“I feel sorry for you,” someone said to me recently, while at a gathering. I knew the sympathy was targeted at my current situation, because my daughter happens to be a very attached baby. She prefers me to anyone else.
I must admit that yes, I feel sorry for myself sometimes. My daughter is five months old, teething, clingy, and often cries when anyone else holds her, even her dad. (Ton and I joke that she only likes him in the first two hours of the morning, which is their usual “daddy time” together, when she is in her best mood.)
It’s hard. It’s exhausting to be needed, to be the source of my daughter’s joy, to be the walking milk machine. And, because I have work to deal with, my schedule has just been in an uproar since Krista began to take shorter naps during the day (and — let’s face it — longer stretches of mommy time).
But, I can hardly say I feel sorry for myself every single moment. I think about my decision to stop at two kids, and about how I don’t think another one will follow Krista. And then, suddenly, her neediness matters less.
It’s not always this way. I still crave extended times alone. I still wish I could go to the salon without a baby wrapped around me. I miss the times I could say “yes” to go to a meeting, or coffee or a lunch date, dressed nicely and with enough time to fix my hair properly and have my eyebrows shaped. (Don’t get me wrong; I look decent, I just always have the baby with me, whether to get my hair and nails done, or have myself made-up.)
I told my friend Frances about this, and she made me feel better. “My second kid was like that too, and I felt horrible… but he actually turned out to be the most outgoing because I brought him everywhere with me.”
In an instant, I saw my situation more blissfully. Thank you, Frances.
I’m validated that I feel horrible too at times. But I’m also hopeful that all this attachment is going to be good for Krista somehow!
OK, so there is some good that comes out of bringing my baby everywhere. As a baby, she likes being out and about, being entertained by other people as long as I’m wearing her close to me. Who knows? In the future, she may be a great people-person, good at meetings and sealing deals like her mama!
My other friend, Em, mused a similar thought on Instagram the other day, about bringing her kids to work for the same reasons. Her younger child is similar to Krista, prefering his mom to anyone else. And again, the affirmation to be an attachment parenting – working mom was there, like a sign for me that nothing was wrong, nothing was “not ideal.” So I have a clingy baby — no problem! Therefore I shouldn’t think it’s a problem for the people I work with, whether I’m Skyping from my workspace at home, or meeting in a resto in the city.
I’d venture to say that if moms want to work with their babies in tow, it’s not all for the sake of the babies: It’s for the sake of the moms, too. I know it’s that way for me: I’m a maidless mom, by circumstance and also because we’ve decided to keep things this way while we can. If I’m going to be working and raising my kids, I have to suck it up and live up to what I’ve decided to do.
Note: In fact, I asked Oster Philippines during my event with them recently, if I could wear Krista during my cooking demo. I weaved in the idea that using their appliances was so easy, a babywearing mom like me could cook a complete meal, hassle-free. Me being me, there is always a silver lining to a situation. Sorry, I can’t help it!
As of this writing, I’ve just come from a meeting and sealed a deal for another blog coaching project and blog-build. My baby was there, nursing then napping in the shelter of my nursing cover, while I proposed a killer idea to my client. She is a mother, too, this new client, and someone I look up to and respect madly. “They’re only so small for so short a time,” she said, but at that moment it seemed ever so much wiser a piece of advice could ever be.
It’s taken me three attempts to hit “publish” on this blog post, because I’ve been interrupted by nursing calls, tummy times, cuddles and requests to be carried. I’ve also had to tend to a preschooler son’s needs — I haven’t forgotten him at all. “It won’t always be this way,” my colleague PM’d me this morning on Facebook, and I read it as coming from her with a wise smile, because I knew she was in my shoes a few years back.
I have nothing to feel sorry for. Sure, I may be tired most days. Sure, it can get stifling to be needed and wanted and adored by my baby. Sure, it’s not easy being a working mom, and by choice, without an extra helper at home. But I am happy, and nothing has stolen my joy.
Ok, I’m going back for cuddles, and hopefully I’ll be able to put the baby down for a nap long enough to get dinner on the table!
For discussion: How do you deal with managing babies, your business and blogging, mamas?
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