This past weekend, I had the honor of celebrating two wonderful people becoming husband and wife! Our friends Hope and Bobby tied the knot on the beautiful beaches of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Yes, that's right, this overly attached mother not only left both my babies, I took my husband with me, AND we didn't even stay in the USA!
|"Men of Punta Cana" calendar will be in stores near you any day now.|
This post brought to you by the incredible talented and generous grandparents who were kind enough to not only travel to our house and watch a 1 year old and 2 year old for five days, but to also at least pretend they had fun doing it! Sure, they are obviously the cutest children on earth, but those ages are a handful to say the least!
|They also sent us pictures to calm my nerves the whole time.|
When I was on maternity leave after Dalton was born, the first time I left him for more than a quick run or coffee break was to see Mockingjay, Part 1. As a huge Hunger Games fan, I saw all the movies opening weekend, and had been looking forward to this since the previous movie was released.
|Any excuse to post a newborn photo.|
I went with a big group of friends. I clearly remember sitting there during the previews, secretly eyeing my friends who were mothers themselves, both with slightly older children, wondering why they seemed so...fine. I couldn't enjoy myself, and felt sick being away from Dalton. I wasn't worried, since he was home with Eric, I just felt wrong. Even though on paper, I was doing something fun, something I'd looked forward to for at least a year, surrounded by friends, I was choking back tears and just wanted to be home with my baby.
We all know that with social media, the pressure on new mothers these days is at an all time high and growing every second. There's an obsession with doing everything right, except the only way to make sure your way is right is to put down any other way as wrong, which I could write a whole separate post about. In retrospect, I am realizing the pressure goes even beyond feeding, sleeping, bonding, etc. - even the little "me" time we get as new mothers is subject to scrutiny. The message is: You must take time for yourself! You must have date nights! You must hire a sitter and get away from that baby leeching all your energy!
|I liked this guy. But I wanted no date nights.|
Of course this message comes from a place of love and support. No one is trying to make new mothers feel bad, quite the opposite, people are just trying to help. I don't mean to sound ungrateful - I truly appreciate so much all the friends who offered, and especially my friend Kristin who babysat Dalton for our first two solo outings!
|Arriving at the resort and SO EXCITED.|
From what I hear from friends, many, if not most new mothers do feel that way. In my experience, when I was already struggling to adapt to this new life and questioning every little decision I was making, it was just one more thing that made me feel like something was wrong with me. I didn't want a date night away, I didn't want an afternoon away, I certainly didn't want a night away as people insisted I should try. And since it seemed everyone else did, it felt like I was somehow falling short, yet again.
|Insert random beautiful picture of the paradise we visited.|
That was an extremely long preamble to say that I got there in my own time. Just like babies meet milestones when they are ready, I left my children when I was ready. I may have needed a little push, which I got in the form of a good friend who decided on a destination wedding. I'll admit, my first reaction to hearing her wedding would take place out of the country was something like how wonderful! I'll send a gift and take you guys out for a drink when you get back.
But, slowly, I got there. My mother and stepfather readily agreed to come down and stay with the boys. The bride to be is one of our mom tribe of 5, and one by one, each of my friends booked their travel plans. We unexpectedly came in to a little bit of extra money (ok, Eric won it in Atlantic City). Plus, the wedding was the weekend before our 9 year anniversary. Not the big 10, but close enough. It kind of seemed like the universe was telling me that it was time.
|Caribbean dancers on the beach side dance floor - you just can't beat that.|
|All I know is, that's one gorgeous bride.|
Somewhere along the way, I started to focus less on my irrational fears of the plane going down and my children growing up without parents, of my kids destroying my parents' will to live (ok, that one was strong the whole time), and more on the image of laying on a beautiful beach, surrounded by my husband and friends, drinking a fruity cocktail.
When we first arrived at the gorgeous resort, I did have a bit of a tearful moment, missing the kids. But that's the great thing about traveling with my mom tribe - we just staggered our mini meltdowns so we could all get each other through.
|We may not all look at the same camera, but we still look good.|
Shortly after that, I finally got enough cell phone reception to check in with my mom, and everything was going really smoothly. In fact, the boys did wonderfully the entire five days wee were gone. For Royce, it was out of sight, out of mind, as I'd expected, and he was a happy camper. Dalton is old enough to understand which is helpful, but I was worried he would be really sad and upset, and act out, since he hasn't mastered using words to express his feelings just yet. It was a non issue though. He had so much fun with Grandma and Grandpa and didn't miss us at all, which sounds sad but was quite the opposite, it was perfect.
|We missed them. They...did not care.|
With that knowledge, I was able to completely relax and thoroughly enjoy my vacation.
|Two minutes before, those coconuts were still attached to the tree.|
|I had my iced coffee daily in these pool chairs and it was just as relaxing as it sounds.|
|Lots of lying on the beach, chatting with these lovely ladies.|
|Sunset selfie game on point.|
If I could go back in time and give myself advice as a new mom, I would say just stay home with the baby if that's what you want. You don't have to go on a date night just because your friends love them. Do what feels right for you. While I knew we were all going to make different parenting decisions, I needed to know that we were also going to all feel differently as parents, and that's ok.
I'm so glad both that I am now able to enjoy some kid free time, and that I waited until I was truly ready to take that time.
We love play dates with these guys, but we all got to know each other in a whole new way with a few days of adult only time.
Condensed version: I missed my kids like crazy but it was worth it a million times over and we had so much fun. 10/10, would recommend.