My First Postpartum Outing Alone: Expectation vs. Reality
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Lauren Ramirez has been writing professionally and otherwise since she was 19 years old. Old mom to a chocolate lab and new mom to a baby girl, this former teacher and current higher education professional has been involved in education and childcare in nearly every capacity. Her interests are food, being the most similar to the good sitcom moms, and writing children's books. Happily married and unhappily not on a beach right now.
I had my sweet little girl all to myself for about 5 weeks before having to go back to work postpartum. I know, I know—maternity leave in the United States is a little (a lot) behind the times. It was a new job, though, and one that I loved. But I definitely didn’t want to leave her while she was so young.
I’m among those fortunate enough to live near family. I would at least be able to take great comfort in knowing she was loved. Also, cared for in an individualized environment that I trusted to the hilt. I was encouraged by many to leave her in my husband’s care for a few hours as a “test run” prior to returning to work: both for her benefit and mine.
We’d been attached at the hip (read: nipple) for her entire little life. Also, we needed to make sure we’d both adjust to these big changes well. I left her and her papa both with a full stomach, and set out to go get a much-needed pedicure and grab some groceries. It was only for a few hours, right?
I’ve been reading parenting blogs and websites for so long now that I genuinely expected to excitedly burst out of my car at the salon, singing Jason Derulo’s “Solo” all while sucking down a still-cold drink.
I sat in my car nervously at the salon and texted my husband. “She’s asleep,” he confirmed. I felt a bit more at ease as I calmly emerged from my car.
Sweet. Alone. Time. Is there anything as glorious and relaxing as a pedicure?
I wasn’t focused on the massage my calves were receiving, and instead noticed a baby’s cry in the distance—which then made me notice I’d sprung a leak.
The pedicure being done, it’s time to walk over to the grocery store for some fully uninterrupted shopping. It had been over a month since I’d been in here as I kept sending my unsuspecting husband on these runs for me. Time to REALLY get stuff done!
Honestly, I forgot shopping carts were a thing. I wandered a full lap around the store in full postpartum mom-brain mode, because I’d received a text that said she was awake and grumpy. In addition, I came to the baby aisle when I was holding a pack of too-big diapers and, inexplicably, some condoms. I dropped them and went for the cart.
A fully-stocked list, a surprisingly roomy budget, (the sweetest family and friends kept bringing food: y’all are the real MVPs). And time to spare to grab a Starbucks as I meandered with a cart this time around.
I forgot my list, and brought home two boxes of frozen waffles and some peanut butter.
Despite my best intentions, my first postpartum outing alone was nothing short of a disaster. All of those voices screaming at me to “enjoy my alone time!”. And “stop spending all my time with the baby” were drowned out in a big way when I got home from what felt like years away.
Though it’s continued to get easier with time to be away for work and date nights. I would still rather spend my time with my daughter and doing things she can tag along for than most anything else.
My husband would later inform me that I was gone for less than 2 hours on the outing that was supposed to be at least half the day. Sorry not sorry, honey.