Get Out

Last night I went out. By myself. Without Scott. Or, most importantly, Abigail.


First? I got “dressed up,” which meant my favorite knee-high black stiletto boots and a dress. I am still in-between fashions right now, but everything I wore was pre-pregnancy clothes, so that felt ridiculously awesome. And, because the heavens have parted, Abigail has taken to spending a portion of her naps NOT ON ME WOO HOO, I was able to put on makeup and blow out my hair, two things I haven’t done since the middle of February.

Incidentally, my hair dryer is busted and of course I wouldn’t have known that, having not needed one in weeks. Still, my hair had air-dried enough to use this blow-dryer/curl brush thing I have and do the job I needed.

Second, I got to see all of my work friends. I love the people I work with, and I miss them a great deal. I value working at a place where when I walk in, I can physically feel just how happy people are that I am there with them. Maybe everyone doesn’t feel that way about me, of course, but for the most part it’s true. So when I walked into BIN 36, I was immediately inundated with hugs and cheers and I almost cried it was all so lovely and kind.

Third, I got to talk about work. One of my coworkers, Zach, chided me all night long about talking shop. In fact, my friend Jim warned me as I walked in to not talk about work. Oh, but no. I couldn’t not talk about work. I missed work – miss – so much.

I am not good at being a mom. I actually think I’m probably better than I think I am, but there is no way at five weeks that I can feel as confident about mom-ing as I can about working. And I know, I know. You never feel you’re good at being a parent – I can hear most of you saying this to yourselves as you read that sentence, so relax. I never feel I’m an unfinished product professionally, either, but here is the thing:

I’ve been working long enough that I can effectively solve problems. I can be of help, tangible help, in a fashion that, after all of these years, leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment and self-satisfaction and fills with me with pride. Work sustains me and I have a track record of success in which I can bask when something I’ve done has sent a day straight into the crapper.

As of this moment? Being a mom? I’ve got about three solid days I can look at and say, “Yeah. This is temporary,” when things have gone to hell in a handbasket.

It’s not that I don’t think it’ll continue to improve, or that I won’t have more good days, but I’m still in that space where I am craving going back to work. Part of me wishes I could go back on Monday, truth be told.

(Do I get to admit that? I just did.)

I adore my daughter. With each passing day, I grow more and more attached and enamored with Abigail. Part of that is that, yeah, I’ve gotten some practice under my belt, and another is that as she gets older, it’s a little easier to parent her in the fashion in which she needs right now. Today I was with my girlfriend Katie, who two weeks ago had Nora , and in the three weeks I have on her I was able to actually give her some advice and realize how far I’ve come from where I was three weeks ago.

(Katie is way, way better now than I was then, let me tell you.)

But I miss the sense of …accomplishment, intensity, excitement that concluded my day when I was working. To be sure, I am excited about so much of my day with Abigail, but it’s not the same just yet. Maybe it never will be, maybe it’ll just be a different level of excitement and accomplishment. I just think it’s OK to say I am probably not cut out to do this full time.

Yesterday morning, I snapped at my husband in the most passive-aggressive way possible. What’s worse, is that if you were on the receiving end, as he was, you’d have had the same reaction:

“What does that even mean?”

You know those angry conversations you have with people in your head, saying the things you swear you probably wouldn’t say out loud? I have been saying those things out loud to Scott, and because they are the rantings of a woman not communicating and therefore not providing context, it all comes out as nonsensical jibber-jabber.

The truth is, I have been so angry and sad. So resentful. Each day, as Scott gets ready and heads out the door, I think of all of the things he is able to do to unencumbered.

Does he know what it’s like to have to use the bathroom with a baby strapped to him? No, no he doesn’t. Does he know what it’s like to have type everything on a Blackberry, or on one hand during the one damn time in 10 hours that the baby has decided to fall asleep opposite of where the laptop is situated, making it the only time of the entire day he can read anything online at all? No, no he doesn’t. Does he know what it’s like to go several hours and not eat? No, no he doesn’t.

And, of course, it’s not his fault.

Finally I told him that I was angry and sad, and that while I knew I wasn’t suffering from postpartum, I knew without a doubt that something has to give. It was good that my sister was coming over to babysit last night, that I was getting out of the house to do something that was just about me, something I enjoyed.

Five weeks was probably too long to go without it. To quote Dooce, “Be ye not so stupid,” new moms. Even if you think it’s too early, it’s never too early to grab your iPod and walk around your neighborhood for 15 minutes. Because before you know it, it’ll be five weeks gone and you’ve done nothing but devote yourself to poop. It’s fine and all, in this context, but it’s murder on the ego.

Just yesterday I noticed that Abigail has a way she sleeps now. She actually curls herself up in my arms in the same position almost every day in order to sleep. It’s a preference she has, what she likes, even if she isn’t aware of it.

And later in the day, as I changed her diaper, I noticed her pay attention to the little monkey doll/blanket we have placed on the changing table, near her head. For 10 minutes – a lifetime in baby world – she lie there chatting it up with the monkey, having a grand old time. We now call him “Mr. Monkey Magoo.” It’s clear, at least it has been in the past 24 hours, that she has a preference for Mr. Monkey Magoo. She can’t stop looking at him and talking to him.

All of these tiny moments where she’s revealing herself to us, who she is, no matter how insignificant they seem, are wonderful. These little peeks into her brain, her personality, are nothing short of a miracle.

I can assure you, as much as I can of anything, that I might not have had the patience to see all of this, to take it in and be so thankful for it in the measure in which I do now, had I not had a couple of Malbecs with some adults the night before.

We all do what we can, what we need, to be good parents. I’m trying like hell to do my part for Abigail, even if it means taking my leave of her every now and again.