We all need to stick together.

Last night, Brian was telling me about his “friend” whose girlfriend had their first baby last week. Throughout the pregnancy and since the birth all I’ve been able to do is shake my head and feel so profoundly sad for the girlfriend – yes, she knows what kind of person she’s with, but when she got pregnant I imagine she thought he would step up and be a worthwhile partner. She’s been disappointed (or, I guess, would be disappointed if Brian had turned out that way). Yesterday I finally couldn’t take it anymore, so I spoke out on Facebook.

Last night's conversation

Last night’s conversation

I tried to say what I needed to say as diplomatically as possible. I really am grateful for Brian, and I really do feel sad for women who don’t have a real partner by their side. While my intent was to call out partners who aren’t acting right, though, the comment above opened up a whole new train of thought in my head.

“Um, so you know you just insulted every single mother on your friends list?” 

Like I responded, I didn’t intend to do that. Feeling sad for the single mothers certainly doesn’t equal feeling sorry for them. I was raised by a single mother, and I am still in awe of how she managed to juggle everything essential and still had the energy to participate in school events, ask about our days, and genuinely enjoy us. My mother loves my brother and me fiercely, generously and completely, like every single mother (and father) I know. She loves our spouses, and her grandchild, just as much. I am insanely proud of the woman she is, and I am sad for her.

The fact is, the vast majority of single parents don’t set out to be single parents. There are some outliers who choose single parenthood for their own reasons, but far more parents bring a child into the world and their partners slip out of the picture somewhere along the way. I’m not trying to lord over my fellow parental warriors when I say I’m sad for them. I don’t know what it’s like to be a single parent, but I know that it would be the greatest slap in the face to offer any single parent as condescending a sentiment as pity. Instead, they have my admiration. And my support, as does every parent who is making a legitimate effort to do their best, whatever their best may look like. If I pity anyone, it’s the partners who choose not to take an active role in bringing up the beautiful life they had a part in creating.

Parenthood is a unique and dynamic journey. Those who choose to take that path – biologically or otherwise – need to stick together.

Back to the grind

After nine weeks at home and eight weeks of near-24/7 Arthur time, this Monday morning I started back at work.

I didn’t have to set an alarm to wake up – in fact, I doubt I’ll need to set an alarm any time soon. Having a baby is basically giving birth to a snuggly, dynamic alarm clock that will wait until you’ve just achieved the most perfect state of unconsciousness to announce that he’s hungry/wet/really tired of being asleep and Mommy why won’t you play with me? (Okay, A doesn’t really play on his own just yet. Just bear with me.)

I took more time to get ready to walk out the door than I had in weeks. I put on a new dress, and heels, and jewelry, and I even did my makeup. I packed my bag, and a lunch, and gave our awesome nanny everything she would need for her quality time with le bebe, and then I ever-so-reluctantly walked out the door and left him.

What made it difficult was not the fact that I would be gone. He’s in the best possible hands that aren’t Mommy’s or Daddy’s, and I was actually looking forward to coming back to the office. I’ve left him for a few short spells in the last couple of weeks. No, what made it difficult was knowing that I would be giving a mid-morning feeding to a machine instead of to my little man. Instead of watching him drift off to sleep I will be staring at a lump of plastic and listening to its whirring instead of his breathing. I will be gone for more than 8 hours – not so much that I’m afraid he’ll forget me, but enough that he may wonder if I’m ever coming back.

Nine weeks…and it’s so surreal.

Now I’m near the end of my first week back in the office (three days in, two days out). It’s different in so many ways; not only am I still transitioning to being back in the work force, if only part-time, I am also getting used to a new job description. The office didn’t exist in a vacuum during my absence, and my return was orchestrated to make the best use of the staff on hand – which means, because of my time with the company, that I was best suited to take on different responsibilities entirely from what I was used to. It’ll take some time to really settle in to my new role, especially before I’m really used to being away from Arthur for these long stretches.

I will say, though, that walking in the door after a day at the office is, once again, my favorite part of the day.

Arthur will be two months old on Sunday – I can’t figure out where all the time has gone.