Friday, 4 November 2011

The Emancipation of Mama

Today was a big day for me, I got out with my husband on an afternoon date for 1.5 hours with no babies! No baby in utero, no baby in arms, no one but ourselves. It was fantastic.

We took a scenic drive to Killiney bay where you could see for miles to sea and down the coast to Wicklow. We walked down towards the beach and laughed like fools as a train thundered under the bridge. We picked blackberries and walked hand in hand, stopping to kiss whenever we felt like it. We sat on a bench chatting as rainclouds rained miles away in the evening sunshine.

We then drove to Dalkey village, debated having shots in the pub, then settled for tea and cake in one of the nicest cafes in Dublin. My lemon and poppyseed cake was worth every calorie, and I finished off Barry's meringues too. We then arrived back at my moms to two happy children and I breathed an inner sigh of relief.

This is the start of a new phase for us. Luckily I have a fantastic family who my children adore, who are happy to babysit for me when I'm in work / need a break. I can never fathom leaving a baby under 3-4 months, but after that I'm ok (ish) leaving a baba for an hour or two. Charlie ( 3 years now) never really took expressed milk from a bottle, so it was stressful coming back to a hungry, crying baby, but Noah (4 months) has had a bottle twice and drank an ounce or two, to my relief.

I'm so into attachment parenting I get overwhelmed and burned out every few weeks, needing to escape for an afternoon of shopping / writing/ cafe-ing alone. Obviously with a newborn that's not possible, so my few "escapes" have been with a baby in sling, which is fun, but you're still "mama". I'm a solitary person by nature, needing to be nudged to socialise. My idea of bliss is an afternoon alone with a great book. So getting any alone time in the last few years has been a negotiation. My husband is fantastic at giving me breaks, taking one or both children whenever I need a few minutes, or when pregnant I'd have a whole day to myself at a moment's notice, but with two, and one being so young, it's harder to get away.

In the car as we were leaving on our date my mind switched between "Yay, we're free!" and wanting to have a pint in a beer garden, to "I've deserted my baby" and wanting to go back and snuggle his warm little body. I switched between elation and guilt within seconds, to and fro, to and fro, until I told Barry, and asked him did he feel the guilt. He said "Nope, must be a girl thing" and I realised, biology being what it is, that's what keeps the human race going, the mamas feeling that pull. So I let the guilt go and had a fantastic time.

One happy mama

Today was extra special as we'd been having a tough time in the last few weeks. We were both feeling like we hadn't connected in ages, and even though Barry's off work these days, we seem to be in constant childcare mode, and hadn't even had time for a chat until midnight, when we were all in bed, jaded tired. So todays date meant we connected again, our unspoken rule of not talking about the kids / work meant we had a laugh, and I'm always delighted when I'm reminded of how well we get on as friends and lovers, not just parents. So Yay!

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