This past week John and I did something that we have been both praised and reprimanded about – we went away, without Abby. It was the first time in her entire life that we had left her overnight (and the first time that I had been away from her more than a few hours). Leaving her was so much harder than I could ever imagine. But it was honestly the best thing for us, for so many reasons. And we are so lucky that we have an incredible support network that not only encouraged us to take this trip, but also to watch Abby – thank you mom and dad! We owe you!
So here are a few things I’ve learned from my first trip away from my baby
(and if you are anything like me, you may encounter the same when you get to this point):
You are still you, just a new version of you:
The biggest reason in favor of leaving your child for a night that I’ve heard is “remember, you were a wife before you were a mother.” People tell you constantly that it is important to keep the love in your marriage/relationship because you did have a life before you had children. I agree with all of this, except that you will never not be a mother once you are one. John and I spent time together without worrying about Abby needing to be fed or changed, we went to restaurants without thinking about needing a high chair or if we packed enough bottles, and we slept without the noise of the monitor in the background. It was incredible (and weird). However, while we did spend time talking about other topics, most of our conversations were about Abby and our lives as parents. When we saw children, we reflected on the idea that Abby would be that age before we knew it. When we woke up without her there, we missed the way she smiled when you entered her bedroom. And even when we sipped wine at dinner with just the two of us, we laughed at how good we were both getting at eating one handed while feeding her. There is a reason you only need one hand to drink wine.
You will miss her and not miss her at the same time:
I love Abby more than life itself. It is a hard concept to understand if you have never had a child. I didn’t even comprehend the feeling until after she was in my arms, and I can’t explain the feeling easily. I missed not being able to hold her any chance I got. I missed kissing her forehead while she fell asleep in my arms. I missed doing odd dances or voices just to see her smile. And I missed the smell of her hair right after bath time (and before my pup licked her head). However, I didn’t miss undoing and redoing her crib because she peed through her diaper for the third time in a one week. I didn’t miss her incredible hard grip when she worked hard to rip my hair out of my scalp. And I especially didn’t miss her witching hour (typically between 3pm and 6pm) in which nothing calms her. It’s the time where she decides she no longer wants to sleep and will push herself beyond reason to stay awake, thus resulting in an exhausted and frustrated child (as well as mom). And of course this ends minutes before John is home from work – and then she’s an angel. I’m telling you, she’s a jerk, adorable and amazing, but also a jerk.
You will realize how lame you are, and you will be ok with it:
John and I were never cool in any sense before Abby. We were those people who would prefer staying in than going out, we love visiting historical or famous places, and if you spot us at a wedding, we’re the ones without any rhythm on the dance floor (yes, we are the embarrassing people in the background of your wedding video – enjoy!). However, after having Abby, and especially on this trip, it is obvious how much lamer we have gotten since then. We napped in the middle of the day because we could. We spent the day reading at the pool or the beach because it was actually quiet. And we went to bed at 10 pm and slept until 8 am because there were no early feedings. It was incredible! Ok, one night I did stay up until midnight, but that is only because there was a Shark Tank marathon on and it was just way too addicting for me to stop. Oh, by the way, we went to Atlantic City, so it isn’t like there was a lack of events or activities. But, being able to sleep, read, or just relax without constantly worrying how long until she needed something was exhilarating.
You will be nervous and have irrational fears:
I didn’t sleep the entire night before we left because I was convinced that Abby would forget me. Please keep in mind that we were only gone for three nights. And when I would call my mom while away, I’d get upset that Abby had no reaction – Abby’s almost four months old, though I knew kids are advanced these days, I’m pretty sure that is still young for any child to comprehend how a phone works. Randomly during the days I would worry that my mom would run out of formula and so would every store. By the way, I had just gotten my mom an entire new box (which usually lasts two weeks). And, of course, I came back to that beautiful baby girl, and she was completely fine. So then, of course, I worried if she didn’t need me. And the fact that my mother had no problems with her means that I’m convinced Abby no longer needs me. But then she pooped and looked at me. Yep, she needs me.
Vacation may have been incredible, but doesn’t compare to holding your baby again.
Seriously, this kid. She can’t talk, she can’t walk, she can’t feed herself, and while she can hold her head up, it is only for a short while. She is incredible! I get frustrated and overwhelmed, but being away made me realize that despite those times, I can’t imagine her not being in our lives. She’s been around for less than four months and I don’t remember life without her ever feeling this way.