Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why I don't need a break from my baby

I read a lot online about how parenting can be difficult. I see it on the parent/breastfeeding groups I'm involved in, I read it through mum blogs, through Instagram, hear it through my friends. I see some other parents having 'baby free' days and nights. It's true, it can be difficult and some people long for some baby free time to feel like themselves again, before they became 'Mum'. However, I just wanted to share my own experience of parenting from the last 12 months and how this sometimes isn't the case for everyone, as it is not the case for me.
Oliver is about to turn 1 at the end of the month. I returned to work part-time and he spends 3 days at nursery and on those 3 days, I count down the minutes to 4:30pm when I can leave and collect my favourite person! I feel so much guilt for leaving him, that the days we're home together I just want to make the most of the quality time we have. As baby's go, I got an easy one. He's always been laid back. He doesn't cry often and is generally an absolute pleasure to be around. He isn't needy and will happily play to himself while I get on with things around the house. So far I haven't had a night away from him and that's perfectly ok. It also wouldn't be possible due to the fact I'm still breastfeeding and he still feeds during the night. Some people may suggest I stop breastfeeding him now, so I can get some freedom back - something I am uninterested in. I also currently feed Oliver to sleep, so I need to be present at bedtime as that's just his routine and what he needs to settle. Does this restrict me? Yes of course it does! I can't go out for a meal in the evening, or a drink with friends, I have missed hen do's, day trips, special occasions and some may say that I've 'created a rod for my own back' but you know what? I have absolutely ZERO interest in what anyone thinks! 

Having a baby does and should change your life. If my life continued exactly as it did before then I wouldn't be giving my baby the attention he needs and deserves. Granted gaining bits of normality or pre-baby existence resumes earlier for some. They may make parenting choices that allows for this such as if a baby is formula fed then as a mother, of course you have more freedom. Breastfeeding exclusively is very restricting, and you are tied to your baby. I knew this when I made my choice and I am happy for it to be this way. That is all that matters surely? It works for me, it works for him and thankfully I have a wonderful and supportive other half who is all for this. The older Oliver is getting I can almost feel the pressure from people building around me, the expectation for me to have more time away from him. To resume aspects of my pre-baby life and judging me for not yet doing so. 

To that I simply say this... We're not ready yet. And that's fine. This period of time will not be forever. I won't have a baby forever. He grows that little bit more independent each day. Soon he won't need me there at bedtime. One day I will gain all my freedom back. I have the rest of my life for meals out and drinks with friends. I do not have this time forever. So I will continue to turn down your invitations if it does not fit within our routine. If you're asking me to spend time away from my baby on my day's off don't be surprised if I don't want to. My little boy is incredible and I am enjoying my first time at motherhood for all that it is. He is my absolute priority in life and that is how it should be. 

If that bothers you, well... tough luck!

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