him, or about a half hour a week, and that includes EVERYTHING including the time he was in the hospital as a newborn, the four trips to the grocery store I've made without him, the one time I had lunch with my mom and sister, the time Chuk and I got pizza while my mom stayed with my sleeping baby, everything. My husband has, on occasion, spent more time away from him in a single day than I have in his whole life.
I don't think this is entirely healthy for me. I can see how easy it would be for me to sacrifice my hobbies and interests and give up larger and larger pieces of myself to motherhood. But being a mom, as wonderful as it is, isn't the only thing that defines me, or at least I don't want it to be.
So I've started trying to find ways to take breaks. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it. My husband works full time and is taking four graduate level classes, so even though he's a feminist, he's not much help, but we're talking about him taking on baby duty three nights that he doesn't have class so I can take an intro to knitting class, something I've been wanting to do for a long time.
More monumentally, I temporarily overcame my shyness and asked our upstairs neighbor, the one who's always asking to hold the baby and covering him in kisses, to babysit tonight so Chuk and I can go to a concert. This is a major milestone, people. I'm leaving my baby with someone who isn't his parent and not my mom. We're going to see Ray Lamontagne and I couldn't be more excited. I saw him in concert eight years ago and he was fantastic. Chuk and I danced to him at our wedding too, so it'll be an extra special date night.
But I'm nervous too, not so much about the baby, who I think will be in good hands, but about my neighbor. My baby has been on a nap strike all week (that's another story, but suffice it to say, good Lord, I've earned this night off!) and has suddenly started getting fussy during diaper changes. He's never been put to sleep by anyone besides me. What if he cries the whole time we're gone? My husband, mom and I are bound by blood to love him even if he's screaming his head off, but the babysitter, not so much. I expect it to be fine (my plan is to have him in bed before the babysitter arrives, knock on wood) but there's always that twinge of doubt in the back of one's mind.
I'm forcing myself to get over it though. And just to gild the lily, I'm leaving the baby with Chuk on Saturday night and going to an Aretha Franklin show with a girlfriend. Yes, I'm leaving my baby two nights in a row. I figure belting out R-E-S-P-E-C-T will assuage any ovarian guilt I might be feeling.