By: Jenna Mahoney-Pierce
Having a new baby, be it first, second, or fifteenth (wow!) changes the dynamic in your family. Being a first time mom, I was told by friends and family that things are going to change. During the pregnancy, I chalked it up to people trying to tell me all of their “good” advice, which I kicked to the curb quickly as it was unsolicited. It was the solicited advice that I kept in my back pocket. My friend told me pregnancy secrets and even her tales of first time mommy-hood, and they were anything but sugar coated.
Whether or not you use this little piece of advice or kick it to the curb like I did, let me just put it out there un-sugar coated:
No one will do as good a job as you at caring for your child, and you will be upset over the little things when you put them in the hands of a sitter or relative…BUT LEAVE THE BABY WITH SOMEONE, at least once, within the first year.
I never thought I would leave my baby the first year…but I did three times. Two of the times you could say it was my pick of sitter, the other…well… And, yes, you can definitely tell which ones I picked.
The first time was when she was 2 months old and my husband wanted me to go to a couples game night at a friends house. I was breastfeeding so I knew I couldn’t stay too long. Being at night, I asked my co-worker to stay up since the baby wakes frequently and I know she would be at the ready to grab her. Things went great! It was only three hours and my boobs were killing me but I made it.
The second time, my husband had to drop off our only car to get the brakes fixed. When the car was ready, my husband had a brilliant idea to let his parents watch baby while we borrow one of their cars to drive to the shop so we could get our car. She was about 3 months old, we would be gone for a little over an hour and in that time she needed a bottle that I pumped just that morning. I told my in-laws that she needs to eat the bottle. Did they feed it to her? We got home and I had to pour 5 ounce of liquid gold down the drain. Anyone who pumps knows what I felt that day.
Third time my mother actually flew from FL up to MA to watch baby, 5 months old, while we went to a wedding. We decided since it was from my husbands side that his parents should attend wedding. I wasn’t going to go since babies were not allowed, but then my mom came. I begged my husband to go back home, I wasn’t ready to stay away overnight. But I made it through, pumped in the car while my husband drove home, but I made it!
Now, you may read this and think to yourself, “geez, she’s biased”…go ahead have your opinion. But as mothers, we just want one thing when we hand over our baby, TO BE LISTENED TO. I personally don’t care if they have raised x amount of kids, or always did it this way…If I tell you to do something for my child while I am gone…GET IT DONE. I am not asking for the impossible to be done, because I do it every day; it’s clearly possible. As much as I could not stand being ignored when it came to my child’s well being, when I was away (and as much as I didn’t want it to happen ever again) I faced the reality that my relationship with my husband needed to have time away. One of my husband’s Father’s Day requests was to go out to see a movie just us two. His parents watched her, now 15 moths old, and all I asked was that she ate her snack at a specific time. Flash forward three hours when we got back home after a great time at the movies. Low and behold she didn’t eat. Its hot, she didn’t have food, she didn’t have her cup, and timing stunk because I had to whip up dinner as soon as I stepped in the house because my baby was hangry. All I could think about while making dinner was “How on earth could they do this to their granddaughter for a second time in her life. Seriously, how hard is it to listen to directions and feed someone” Once she had food in her belly and was cuddling on the couch with me it hit me hard, “No one will do as good a job as you at caring for your child, and you will be upset over the little things when you put them in the hands of a sitter or relative” But you get back, you fix, and at the end of the day baby is in one piece when you get back; and the time away is much needed for yourself and for other relationships.
It is hard to go…but go…and know that you will fix anything that was done while you were gone. As for me, I will be planning out times for my daughter free outings a bit better, and–well–I am still not ready to leave her overnight…its a mom thing!