so, a week or so ago the husband and i went to go see sufjan stevens in concert, which was a dream come true for several reasons: one, krispin had never seen him live, and two, we both felt like normal people for an evening. normal as in not-parents-of-a-newborn. i almost felt like we were undercover, staring at all the people who get to sleep straight through the night and can go to concerts whenever they like without dealing with childcare and separation anxiety. and it was true that although i found the concert extremely enjoyable (although not life changing, as so many people seemed to think–sufjan is going cray-cray, after all, and there is something a little uncomfortable about watching that) i was also super anxious the entire time. because i had left my baby.
now, to be fair, ramona was being watched by the two most capable people on the planet: my parents. and they were so cute and thrilled to have a “slumber” party with ramona (my dad’s words). so as not to disturb the baby we brought her to my parents house and planned to come spend the night there when the concert was over. my mom had the evil goal of being the first one to hear ramona laugh and she was also bound and determined to get it on videotape. both of my parents were nonplussed by her crankiness, and ramona seemed to thrive in an environment where people just sat around and cooed at her all night.
i asked my dad to text me when they put ramona down for the night (which was usually between 8:30-9) but no text ever came. finally, when we were driving to their home (around 11:30), we got the text saying they had just put her down. We arrived and my mom was still awake, wanting to regale us with tales of smiles and laughter on camera (don’t worry, it wasn’t her real first laugh–she was just making some funny gurgly noises that my mom wanted to believe was a laugh). but instead of saying thank you or expressing gratitude, i turned into a person i had never met before: the over-protective mom.
long story short, i freaked out about ramona going to bed so late. and then i felt terrible about freaking out. quite the cycle. and then i tried to justify my freaking-out to krispin, but then he had to go and be all wise about it. he said: “it seems to me you have two choices: you can either be a mom who wants to control everything, or you can be a mom who allows people to help her out. you can’t be both.”
i know. he is so smart.
and it really resonated with me. i didn’t think i would be a controlling mom, the urge is definitely there. you want everything to be perfect, you want your baby to do as well as she possibly can, you want other people to do it the way you do because you have worked hard to get every little victory. but i also want to be a flexible person who doesn’t mind asking for help, because i know i am not the expert and i need a community of people to help in this new phase of life.
so which one do i choose?
obviously, i want to go the less neurotic route. there are enough things to get stressed out about with babies. being a control freak just isn’t worth it.
she is a little party animal after all.