A couple of weeks ago my husband took the baby out for the day. Without me.
It was a mere six-and-a-half hours, but I fretted about it rather an inordinate amount beforehand.
This was despite the fact I know Gary is just as capable as me at soothing our little Sonny Jim should he get upset. Despite the fact the little guy smiles for his daddy more than he does for me. Despite the fact Gary was taking him to his parents to spend time with his cousins, doting aunties and uncles and grandparents who would all lavish the little lad with so much love in my absence.
Despite all of this, my heart was aching beforehand. It was to be the longest me and the boy had been apart since he was conceived. Prior to this I’d only been away from him for a couple of hours – and never in an actual whole other town!
This then made me realise just how lucky I am. Gary, despite me being irritable and irrational for days before, did everything he could to stop my (completely over-the-top) worrying. As did my in-laws. My phone was constantly beeping throughout the day with picture after picture of Sonny Jim having fun. Even though he was a bit grizzly for a couple of hours, no one told me that until he was safely home and cuddled up in my arms. At no point in the day did I need to worry if he was okay, because I had constant photos flashing up showing me that he was quite clearly more than okay.
So how you mums who have shared custody arrangements – with fellas you don’t like, let alone trust anymore – manage not to go slightly insane each time your little one is away from you I don’t know.
Forget all the hardship of coping with a baby on your own day-to-day, handing over your baby to someone who isn’t going to reassure you they are okay, who doesn’t really know your baby and their little quirks like you do, who won’t listen to your heartfelt instructions, let alone follow them, is a special kind of hell.
Having a baby, I have discovered, basically means your heart no longer resides in your body. Your heart *is* your baby. And it’s out in the world, vulnerable and oh so easy to hurt.
So I am in awe of you mums who manage to put on a smile for your little ones when they go off for days/weekends/weeks without you. Who manage to actually function while your heart is away from you. Seriously, I don’t know how you do it. And I hope I never have to find out.
PS If there are any dads/grandparents/aunts/friends reading this…this is how you stop a mum going slightly mental the first time she’s left her baby with you.
These are the pictures sent to me throughout the day. (FYI, Sonny Jim and daddy left at about 11.45am and got home at just after 6pm)