Ironically, I spent most of Mother’s Day without my baby. I had traveled alone to Philadelphia for a dear friend’s 30th birthday party, and left Theo with his dad for the weekend. I spent Saturday night partying with old friends in my beloved Philly, Sunday morning having breakfast at my mom’s house in the suburbs with her and my sister and my sweet 4-month-old niece Avi, then flew to Burlington and spent Sunday afternoon walking around downtown, drinking rosé on Church Street, and playing in the sunny backyard with Chris, Theo and the dogs. It was a perfect first Mother’s Day weekend—not because I felt like I finally understood my purpose in life by becoming a mother—but because I just simply felt like myself.
I’ve learned, through a trying first year of motherhood, that the only way I can embrace this new chapter of my life is to nurture former parts of myself, keep them alive and well, and refuse to abandon them in service to being a parent. Mother’s Day weekend I had the opportunity to be away from Theo for a few days, which was really healthy for me, and actually made me feel more like a mother than I had in a while. I showed my friends at the party pictures of my son, intuitively calmed and nurtured my sister’s baby, and shared parenting insight with a dear friend in Philly who is expecting in the fall. I got to stay out late drinking and got two full nights of sleep (but not before watching videos of Theo on my phone in bed late at night!)
Perhaps the most clarifying part of the whole weekend was the gratitude I felt towards Chris. Before leaving I realized that there was nothing I needed to “coach” him or prepare him for in anticipation of my being gone for a couple days. I felt so absolutely confident and secure in his parenting that I didn’t have to worry about Theo for a second all weekend. Of course I missed him and wondered what he was up to, but there was no part of me that had any doubts or concerns that he was absolutely fine and thriving with his daddy. This level of co-parenting is a true Mother’s Day gift, and one that many of our mothers unfortunately may not get to experience. I know for sure that I wouldn’t be half the mother I am without Theo’s daddy by my side.
By, Julia Alter
© Birth Love Family 2018