I love mothering, and I feel very lucky that I’m able to take paid maternity leave and totally enjoy these precious months with my daughter. Spending day in, day out hanging out with her and watching her develop and learn and grow is frankly amazing, especially as she is our first child so she has my undivided attention (and energy!).
I haven’t had any desire to be apart from her – in fact, I don’t think I would enjoy it at all, as I still feel a strong instinctive urge to be close to her. But I do sometimes get to the end of the day and realise that the only time to myself that I’ve had is the forty-five minutes when she’s napped as I’ve been pushing her buggy, or the hour that she’s slept in her sling as I’ve gone to meet friends. When she does take short naps at home (rare!), I usually rush around trying to tick chores off my list. Useful, but not particularly relaxing.
When S gets home from work he does play with Frida, allowing me to have a bath or read a few pages of my book, and she is able to go longer and longer being happy just playing now which is wonderful. But I still am finding it hard to switch off and get some mental space even when I know she is having a lovely time with her daddy. I think its something I need to get better at and practice.
I exclusively breastfeed Frida on demand, which means I can’t really be apart from her for any length of time (and I just don’t fancy expressing), so the best compromise is S looking after her close to me whilst I try and decompress slightly. I have been really missing going swimming – it’s been such nice weather so it’s felt very cruel not to be able to make the most of London’s fantastic outdoor swimming facilities – so the three of us went to Brockwell Lido. S sat in the shade with Frida and some toys and books, and I swam for almost an hour in the glorious sunshine.
Although I still found it hard to switch off, it was amazing to be able to enjoy the sun and the water without having to constantly be listening out for a tiny person, wondering if she is going to wake up or if she is bored. She had a wonderful time, and so did I. It wasn’t quite alone time, and I did keep peeking out of the water to check that she didn’t need any milk, but felt invigorated afterwards, and ready to parent again.
S is off work for the next two weeks, and we are going to be holidaying at home and making the most of what London and the surrounding area has to offer. It’s interesting seeing London through a totally different lens now that we have a small person in tow!