At first, it's just a whisper.
"You're meant to be together."
But as time goes on, it becomes louder.
"You're not meant to lead separate lives right now."
"This just isn't the time to be apart."
Until there's an overwhelming volume of voice ringing inside.
"You may have two bodies, but you're still attached! Attached at the hip, the breast, the heart. Now's not the time to be apart for such long spans. He wants to be with you. That will come soon enough."
It doesn't feel right to be gone from baby E for more than a few hours at a time, so I simply try not to do it. But that's easier said than done in a culture that often doesn't see mothering as a priority. Or when surrounded by friends who expect babysitters to effortlessly take your place. Or when turning down invitations for adult-only functions in a time where career and opportunities and money often come before family.
I remember feeling the need for togetherness ever so strongly with my first-born son, too; though then I tried to shove those feelings under the cradle. Perhaps, I wanted to ignore it because I was a full-time, stay-at-home mom who felt like she'd lost all identity except for that of mommy, and I desperately wanted to be me again. Nonetheless, I never could really ignore it, though sometimes I strongly resented it. Invitations to get togethers and events that spanned hours were always considered but were usually declined because I couldn't leave my nurslings for that long. But as I have grown into my mommy skin, I've come to embrace and enjoy that babies and their mothers should be together [when they can]. Because they belong together.[I'm not talking about career mothers who need to work, so let's be clear. This is not, I repeat, not about working moms! So, for the love of God, please put down the torch; my thin skin cannot take much more burn after the breastfeeding post.]
The more I've thought about separation of baby and mom, the more it's become evident that I've turned into the mom who doesn't leave her baby often if she doesn't need to for work or a few hours of sanity.
When I do leave, after two hours pass, my breasts swell with milk, and I'm reminded that we're supposed to be together. The weight of the separation is too heavy for my shoulders; I hurry home.
When I was invited to the Sillicon Valley Moms Chevy brands and bloggers round table discussion and event at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, my overflowing mommy heart began battling with my socialite brain. I wanted to meet my fellow bloggers and learn about how brands and bloggers work together. But I didn't want to leave baby E.
Do I go? Can I leave baby E for eight hours?
Sure, I can, but do I want to leave him for that long? This isn't like going to work, having to provide for my family. This is something that's fun. Yes, I should have fun, but eight hours worth? Without him? Oh, yes, I'm sure he'll survive, but will I survive? I'm a nursing mom; those bad boys overflow with milk every two hours. I don't want to be chained to a breastpump. I'd much rather be attached to my baby.
And thus the argument raged for days within my mind before I exploded in a direct message via Twitter asking Melissa if she thought baby E would be welcomed.
Her response [I love it -- so simple]: just ask!
So I did. Now you know you are working with a clearly intelligent and sincere group of ladies when the answer you recieve is sent only a half hour after the inquiry and it warmly states, "Of course, you can bring your baby. We're all moms after all."
Huge exhale. So it was settled. I didn't have to choose between being a mommy and an event-attending blogger. And that's good because I'm both. The other SV Moms bloggers and brand representatives at the SV Moms Chevy event understood and embraced that at this point I couldn't separate mommy from blogger; I didn't feel any scrutiny or awkwardness even when E. bellowed during the round table discussion, and I had to excuse us several times. Not from the brands or the bloggers or the SV Moms coordinators.
And I realized there, these are the kinds of companies with whom I want to be involved. And the SV Moms group is the kind of group with which I can be proud to partner. Because as Melissa said on our way home, in a totally unrelated conversation, "You cannot be a mommy blogger without being a mommy first." Amen, sister.
Yesterday, after the event, I left feeling like there are people who do understand the importance of mommying. There are people get that mommying isn't something that can be neatly packaged into specific times and spaces, rather it overflows into ever aspect of life at certain periods of the motherhood journey.
While I'm overwhelmingly grateful for those who embrace our temporary togetherness,I've finally come to the point where I'm all right with no one accepting and welcoming it -- with no one being just that into the package deal of "us." Because this little fellow? Well, he's just that into me.
And me? The feelings are reciprocal.