Mat Leave Musings

I’ve had so many blog titles bopping around my brain for the past few weeks and no time to do anything about them. So on this fortunate night when my 8-month old daughter took all of TWO minutes BY HERSELF to pass out in her crib, I think this post will be an amalgamation of the various working titles I’ve had flying around my head lately. Here they are:

“Am I Addicted To My Daughter? (Is that a thing? If it is, I’m pretty sure I am)”

“Are These My Tits Or Did Someone Replace Them With Pancake Batter?”

“What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?” a.k.a. “Fuck: Mat Leave Is Almost Over”

and lastly “OMG I Wanna Cry, She’s Almost A Year Old”

Let’s start with that last one. Prior to becoming a mother, I used to Hate when women said ‘Oh, little so and so is just growing up so fast. Oh little so and so, please stop growing. Sob.’ It drove me nuts because I was like, well why on earth did you have children then?! The alternative to not growing up and getting older is Death. Are you wishing death upon your children?? So let me be clear, I still think that statement is stupid, and I will not wish ever that Sadie stops growing. However- I do get the sentiment. Now that I’m a mother myself, I really, really do.

As of this Friday, Sadie has become her own person, independent of my womb for 8 months now. I have had eight months of watching her grow out of her newborn clothes and into all sorts of mischief and wobbly-legged attempts at bipedalism. Since she’s become more ambulatory, she now wiggles out of my desperate grasp more often than not, and 100% of the time that I have her on the diaper change table.

I chose to make a baby in the hopes that it would become its own independent person, and that experiment is all coming along quite nicely. But I’m realizing now that there are Way more months on the side of the maternity clock that has already passed by, and that our side only has four more months left on it. With the strides she’s making now, I know that those remaining four months will feel more like four hours. I have an acute feeling now that Every Moment with her matters, and that these days of just the two of us spending every minute of it together are numbered.

Hence why I lied to my friends the other weekend, and then spent the following week questioning if I was addicted to my child. If you’re one of the friends I lied to and you’re reading this- I apologize in advance.

There was a Christmas party. One of my babeliest friends was hosting it and it was going to be a blast. Three other amazingly hilarious, energetic, fun-times friends that I love were going to be there too. Only problem was- it was on a Sunday night, from 6-10 pm, and Ryan was away on business. We’re very limited for babysitters, so I didn’t think I could make it. But at 4 pm on Sunday, my friend got back to me and said ‘Sure, bring Sadie by. We can take her no problem.’

By that point, Sades and I were just leaving Superstore in Airdrie and I had already envisioned a romantic night ahead of us snuggling together on the couch, eating popcorn and watching House. So I lied.

I said that I couldn’t find a sitter and told the girls to have a great time and to send me pictures of what I missed. When I took Sadie out of the car seat after our drive home, I removed her little woolly pink winter hat, pulled her into a giant squeeze on the staircase and just inhaled her little baby scent. I drank all of her in and I thought “Yes! This is worth staying home for!”

In the coming days, I began to wonder if these events meant that I had an unhealthy fixation with my child. So I ran this story by a few of my Mom friends (one of whom was at the party and I had lied to), and the consensus (at least from those friends) was No. One said “They’re your child forever, but only your baby for a little while.” And the friend I had lied to said “I actually think it’s so beautiful that you lied to us so that you could spend more time with your child.” So I took their words for it, but if you want to tell me there’s something wrong with me, I’m all ears!

The last two working titles, floppy tits and returning to work, I’ll have to leave for another time, as 11:00 pm now feels like 3:00 am and I can barely keep my eyes open.

XO, Em

Maybe I’m a Bitch

My last post was about the ‘Fun Mom’ being dead. I felt ‘negative’ throwing that ‘bad energy’ into the world, but I also felt really great when I wrote all of those very true feelings down and released them.

I very wholeheartedly wrote something like ‘the Fun Mom is dead and that’s okay.’

Let me tell you- killing the Fun Mom and Being Okay with it are Entirely different subjects.

Relationships are Incredibly important to me. Always have been. I like to support my friends through any and all situations, and I like to be someone you can lean on, at all times, for any reason.

My social calendar is often jam packed and I am usually running around to three different areas of town in one day, with social events with two different people, while getting a full day of work in, and somehow still doing the groceries and making dinner for my hubby and I.

Now that I’ve had Sadie, things are Very different.

A drive to Canmore to see old friends in 24-degree weather, with her stuck in a hot, sweaty car seat for a 1.5 hour drive one-way, and logistically figuring out when/where to best time my visit to feed her every 4 hours becomes a lot of hassle. Not to mention time and gas.

Only one of my Canmore friends who I used to be close with comes to see me in Crossfield. My family and I appreciate her efforts very much. Another one of my Canmore friends comes to see me when she can catch a ride with her mom, as she has no vehicle of her own yet. I very much appreciate when she makes her way here as well.

The others- they were there for my gender reveal, my baby shower, my birthday party where they listened to my baby girl’s heartbeat with a stethoscope and we all cooed about what she might look like- they spent Hours at my house near Canmore, eating dinners that I had prepared for them, and then hours on my couch, spilling their guts about their latest relationship or life problem, and I was Incredibly excited for these people to become my child’s Aunty.

She is just over two months old now, and None of those women have come to see me.

