Mom Lesson: I Didn’t Know I Liked Being Tied Down

Mother looking at her sleeping baby head to head in a hospital bed

Last week I had my first kid-free weekend since I gave birth nearly 11 months ago. Handing my daughter off to my mother, kissing her one more time, and walking away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and I’ve had to kiss my husband goodbye three times to go off to combat, which up until now had been impossible to top). I’m not sure how I even made the two-hour trip back to my house, I was crying so hard.

That night I teared up as I walked past her empty room, and I slept with her second-favorite toy, a stuffed Spot dog. She took her favorite, a stuffed Kermit, with her. When I lazily woke up the next morning and didn’t have to go pick a grinning, happy baby out of her crib and feed her, I felt lost. What did I do before I had S?

Then, I remembered.

I went and got the car inspected–three months past due. I found the DMV and got my license renewed. I dropped off the dry cleaning. I went into three different children’s boutiques and found an outfit for her first birthday pictures. I bought paint supplies at the home improvement store. When my husband came home from work, we got started and put the first coat of paint on the dining room, living room, and entryway. Saturday morning we applied the second coat, went out for dinner and a movie, put the house back in order, then sat on the couch and watched pre-season football.

I was in and out of stores in a flash and was able to stand in long lines without worrying if I had enough toys or snacks to keep her occupied and reasonably quiet. I didn’t have to worry about packing and restocking the diaper bag every time I left the house. My husband and I didn’t have to worry about if S would be good with the babysitter while we saw a movie, we just made plans and executed them. We painted three rooms in two days. It was liberating, and a nice break.

But, it was also empty. The house was definitely lacking some personality, some noise, some innocence. While we painted, we talked about how cute she was, our favorite facial expressions, and what good was being able to go in and out of stores quickly if we didn’t have a cute little girl to buy things for? Overdue car inspections and expired licenses didn’t matter, I’d get around to those things eventually.

Sunday morning came, finally, and my husband and I sprang out of bed (as much as sore-from-painting bodies can spring), raced to get dressed and sped down the highway to meet my parents and get our kiddo back.

Did I relish the freedom that comes from not having to worry about someone else besides myself? Of course I did, life is so much easier when only one person matters. But it’s not nearly as rewarding or fun, in my opinion. For my husband and I, we won’t be requiring a free weekend again any time soon. We’re content to be on the floor, racing her to the couch, and changing diapers. Bring on the poop, it’s part of the life I love, now.