Missing the shared breast: How I dream of living on the African savannah to get a night out

Q: How much time should a father spend with his child to give mom a break?

A: As much time as you need him to in order to keep you sane.

Once upon a time in a magical land, I had a life beyond my one year old. I was a professional. Taken so seriously in my field I was interviewed by international media, negotiated on behalf of my organization during national campaigns, and managed hundreds of thousands of dollars for creative work and scientific research.

Now, I spend my time translating the, “Jesus god child don’t put that in your effing mouth” in my mind into constructive and positive discipline. I love my baby and teaching him is the greatest learning experience of my life. Never have I been so challenged and alive emotionally.

But, Mother Mary, would I like a night to myself.

Here we are again within a totally unnatural ‘ask’ of modern motherhood: to be alone. Even today in many cultures, sisters and friends share the burden of the children, the work, the food, even the breast so that the community stays sane and prosperous. This societal contract is the result of millions of years of evolution, and we have broken it in a handful of generations.

To say I am burning out would be improper grammatically. I am burnt. Done. I haven’t left Bodhi for more than 12 hours total since he was born. In the last four months I have been nearly half the time on my own. To say I have been scoping out nunneries in Bermuda would not be a lie.

Part of him not leaving my side is that I only trust certain people to take him.  I have a family history of childhood sexual abuse, and I am educated on prevention. Taking precautions is part of prevention. My post pardum depression is also a factor as many who have PPD find it difficult to trust others with their children.

The other, perhaps more controllable, part is that the people I do trust either are not willing or able to help. With aging parents, both Steve’s dad and my mom have had a stream of grandchildren to care for, and (sorry ma) they aren’t in the shape to chase a toddler all day.  And finally, I love spending time with the whole family and rarely honour or recognize my need to be alone before I finally melt down and thrust the baby into daddy’s arms.

So lest we move from Bermuda to cult it out somewhere with other lactating women, setting a schedule and letting pop tough it out sans boob it is. Thanks blog. I always have you to listen to and help sort out my thoughts.



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