The Guilt Sneaks Up

About a month ago, my husband and I (more my husband) implemented the your day/my day policy for weekends. I get the small one on Saturdays and he gets him on Sundays. The thought was that we both deserve to have one weekend day to ourselves. This allows my husband to get up early, build a fire and spend the next six hours drinking coffee and reading without being disturbed. And it allows me to go back to bed after the 7 AM feeding is over and be the not-morning person that I am, as well as run out to any stores or sit on the computer for an uninterrupted hour touching up and uploading the past week’s batch of baby pictures.  And it works pretty well.

Before I was back at work, we would use my day off as practice for my husband being home – I’d pump and he would bottle feed the small one.  Now that I’m back at work, I insist on breastfeeding the little guy every chance I can, and even though I get a day off, I felt bad going back to bed on Sunday morning, and the day definitely evolved into family day with the small one but mom doesn’t do diapers vs. my day off.  But I like it better like that.

The guilt isn’t limited to my having my day off on the weekends.  When I was on leave, I didn’t feel bad letting the small one play in his crib and stare at his mobile for as long as he could without fussing if I needed to do something (like eat). Now that I’m back to work, I feel obligated to hold him, play with him or interact with him in some way every moment he’s awake, both when I get home from work (easy enough, as it’s only 2 hours before bedtime) and on Saturdays. And while it’s awesome and I cherish my now limited time with the small one, I realize that entertaining a three month old is much more exhausting than being back at work.  Needless to say, the small one and I napped together this weekend, just to catch up. 

And speaking of guilt, breastfeeding is huge source for me.  Because we’re trying to do breast milk exclusively, I am constantly worried about my milk supply.  Which is a bit ridicules, as I have an entire freezer full at this point and I always manage to pump enough in a day at work to have a bottle more than my husband needs to keep the small one contented the following day.  And yet.  I haven’t gone back to yoga or the gym for fear that any weight loss may reduce my supply.  Granted, so far I’ve one of those obnoxiously lucky people who drop all but five pounds of their pregnancy weight within 1 month of giving birth, so it’s not that big a deal.  But the state of my stomach is grotesque, and while I fit into most of my old clothing, I wouldn’t call it comfortable by any means (let alone fashionable).  And to add more complexity to the matter, even if I didn’t have the milk excuse, any time I’d spend working out is time I’d be taking away from the small one, and it is just not worth missing him any more just to be able to confidently wear a bathing suit this summer. 

But man oh man do I miss yoga.  This is where living in a place like NYC would be nice – they have 24 hour gyms and bikram yoga classes that start at 8 PM.


4 Responses to “The Guilt Sneaks Up”

  1. Tracey Says:

    Wow – all of this is SO familiar. The going back to work, how to spend the evening and weekend hours with the wee one. The milk supply worries. I wore myself out very quickly. Between the playing and the pumping and the nursing at lunch-time. And the fretting.

    Take it easy on yourself. Also, you need to get your rest and exercise and good food so you can be there to take care of him – and he will love you for it. And it gets MUCH easier with every day.

  2. Malena Says:

    It sounds to me that you want to be the best mom you can possibly be to your baby. If so, you cannot accomplish that unless you take care of your own personal needs along the way. Otherwise frustration and resentment will build up and find a way out one way or the other.

    First off, if you feel that you are doing your best, drop the guilt. It sounds like you feel that ideally you would still be home with him, but if that is not realistic, why torture yourself about it? Many women would be supplementing with formula by now rather than putting themselves through the torture of that pump. And it sounds like Dad is doing a good job taking care of him and you and the baby get some good quality time together. Second, you need to take the time to fulfill your personal needs. It is a delicate balancing act, but a necessary one. I can’t imagine that taking a gentle weekly yoga class would adversely affect your milk supply, but perhaps there is someone else out there who can make a more informed comment about this.

    Give yourself a pat on the back – you are doing great!

  3. MamaMarathon Says:

    A little bit of exercise will NOT hurt your supply. Just stay hydrated. If it makes you feel better, it can only help your supply. Nothing will make you stop producing for the pump quicker than stress and anxiety. I feel so much more human after I’ve had a little exercise – I only half-jokingly say that exercise is my prozac.

    Guilt is omnipresent in mothering. You can’t get rid of it, you just have to embrace it as part of your new identity.

  4. mamabear Says:

    So good to hear about the excercise thing – and thanks for all the words of encouragement! So far the guilt isn’t overwhelming, but it’s definitely there in the background, and I imagine it will remain there.

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