I’m super attached to my child and not just in an “attached-parenting” sort of way.
My husband works insane hours and we have no family nearby so I’m pretty much the sole caretaker of our little guy. I love that he’s my constant companion from the time I wake up until the time I rock him to sleep at night. We share breakfast, lunch and dinner, stories and play dates, happy days and cranky ones. But as toddlerhood rears its bi-polar head, I find myself needing a “Mama time-out”. Perhaps he’s bored with me or just wants to push my buttons to get a nice big reaction out of me. I swear I say, “that’s not for babies” FIVE HUNDRED TIMES A DAY or “Yuckies, give to Mama!” before he pops a cat turd in his mouth. Diaper changes? Forget it. Try Mama-baby wrestling sessions complete with pooh-flinging and powder clouds. And if I dare open my laptop or talk on the phone the result is complete hysterics.
Mama needs a time-out? More like Mama needs to snort some Xanax, take a 20 minute shower and then pound a bottle of cheap wine while watching Bachelor Pad.
Instead, I broke down and went to the gym. I need a way to vent my frustration and he needs some fresh faces in his day so I figured it was time to try the baby drop-off. I fret over what a selfish bitch I was to abandon my child just so I could have thinner thighs, wondering if he knew how horrible is was going to be when I took him to a room full of toys and strangers and LEFT HIM THERE. I pictured him sobbing in the arms of some poor high school girl while I sweat my buns off to a trashy Ke$ha remix while watching Regis on closed caption.
That morning I gathered up his snacks and told him about how he was going to play with some new friends while Mama exercises. I was met with an unsuspecting blank stare when I recited “Mamas always come back” over and over again in the elevator. I wanted to turn the stroller around and make a run for the door, but as soon as we walked into the room, I put him down to say my goodbyes and he walked over to a table to color with some other kids.
Everything I read said, “Don’t sneak out, be sure to say goodbye and be specific about your return.” How do you say goodbye to a kid who is too busy drinking out of someone else’s sippy cup and jamming a crayon in his ear to care?
So I worked out, and it felt awesome. And he was totally fine. So we went back two other times that week and I got three work-outs in for the first time in two years. The result: I had more energy, dealt with his tantrums better and overall just felt, stronger.
Saturday rolled around and I woke up proud and energized while he woke up with two green slugs emerging from his nostrils and puked all over me. As I cupped his stomach contents in my hand all I could think was, “THIS is my punishment.” Two days later, he managed to keep down some banana and I was able to stay on top of the boogie river so I thought, “See, no big deal. Kids get sick, happens all the time…”
But as I turned around to cut some chicken for dinner, I hurled my lunch into the bin.
Over the next three days I found myself camped out in the bathroom and at one point I was sitting on the toilet begging for mercy while holding a screaming, snotty toddler. And in that moment, I didn’t feel the least bit selfish.
Being a Mama often takes more from you than you have to give and I am proud that I left my irrational abandonment fears at the door and did something for myself. And believe it or not, I’m going back to the gym this week. Because watching muted TV with my heart rate up is actually worth shitting with a toddler on my lap later. Now THAT should be a slogan for attachment parenting!