Last week was entirely too long without my little munchkin. Liana spent the week with her Grammy in New Hampshire, while I was left only with pictures and her toys at home. I was well aware that I’d miss my peanut every second she was away, but I was not quite prepared for this. Without a babbling baby alarm clock, a dirty butt to wipe, a hungry mouth to aim an airplane spoon into, and a ‘tiny foot’ to tickle, I wasn’t quite sure how to spend my newly found “freedom.” Naturally, I pined over photos and anything that reminded me of her. I found myself giggling in otherwise silence remembering something that she had done the week prior. Oh, how I missed that little one!
Mommy GuiltI thought about how much I missed her every single day. Ashton and I got some much needed time together and went out several nights after work since we literally never get the chance. There were a few evenings we arrived home after work and I immediately changed into comfy clothes and plopped on the bed to relax and I thought how nice it was to do just that: relax. On a normal day, we come home and entertain Liana for a half hour before making and feeding her dinner while we eat dinner and then getting her ready for bed. It was refreshing to be able to sink into the bed of our air conditioned room and not have to move a muscle. Except to grab a blanket within five minutes because I actually despise air conditioning for the most part.
But then... the guilt set in. I'm a mother. I am supposed to want to take care of my child. The moment my baby came into this world, I was no longer supposed to be selfish. A good mother will put the needs of her child before her own. But there I was, glad to be freed of that responsibility. How could I be so selfish? I'm still struggling with the fine line of taking care of myself and taking care of Liana. A lot of the time I want to completely immerse myself into her world. I want to play with her all day, teach her new things, make memories with her, and document those memories so she can look back on them in the future. Where does that leave me? Who am I if not in her world? I have had to learn that I am not only 'Liana's mum'. There is much more to me that being a mother (although that is the biggest and most important part!). To keep my sanity, I have to be able to relax once in a while--as hard as it is to do so. And I have to do things that are just for me once in a while, too (...like shopping!). Fighting my way through the guilt, I've come to the conclusion that it is okay to be relieved that mommy responsibilities are put on hold when I trust that Liana is under good care by someone else, whether it be her Grammy or her daycare or a babysitter for a few hours. I'm trying to let go of the guilt because I need the enjoyment of being without my sidekick every now and then. I keep telling myself that it is good for the both of us to be a part.
Upon being reunited with my little lion cub at the end of the week, I immediately had gotten the sense that she was somehow smarter. She grew in just the eight days that we were a part. I've started putting more trust in her and letting her show me that she understands what is going on. This morning just as a test, when she picked up a clothing tag from my bedroom floor I asked, "Liana, can you put that in the trash?" To my surprise she walked out of the room and stood in front of the bathroom door and looked back at me. I got up and opened the door and watched as she waddled in and very daintily placed the tag in the bottom of the trashcan. Later, I heard her smacking her lips as I was almost to the bottom of my cup of chocolate milk. As we made eye contact, she reached out for the cup. This is pushing it a little too far, I thought. But I decided to give it a shot anyway and handed her the cup. With only a tiny dribble down her chin, she knocked back the rest of the chocolate milk like she had been drinking out of a normal cup for months! Well done, Liana!
**The photos were taken at the Freetown State Forest wading pool.