To the moms who have come before me, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for rolling my eyes when your baby cried on the plane or in the restaurant. I’m sorry for not letting you go ahead of me in the grocery store line. I’m sorry for being irritated when it took you extra time to get your kids in the car and all I wanted was your parking space.
I’m sorry for resenting you for leaving the office at 5:00 p.m. prompt to head to daycare. I’m sorry for griping when you didn’t email right back because it was bath time.
I’m sorry for questioning why you gave up your career and chose to stay home or why you chose to stay at home from the start.
I’m sorry for pitying you when you couldn’t drink wine for the nine months of your pregnancy and the twelve months you breastfed thereafter. I’m sorry for judging you when you had a sip every now and then.
I’m sorry for feeling uncomfortable when you breastfed in public.
I’m sorry for underestimating what it took to keep the baby fed, the house cleaned, the dog entertained, groceries in the fridge, and the laundry in the washer turned over fast enough so it doesn’t smell of mildew.
I’m sorry, and I get it now.
Over the past twelve weeks, I’ve breastfed in dressing rooms to calm a hungry babe. I’ve breastfed in open plazas and in the backseat of my car.
I’ve quickly exited restaurants and shops. And though we haven’t flown yet as a family, I’m prematurely dreading being the mom with the crying kid making the other passengers cringe. Maybe I’ll pass out candy beforehand.
I’ve snuck sips of wine and even of my husband’s beer, particularly when the baby has had a rough evening because he hasn’t slept for most of the day and is beyond exhaustion, and then felt guilty afterwards.
I’m still on maternity leave, but I already know the challenges I’ll face when I return to work: learning to say no sometimes, not out of laziness but necessity; letting my colleagues down; feeling like I’m not pulling my weight, at the office or at home. I’ve daydreamed of staying home full time. My return is fast approaching.
I’ve washed the same load of laundry three times in as many days, and still there have been nights my husband and I have gone to sleep in clothes that don’t smell just right. Sometimes the fridge doesn’t smell right either, and the dog hasn’t had a proper walk in days.
But I wouldn’t change it for a thing. And I don’t say this all to complain. I only say it to say I get it now. I really do. And I’m sorry for misunderstanding you before. Please forgive me.