Yesterday was the first time in Madelyns 7 1/2 months of life that I left her with a babysitter for a significant amount of time. The only other time she has been with somebody other than Chris or I for a meal is when she was 3 weeks old and stayed with my parents while we went to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
I stressed for a week about what all she would need and how she would react to being fed and put to sleep by somebody other than me. I wrote out a huge long "owner's manual" and loaded 4 bags with everything I could possibly think of that she would need. It's amazing what I think she needs for 10 hours. She probably needed only half of it.
At some point it hit me that my real worry was for myself and not for the baby. I knew that she was going to be cared for, I knew that she was in capable hands and that she was going to have fun. I just didn't want to admit that she would be OK without me.
I know deep down that she needs to be OK without me, that is actually the goal of parenting...you know, to raise your children to function on their own. I'm just "that mom" right now, the one that worries too much. It's times like this that I worry about smothering or stunting her development. There seems to be such a fine line between caring for and smothering, and then the same fine line between letting her grow on her own and ignoring her. I can only hope that I walk that line succesfully and do my best to do the best thing for my sweet baby girl.
I think that every mother wants to be the best, that every mother doesn't want to feel like they can be so easily replaced in their childs life. It's a sad time when a mother is replaced in their baby's life and even sadder when the baby is better off for it. I try not to get boggled down in these thoughts, to not think of the orphaned babies, of the children whose parents choose their own happiness of that of the child, but Ican't help it. I can't help but to feel a great deal of sadness for those babies, I try to comfort myself hoping that some of the books are right, that as long as basic needs are met, a baby feels loved.
Last night after 10 hours of bus rides, dinner, schmoozing, and a wonderful evening parade I picked up a sleeping baby from her pack n play in a strange (to her) house and when she woke up in my arms she was less than excited. I like to think that her lack of excitement is a direct reflection of her confidence that I was going to return and as long as she realizes that I will do everything in my power to return to her then I have done my job.