Friday, August 9, 2013

I kept it alive for a whole year!

About a month ago, I hit a milestone that is both mundane and extraordinary. Little baby Hankadirk is a baby no more, having reached the magical one year mark when he suddenly becomes somehow less likely to spontaneously combust (or so the internet will tell you...). Yes, despite all of his best efforts, I kept my little darling alive to the start toddler-hood.

We had a sweet little party (in 100 degree weather) that I dutifully decorated with 100,000 hand-stamped hot air balloons like Pinterest told me to (who am I kidding, I don't know how to use Pinterest), I shed a little "my baby is growing up" tear, and he smashed some dutifully homemade cake onto his face and clothes. Truth be told, it was pretty great.

It's all fun and games's just all fun and games.
Now, something about this all got me reminiscing, and lo and behold I remembered my neglected blog. A year in, I am finally starting to realize that I seem to be pretty good at this. My kid is awesome and my family thriving, so something is obviously going right. While I am sure that somemost of that is good old fashioned dumb luck, here is what I have learned in the last year or so. Take in with a grain of salt - as the saying goes, if you have seen one baby, you have baby.

If that one baby is this baby, then you have seen one of the
five most awesome babies ever. It's science.

Being a working mom is just that. You are working. You are a mom. Anybody who tells you otherwise can, in the words of a wise woman I have had the good fortune of getting some clever advice from, just f**k right off. 

In the last year, I have done some fantastically interesting (to me) research, advanced in my career, earned money and forged interesting personal and professional connections. I have also spent more time sitting behind a desk or in airports than I would prefer, and less time playing with my baby. Aforementioned baby has enjoyed the care of his father, his grandmother, and more recently a really fantastic nanny and her one year old son (i.e., his best buddy); he has not suffered because of this. 

There are side eyes, snide/hurtful comments, and even accusations that you are not raising your child. You are, just not the way they think you should (see aforementioned recommendation vis a vis telling them to fuck right off). You may miss firsts.  I was very lucky, and did not.  Those first steps happened in my living room on a Sunday afternoon towards my outstretched arms. That first word was mama (then dada, kitty, duckaduckaduck...which I am still trying to figure out...and wombat). It will hurt to know that you don't really get to be part of the Mommy and Me Mafia that has declared that "evenings and weekends are family time, so events are only held during the day, when moms need support" (yes, that is from the MOMS International manifesto). At the end, none of this matters.

When you are together, you can really be together - enjoying each other with the enthusiasm that absence engenders. As much as I would rather never leave, I know that I will come home, and then we will play. He will have my full attention, and if I need to work late, it will just have to be very late since the interval between close of business and bedtime belongs to him. And you are not a bad person because you have to go to a conference.  

Even working moms have weekends

Anybody who tells you that you won't be able to keep breastfeeding is just being a wet blanket. There are lots of very good reasons why people stop breastfeeding (e.g., personal preference, medical issues, child reaches age 30) but people butting in and telling you that you are not going to be able to because of your professional choices really don't know what they are talking about. And La Leche League should stop trying to scare pregnant women into thinking that it's going to be an excruciating and traumatic experience. It's not that way for everyone, and frankly I don't think that the bullying approach is helpful for people that actually need assistance. My understanding is that some chapters are really quite great, but if your isn't, consider either stepping in to change it or leaving.

Speaking of breastfeeding....guess it's time to cut this short. Peace out.