Breaking protocol, I turn off the bathroom light and flomp into bed without a glass of water by my side. Resisting panic, i decide to live on the wild side and risk thirst in the night.
I was reminded of my sister several years back. We had all gathered for a family holiday. Her husband had been unable to attend due to work, so she had brought my young nephew on her own. We were out for dinner in a Mexican restaurant and as the check arrived we saw a band setting up for the evening. My sister wanted to stay. We did not. Her son was tired and asleep on grandma. We thought we should all go home. I remember her asking me to stay out with her. I could have stayed. I should have stayed. But this was pre-baby for me. I lived in New York. A holiday for me meant sleep. I saw something in her face that night. A moment, a fleeting moment of frustration and acceptance.
This week I saw that face looking back at me in the mirror. I remembered my sister. My reaction that night had been the same as when I would read facebook status updates from friends of mine who were mothers. Updates such as "getting ready for a girl's night" or "off on a romantic weekend with my husband", or (Heaven forbid...) "recovering from too much fun the night before". What? I would think? Mothers do that? And, then before you know it, you pass judgment - what sort of a mother does that? Ahh, the pre-baby thinkings of a young woman. All those promises we make about what we will NOT do. We happily sit as judge, jury and executioner only to receive a rude awakening.
Acceptance is of course a mother's middle name. We accept that our dinner is usually cold, our coffee will have been zapped 6 times before it is drained. We accept our hemerrhoids, we name them. When we come in from grocery shopping and all we want to do is pee, we have a choice, we either take our baby on our lap to the toilet or cross our legs and go and change baby's diaper first. Bear in mind, a 30 second pee is sometimes the most glorious alone time so we may not want to rush it.
We accept these frustrations.
It's not about being free to go out, it's about being free of responsibility. And, of course as a mother we are never free of responsibility - we can be miles away, with a dinner fit for a king, a martini so dirty it moves, and you'll bet the cell phone is perched on the table and the conversation skates around the most important person/people in your life. Nevertheless, that change of scenery can do wonders for your sanity and that is freeing in itself. Just knowing that the world won't end without you there feels good (but funnily enough, not as good as you thought).
It doesn't matter how happy you are, that you wouldn't change what you have for all the world... sometimes, just sometimes, you need to take care of yourself so that the baby's face isn't the only one smiling back at you in the mirror.