One of the hardest things since having a baby is finding time for Ken and I to hang out as a couple and finding time for ME. For the past few weeks, Julia has consistently been sleeping a 5-6 hour stretch of sleep right when we put her to bed, so that gives me and Ken some time to spend together as a couple in the evenings–we’ve used that time to make dinner, watch movies or TV together, read, or just hang out. Occasionally Ken will use that time to go out with his friends while I stay home, and last week I started to get jealous of that time he has to do what he wants. As it is, I don’t really have any time completely to myself–time when I’m able to do whatever I want and don’t have any other obligations. Last night I finally had some of that time and it was glorious! It’s not that I don’t love spending time with Julia, because I do… I love every second I’m with her and I value the time that we have together. It’s that sometimes, as a mother, you need to feel like you’re not responsible for anything or anyone else and just let go a little.
Last night, after I nursed Julia to sleep and put her down in her crib, I left to watch parades with some girlfriends. Ken was working his overnight shift at the hospital, and my mom stayed home to watch the baby in case she woke up (I promised I would be within 8 minutes of home so that if the baby did wake up, I could come home and nurse her), and I was able to just go and do my own thing without needing to worry about anyone else for a few hours! It was lovely and I definitely need more time like that.
Part of the reason I don’t have much time like that is because I have put pressure on myself to Exclusively Breastfeed Julia. I’m not one of those lucky (are they really lucky?) women who has an oversupply of breast milk, so I’m not able to pump enough milk both to send with her to daycare and to freeze for a “freezer stash” that we can use in the event that we want to get a babysitter to come watch her. If we were giving her formula, or if I were willing to supplement her occasionally, I would be able to have more “me time” because I wouldn’t be so physically tied to her, but because I’m not in a place (at least for now) where I want to give her any supplements, I’m okay with having a small amount of “me time” but I do think I need to work on making sure moments like that happen at least once a week. They don’t need to be long moments, but we need to make sure I have at least some time that’s just for me to do what I want to do, whether it’s go to the gym for a workout after work, walk to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, or go shopping with a girlfriend.
While my mom is here this week, she is encouraging Ken to try to do more by himself with the baby–to feed her, put her to sleep, etc. so that he can see that he’s able to do that by himself and build a little bit of confidence. Up until now, he’s been nervous about spending time alone with her out of fear that she’ll get fussy and want to nurse, but if the daycare is able to keep her happy for 8 hours a day without nursing her, there’s no reason Ken can’t keep her happy for a few hours without nursing her. Sure, he’ll have to be patient and try all the tricks he has in his toolbox for keeping her happy, but there’s no reason he can’t take her for a few hours at a time every now and then, thus giving me some “Me time.” He can start to pick her up from daycare when he gets out early from work, or keep her on his days off. Every now and then I’ll be able to freeze a bottle’s worth of milk and add it to our “freezer stash.” The hope is that the freezer stash will grow enough to allow me a little more “Me time.”
Every mommy needs it and it’s nothing to feel guilty about!