breastmilk and a side of guilt

Well, I am now the proud owner of a 12 1/2 week old baby girl. She is great; just as my pregnancy was easy, she is easy. Big blue eyes that watch everything I do, huge cheeks that make her gummy smile seem that much happier- she’s pretty much perfect.

I have been back at work for about 3 weeks now. Childcare seems to be going well, and I’ve been able to pump with no problems (other than feeling like a cow, of course).

So what do I have to complain about? New mom guilt! By the bucket! On days when I work (every day except Saturday), there is a pretty good chance that Little One is in someone else’s care for about 10 hours (that’s an 8 hour work day plus a commute, for those of you who are confused). I leave early every chance I get, and I’m usually at least 10 minutes late, but that’s an average. 10 hours. Which means by the time we get home, I have about 3 hours of baby time. That 3 hours happens to also be dinner time for Other Half and me, and bath time for LO. AND (here’s where the guilt comes in) if I want to run or work out (and I really, really want to!), that also has to happen during my 3 hours of possible baby time. I’m not torn up about LO being in childcare- I see a lot of perks there, and I like the people who she’s with. I don’t make a big production about cooking dinner- last night OH microwaved potatoes. Not a huge time sucker. But I need to work out. I need to run, partly because that is also my social outlet. I need to do yoga, because my back hurts and I’m not as strong as I used to be. That need makes me feel like I am being selfish.

In a way, I guess it is selfish. I want to be strong and healthy for the selfish reason that I want that for myself. I also want to set that example for my daughter. And honestly, I want her to know (obviously not know, but when she’s older) that the world doesn’t revolve around her. Not even my world. As much as I love being with her, I also love being away from her sometimes. In a few months, the weather will be nicer and she’ll be old enough for a jogging stroller, so this may not be a long-term problem. But for now, I’m going crazy. If I run after work (my favorite time to run), I am shamed by OH. I don’t think he means to do it; he literally doesn’t understand. Even at work, away from LO, I am pumping every 3 hours. I am still caring for her, even when I’m not physically with her.

I need to care for myself. That does not mean that I care less for her (or for him!). I need to care for myself in order to continue caring for them, and for my clients, and for everyone else in my life. But I have to defend that need, and sometimes it’s too much.


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