I’ve driven to Canmore 4 times in the 8 weeks that Sadie has been alive, to see Sadie’s old family doctor, and to try and maintain those relationships.

I’ve sent out pleading text messages asking ‘what did I do wrong and how can I fix it?’ and received various responses that kind of broke my heart.

And I’ve had to let that go. And it’s hurt.

Being a friend that you could rely on has been really important to me. And I’ve had to bump that value waaaayyy down on my list of priorities. And it’s hurt.

Then there’s my phone.

I used to be on that thing All. The. Time.

Send me a text? Boom-response. Send me something funny on Messenger? Boom- response. Send me something interesting on Insta? Boom- response.

I went to the Rural Women in Business conference a few weeks ago and one of the presenters had us do an exercise where you really quickly wrote down 3-5 things you value the most, and then 3-5 things you like doing that make you happy, and then 3-5 things you find yourself doing the most during your day, and then told us to jot down a really quick Coles notes version of what our typical daily schedule looks like.

Then she got us to go back and look at the things we valued, and to compare that list with what we normally fill our days with.

I was Floored.

I love going on 5K runs. I love going on dog and stroller walks with Ryan. I love sitting in my greenhouse snuggling my baby. I love sitting on my lawn chair by myself, lapping up the sun. I love listening to music and singing while I drive. I love writing blog posts.

When I looked at my daily schedule- NONE of these things were there.

I was on the phone calling people every time I drove, not listening to music and/or enjoying the silence of a nice highway drive.

I was driving to other people’s houses and sitting in their backyards, but not enjoying my own.

When I was in the greenhouse, snuggling my baby, I was busy one-handed texting back to my friends who had written me earlier.

My dog was getting crappy 15-minute walks around the neighborhood so that I could zoom back and forth in my car and visit people and attend various appointments.

I ran a 5K once at 6 weeks, and felt Amazing about it for the next 4 days, and then didn’t build running into my daily schedule because there was already too much in there.

And then we bought a truck and a trailer to go camping and ‘relax’ on the weekends, and we go camping with lots of other people and other dogs, and our dog hates other dogs so I have to manage and contain her behavior, as well as the feeding requirements of my 4-hour feeding baby, as well as her not being able to be out in direct sunlight or get too cold or get too many mosquito bites- and so I find myself retreating inside the trailer to snuggle the baby and be with the dog, while Ryan and our friends drink by the fire.

And then I feel like a ‘loser’.

And I look at my dwindling friendships and I feel like a ‘failure’.

And I want to ask or tell people things like ‘can you come to my house- I can no longer come to yours’, or ‘I don’t want to phone you on my drive to the South today- I want to sing to my music on the highway instead’, or ‘please stop texting me 11 times a day- I do not have the time to respond to you and seeing 19 text notifications on my phone gives me anxiety’- but then I fear sounding like a ‘bitch’.

My mom is at my house right now.

She arrived a week ago and is staying until July 20th and I am SO glad to have her here.

Since getting here, she’s done approximately 1100 loads of laundry, and 1300 loads of dishes because our dishwasher shit the bed last week while Ryan was away on business. She’s made me meals and bottle-fed my baby and mowed my lawn and baked Ryan a Father’s Day angel food cake from scratch.

She stayed at home this weekend to be with the dog while we went camping, and she stayed with Sadie this morning at home so that I could do my first of what I hope to be daily 5K runs, and I am INCREDIBLY grateful for all those things.

But today we had to zip out to Superstore to get birthday prezzies for my niece and nephew- a to-do list item from last week that I had failed at. I had a dinner date scheduled at 5 pm tonight with my very bestest friend so that I could take her to dinner and celebrate her accomplishment of finishing her first year of her Master’s in Social Work, while she was working full-time, running a household and raising two children under 10 (Hero!).

So Mom, Sadie and I went to Superstore today at 2:30, and did what I had to do, and left. As we were walking back to the car, Mom said, ‘where are we going next?’ and I said ‘Home.’ And she said ‘but it’s only 3:40, we have lots of time.’ And I said ‘Mom, I told you, I’m picking Tina up from her work at 5, and I live in Crossfield. We just have enough time to get these things home and Sadie out of the car seat before I have to get right back in the car and drive to Calgary.’ And she pouted and said, ‘well that’s not very fun.’

So I laughed it off and consoled her that we’ll have more ‘fun’ tomorrow.

Tonight, at 9:40, after a very long day that started with a 5 am bottle feed, then a 5K run, then a trip to Airdrie to fetch family things, then a drive to Calgary and dinner with a great friend, I drove home to Crossfield, walked in and told Mom before bed that Sadie’s vaccinations were tomorrow in Airdrie at 1:20 pm.

And she looked at me and said ‘well that’s not very fun. You promised me fun tomorrow and vaccinations aren’t very fun.’

And I effin lost it. I grabbed my baby off my husband’s chest and stormed off to our bedroom, where I raged about everything for about half an hour before I felt any better.

At the end of my rant, he said ‘sounds like a blog post’, so here I am.

I used to be a great friend. Now I’m not.

I used to be on my phone all the time. Now I’m not.

I used to be hyper social. Now I’m not.

I used to be fun. Now I’m not.

Let the chips fall where they may. I am DONE with pleasing others first, and that HAS to be okay.

If I lose even more friendships because of it, so be it.

If saying all this makes me a ‘bitch’, maybe I’m a bitch.

XO, Em