My husband and I went away overnight for the first time since having our daughter this last weekend, and it was weird.
Don’t get me wrong, it was fun! It was relaxing. It was romantic. It was totally worth the anxiety of leaving my first baby for the first time in her first year. But it was weird.
At first I just thought it would take a bit of time, after dropping her off, to fully sink into relaxing getaway mode, and tontake off my mom hat. So I tried to enjoy the quiet ride and a coffee pit stop with my husband.
Then we arrived at our destination (a friends wedding) and I saw my friends and felt like myself a bit more – but still weird. There were other kids there, and a brand new baby. With the questions of where our daughter was I explained that we had used the opportunity to travel for a wedding as an excuse to have our first getaway, that it was time, that we needing some alone time etc. (I’m sure people were only asking out of politeness and could’ve been spared my long winded justifications, but #momguilt). I couldn’t keep myself from showing anyone who cared (or didn’t) a picture of my sweet baby that I missed dearly (including our waiter at breakfast the next day). And somewhere around dessert at the wedding I thought about how my daughters bedtime had come and gone and wondered if she was sleeping, and how I missed her bedtime snuggles.
We drove to our hotel after the wedding and talked about how fun the evening had been, about how excited we were to sleep in a king size bed without any late night crying from the next room. And then, my husband said “it was weird not to have JJ there hey?” I was so relieved! “It was SO weird!” I said. And we talked about why.
You can’t ever go back, after having a kid. I think we both thought that going away for a night would make us feel like we did before having her; carefree, spontaneous, unencumbered. But really, we just felt like we were missing someone. There was just this lingering sense of “wait, isn’t someone else supposed to be here??” And it was weird! Even at night, I was sure I could hear my baby crying, waiting for me to come scoop her up for some reassuring snuggles (oddly enough, I was actually awake at the same time she was, at her grandparents house). Weird. And really, I’m kind of glad it was weird! I’m glad our family identity is so cemented that we just feel ‘at home’ being together, that it feels more normal to have JJ with us then it does to be without her. Granted, it might have been different had we been away for more then 27 hours! But I also hope it wouldn’t be different, that we would still feel like most everything is just a little bit more fun when our fun, happy, super cool kiddo is with us.
This isn’t to say that TJ and I don’t know how to be alone together anymore, we surely do. And it isn’t to say that we’ve let our friendship, or our romance, erode away since becoming parents. I think it’s just that, after having a child, you can’t ever go back. You’ll never be just you two again, even if your little people aren’t right by your side, or even if you take off your mom hat for a day or two – you’re still thinking of them, still a parent even when they’re not around, still grabbing for the diaper bag that you didn’t bring along because you actually get to carry a normal purse for once!