After the first couple of weeks, I started getting antsy to get out of the house. I sat at home every day while Husband was at work, and while he may think things are slow at the university during the summer, at least he has the occasional adult conversation. Boring or not, that’s still better than carrying on conversations where your side goes something like this:
“You’re adorable! Did you know that? Yes you are! Yes you are! You’ve got such a cute little nose! Boop! That’s your nose! And here…is your eye! You have pretty blue eyes! And then here…is your ear! Little baby ears…so cute! Yes they are! And this…is your mouth! It’s right under your cute little baby nose! Boop!”
Baby’s response: BLANK STARE
Later in the day your side sounds something like this:
“Mommy’s back hurts! You know why? It’s because she has to carry a baby around all day. And you’re heavier now than you were in Mommy’s tummy. Yes you are! You’re growing! You’re going to get soooo big, and you’re going to be walking before we know it! And then Mommy will be tired from running around chasing you all day. But at least she won’t have to carry you everywhere. Because as cute as you are, you’re getting rather heavy, especially after eight hours of being carried around. Okay, Mommy needs to sit down now. Oh, you don’t like that, do you? Of course not. Mommy’s comfortable, so it’s time to cry again.”
Baby’s response: BLANK STARE
So during the third week I started finding things that needed to be done out of the house. Little Miss and I had been going out to the mailbox to get the mail every day, and sometimes we’d stand on the front porch and enjoy the breeze, but I needed to get OUT. Not just outside, but out into public – out into the real world.
Having errands to run became the most exciting part of my week. I looked forward to reasons to run to Wal-Mart, the grocery store, or even just the post office. And some days, when I had no reason to go shopping, I’d load Little Miss in the car and drive around anyway. We’d stop at McDonald’s for a drink and some fries, or go into town and visit Daddy at work. Anything to not be sitting (or rather, probably standing) at home.
During what was probably the fourth week, I started getting together with friends. One mom friend had me over and made lunch for me. It was amazing and it felt so good to talk to a fellow relatively new mom (she had a 16-month-old boy). Another brought me breakfast. It was delicious, and it was fun to discuss pregnancy and childbirth with someone who would be experiencing it herself soon (she was over 30 weeks pregnant at the time and is now the proud mama of her own baby girl). A non-mom friend met me at a coffee shop so we could catch up and she could meet Little Miss. It’s now a weekly thing, and I look forward to it every week.
It was due to these outings – errands and getting together with friends – that I started to feel human again. I’m not sure what I felt like before that…kind of out of it, I think. Confused about how to be a mom, anxious about doing the right thing, excited to have such a beautiful healthy little girl, and scared that something would go wrong. Things weren’t perfect, and there were still many tears shed, but I was starting to get into the swing of my new life as a mother.
I even found myself wishing something I thought I’d never wish: that my own parents lived closer! I love my parents, but I strongly believe that young couples should live a decent distance from their parents for the first few years of marriage. You need to learn to be independent as a husband and wife. Without your parents to run to every time a problem crops up, you’re forced to fix the problem and reconcile your differences.
But when that baby is born…oh how you’ll long to be near your own parents again! Somehow overnight they’ve become experts in the field of childrearing, and it’s as though the process of you giving birth somehow changed your parents from constant lecturers to brilliant consultants. Funny how that works.
Regardless of how close or far away Mom and Dad are, having friends in town and creating errands for yourself to take care of during the day is crucial to moving from Terrified Newbie to Confident Mother. There are still moments of hesitation and plenty of unknowns, but I’m not scared about what to do if she fills her diaper while I’m in ShopKo, or how to handle having to feed her when I’m not done with the errands just yet.
This is how things are. This is my life as a mother. And I can do it.