I write this semi-facetiously, because even in my baby brain haze I know how ridiculous it is to complain about the luxury of staying at home for any reason, let alone with a happy, healthy and sleeping-through-the-night baby. It’s ridiculous to bitch and moan about the gift of being with your newborn for the first three months. And it’s blasphemous to ask for sympathy when my chief whine is that I’m tired of my cozy routine.
But I am diagnosing myself with a minor case of the stir crazies, caused by nearly seven weeks of home confinement.
Audrey will get her 2-month shots in mid-December, and while I know that there’s no reason to stay totally housebound, I am erring on the side of caution when it comes to illness, especially with the rise of whooping cough and RSV in my area. I’d rather spend nearly 9 weeks at home going nuts than 9 weeks in the hospital, even if the risk is relatively small.
The first few weeks, it felt like the luxury it is. I stayed in my pajamas, let people bring me food, took Percocet-induced naps and kind of enjoyed being anti-social. Besides, cluster feeding had me nursing all.the.time and I don’t think I could have left the house if I’d wanted to. And I didn’t want to.
I indulged in watching TV, reading books and soaking in the sloth-like life (of course, I was still nursing, changer diapers, giving baths, watching dogs, cleaning the house…). And we did leave the house, for walks and mommy group and visits to the doctor. We just didn’t go anywhere that reeked of germs, like the grocery store, the mall, etc. (per my pediatrician’s advice).
Around 5 weeks or so, things started to shift mentally for me. I was healed, my baby was starting to get a more regular routine of eating, I was getting better at anticipating her needs and more confident about dealing with disasters.
Leaving the house seemed less scary and more manageable. And the novelty of being home kind of wore off.
The novelty of being a mom has not disappeared, and it never will. I’m sick of TV and pajamas, but I’m more excited than ever about watching my baby smile and coo. I miss interacting with adults but I get up every day thrilled that my job is to teach my daughter about the world.
I’m not bored, because I’m staying busy. I’m doing some work from home (and will be picking up more projects soon, before returning to the office at 12 weeks). I’m doing house tasks that have long been put aside. I’m blogging, answering emails, organizing my life and more. I’m finding reasons — small ones, sometimes, but reasons — to feel fulfilled and accomplished.
(And again, I can’t stress enough…I’m spending most of my time being with my baby and fulfilling her needs. We have tummy time, we sing, we read books, we play peekaboo, we nurse a LOT, we snuggle. Being with her is my job right now, and I don’t for ONE SECOND take for granted the fact that I can be at home when many moms and dads can’t.)
It’s not the being at home thing that is old, it’s the being AT home thing that I’m ready to shed. You have no idea how exciting a trip to Target or the grocery store sounds (I’ve done both this week, but only because my husband kicked me out of the house solo with some vague list of errands…he knew I needed to be among adults). Yesterday, I drove to Starbucks with baby in the car seat and hit the drive-through just because I feared I’d forgotten how to drive my manual transmission car.
In about two weeks, Audrey will be cleared for the outside world, and I’ll be embracing the chance to take even mundane trips with her. Then I’ll start the bittersweet countdown to my return to work — and I know I’ll think back at how lucky I was to be at home and wonder why it ever became claustrophobic.