6 Jan

At the same time that I’m experiencing my glorious (although temporary) freedom from the billable hour, I’m also experiencing the inevitable loss of certain freedoms that are part and parcel of parenthood.  Of course, everyone knows that becoming a parent is totally life-changing.  But there are also some changes in my own attitudes and feelings that seem completely obvious now, but that I didn’t think about before becoming a mama — like that I usually don’t want to do things without the baby even when I can.

Being on the older side (I’m turning 33 and Hubs turned the big 4-0 in November), it’s not like we were going out clubbing or barhopping before Lucy was born.  I got that out of my system long ago, thank God.  A lot of our friends have kids already, so our lives had already transitioned to include weekends spent attending 2-year-old birthday parties and quiet evenings at peoples’ houses.  But the one thing  we did still do a lot before the bambina arrived was go out to dinner.  In fact, when we first met with our financial advisor a year ago I was a bit startled to learn that dining was by far our largest non-fixed expense, and she even commented that going out to eat was our entertainment.  (Oy!  Cringe!  I’ve always been embarrassed that I don’t have any real hobbies…but that’s a topic for another post.)

Toward the end of my pregnancy everyone told us to get our date nights in while we still could.  I mostly just laughed and /or rolled my eyes.  When I was 9+ months pregnant, going out anywhere that I couldn’t just wear stretchy pants seemed like such a chore, and eating became less and less fun (goodbye wine and cheese, hello crazy heartburn!)  It was kind of like everyone telling me to get my sleep in while I could — easier said than done when the only way I could sleep was half-sitting up on the couch in a ridiculous nest of pillows.  (I have to remind myself of those pre-baby sleepless nights on my more sleepless nights with Lucy these days so I don’t get too nostalgic.  There really is such thing as hormone-induced amnesia about all unpleasant things related to pregnancy, labor and delivery…another future post topic!)  Plus, I figured, we would be able to start having regular date nights again after we were more settled in with Lucy.  My parents live practically spitting distance, and I figured they would be willing babysitters.

Now, I was actually 100% right about that — my parents are more than eager to watch Lucy anytime, to the point that their Christmas gifts to us included several restaurant gift cards and babysitting coupons!  And we have taken them up on it a couple of times — to go to Hubs’ office holiday party and to go to a small NYE party at a friend’s house.  But what I wasn’t expecting is that even though I know it’s important that we start doing date nights again at some point, and even though we could probably do so every week if we wanted to, right now I just don’t want to.  I really don’t like being away from Lucy — not because she’s not in great hands, because I truly have no worries with my parents, but because it just feels unnatural on some fundamental (biological?) level.  Not to be overly dramatic about it, but after 9 (really 10) months of carrying her inside me, being away from her for more than an hour or two to run errands feels a little bit like having a missing limb.  (I don’t think Hubs feels quite the same way, but I suspect that’s a typical difference between moms and dads.)  Also, I love our newly-grown little family unit — it isn’t just the two of us anymore, and it’s hard to go out and pretend that it is.  Even the whole process of getting dolled up and ready to go out didn’t feel fun anymore (but maybe that’s because I still can’t wear most of my pre-pregnancy clothes and those that I can require circulation-cutting Spanx!).

This isn’t to say that I don’t miss going out.  I almost can’t recall the last meal I was able to eat in a leisurely way instead of scarfing it down.  And this may sound weird but even more than eating dinner out, I miss brunch.  We can cook or order in some pretty great dinners, but I am sorely lacking in the decadent-breakfast category.  I can manage some scrambled or fried eggs, oatmeal or cold cereal — that’s about it.  I have always adored breakfast foods and I do admit I could really go for a fancy egg scramble, pancakes and waffles right about now.  When Lucy’s a bit older and has had her shots, I suppose we will start going out with her — but for now, I’m sticking to my good ol’ Honey Bunches of Oats.  I also do crave adult interaction on those days that Hubs is at work and I don’t have visitors, but still, my slight cabin-feverishness is tempered by my wish to be with Lucy.

One of the reasons I’ve been thinking so much about all of this is that my birthday is Friday and Hubs asked me what I want to do, and I’m torn.  If I wanted to go out to dinner, my parents have already volunteered to babysit.  But again, the largest part of me just wants to spend my birthday with my whole family — and that now includes Lucy.  So we’ll see.

Recently I’ve been corresponding via Facebook with one of my high school friends who I haven’t seen in years.  She posted that she was going on a last-minute, one-month solo trip to Southeast Asia over Christmas and New Year’s, so I asked her about the reason for the sudden trip.   I know she has a 2-year old son, so I was surprised that she would be away for the holidays.  It turns out that her experience basically mirrors Eat, Pray. Love (minus the advance book deal).  She got separated, got into another relationship, ended that relationship and then decided she needed a trip to clear her head.  I’ve since been reading her trip blog and looking at her photos and it seems like an absolutely amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.  But I keep wondering to myself how it’s been for her to be away from her son for so long — especially at Christmastime during what is probably the first Christmas he will understand and enjoy.  I can’t ask her this question, because I think even the question itself implies being a Judgy McJudgerson (“how could you do that??”) but that’s not even how I mean it.  (If anyone can think of a non-judgy way to ask that question I’d love to hear it!)  I know that she adores her son and is a good mom.  I’m just so curious about what it must feel like to be away from one’s child for a month, when I don’t even like being away from mine for an evening!  I’m sure my feelings on this will change somewhat as Lucy gets older and Hubs and I will resume our regular weekly date nights, but I’m also fairly certain that I will never choose to be away from her for that long.

Before I had Lucy, I was starting to feel like mamahood was this not-so-secret society of which I wasn’t yet a member — and now I understand why.  Before this tiny little person came into my life, there was truly no way to know how she would change me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why would I want to leave this face?

Why would I want to leave this face?


3 Responses to “Freedom”


  1. The Big 33 « Loving Lucy - January 12, 2013

    […] debating what to do for my birthday evening, I ended up deciding on a halfway position — staying in with Hubs and Lucy, but also having a […]

  2. Out and About « Loving Lucy - January 13, 2013

    […] and turkey bacon, which was surprisingly good and bacon-y).  This totally hit the spot — as I mentioned previously I lurrrve breakfast foods and adore going out to brunch but I haven’t done so since […]

  3. Date Night « Loving Lucy - January 26, 2013

    […] say the same about the romance department.  (Conversations about dirty diapers?  Hot!)  As I wrote earlier, for a long time I was hesitant to be without Lucy very often, even when she’s in the capable […]

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