Motherly Confessions: I Like to Be Away from My Kids

Harsh truth time: I’m a mom who likes being away from her kids.

I came to this realization when I was a little past the halfway point of my maternity leave after I had my second son Noah. I was one of the lucky few people in the U.S. whose employer offered a generous maternity leave (i.e. paid and longer than a few weeks): in all, I had roughly six months total of paid time off both to recover from childbirth and to bond with my newborn baby. And throughout that time, I had an opportunity to reflect on my motherhood style.

I undoubtedly cherished every minute of my leave (and, for the record, I would never exchange that time off for anything in the world, and I fundamentally believe that: one, this country needs to mandate paid parental leave for all types of parents, and two, we need to destigmatize parenthood, particularly pregnancy and motherhood, in the workplace… but I digress, as that is a topic of conversation for another, much meatier blog post). However, I realized during that time that I’m a better mom, a better wife, a better head of household, and, in truth, an all around better person when I spend some time away from my kids.

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Coming to Terms with My Postpartum Body: My 2018 Fitness Goals

2017 was an intense year, both for the world and for me. All craziness aside, though, the year also brought me one of the greatest blessings of my life: Micah.

Bringing my child into the world meant enduring countless emotional, mental, and physical changes. Emotionally, the first few months of Micah’s life were a rollercoaster. Mentally, assuming a new identity as “mother” led to some pretty profound shifts in my priorities: with a child, my intent this year and in all future years is to live my life in a way that makes not only me happy, safe, and fulfilled, but also my little family (especially my son).

Physically, 2017 proved to be an interesting journey.

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On the Anxiety of Watching My Kid Alone for the First Time

The first time I had to watch my son Micah by myself, he was four weeks old. And I was terrified.

My husband Reggie had a tattoo appointment in San Francisco’s Mission District. The appointment had been on our calendars for nearly a year, and we had agreed that I’d make the necessary arrangements so I’d have some childcare help while Reggie was gone. This was a plan we had agreed upon months ago.

But, of course, in the midst of all the newborn chaos, I forgot to ask for some help.

I realized the unfortunate oversight the night before Reggie’s appointment, and I started to have a panic attack at around 11 p.m. Sensing my anxiety, Reggie offered to cancel his appointment — but I felt bad for making him walk away from something that he was planning for so long. The morning of his appointment, he even offered to call my mom or my sister on my behalf to see if they could come to our apartment last-minute — but I felt guilty for asking them to venture so far into the East Bay to keep me company.

You may ask: why was I so reluctant to accept some help when I so obviously needed it? Well, for starters, I hated the thought of inconveniencing someone so last-minute. And I didn’t want Reggie to give up something that he obviously wanted.

And, to be honest, I despised the fact that I was panicking so much about watching my own child.

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On the Anxiety of Venturing Out into the World with a Newborn

My son Micah is officially two months old today, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve left the house with him (not including doctor’s appointments and visits with lactation consultants).

I can blame my reluctance to venture into the outside world with him on a few tangible things:

  1. His current lack of immunization. I tell myself that I’m keeping him safe from any airborne pathogens or potential sickness by keeping him indoors.
  2. The fact that it is now flu season. See above.
  3. Pure exhaustion. Getting Micah and all his belongings ready for some time away from home is a huge production, and — more often than not — I simply lack the energy to do so.

But, when it comes down to it, all those excuses (while slightly valid) are still excuses. Sure, there’s a risk in taking Micah out when he hasn’t had his first round of vaccines, but there are still places we can go and precautions we can take that limit his exposure to potential sickness. And, yes, I’m tired — but, as I tell everyone who asks how I’m doing: How can I not be tired when I’m taking care of a newborn? There’s really no reason why I shouldn’t be able to leave the apartment with him.

So, if I’m being 100% honest with myself, I’m not really scared about leaving because Micah might get sick; I’m just scared about being responsible for a young human life on my own, out in public.

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