Mommy and me time is the classic ladies outing, except with more bottles of milk than glasses of wine. I felt a social pressure building inside myself to at least try to experience mommy time with other mothers. I still have a hard time picturing myself as a mom. Thinking about hanging out with complete strangers just because we all have children is a weird concept.
With only a couple weeks left of maternity leave, I signed up for an event with a local group called Little Lake County. For $10 I could meet other moms at a local art studio, Artist @ Heart, and create a nice memento for the occasion.
I made sure to get up early that morning so I had enough time to get myself and Leigh ready. While I was quickly feeding him right before leaving the house, he managed to pee all over me and him. I swear, he has never done this before. Why today?!? After changing our clothes, we drove down to Libertyville and immediately spotted the store.
The room was packed with moms of all ages holding newborns and toddlers. I found a scarce spot to put down my car seat among the sea of others along the floor, thinking to myself, “How do we tell which one is ours?” Mom brains- that’s how. We function on five hours of sleep and can pick out our child’s car seat in a line up of identical seats.
Leigh looked around, thought to himself, “No way Jose,” and passed out. He spent the entire time there sleeping in my arms, with the exception of a quick five minute snack. If I can say one thing about the trip, it’s that I’ve never felt more comfortable and confident breastfeeding my baby in public. I spotted a few nursing moms sitting against the wall with their classy covers. When Leigh woke up hungry, I didn’t have time to search through the diaper bag for my cute grey chevron scarf cover, so the receiving blanket had to do. The mom across from me subtly fed her baby without a cover at all and good for her! If you can’t feed your baby out in the open at one of these shindigs, where else?
I took a peek at some of the painted plates and canvases before starting my project. Some moms had made works of art straight off Pinterest. Perfect little footprints in the shape of sunflowers and butterflies. I wanted to make a simple canvas with Leigh’s little handprints. A nice lady helped me paint his hand as he slept, disturbing him just a little. It wasn’t until we tried to unfurl his balled up fist that he started to scream and I started to sweat. The poor woman helping me didn’t know if she should keep trying to get his handprint or slowly back away from the situation. I grabbed some wet wipes and tried my best to clean off the non-toxic paint from his tiny fingers (not easy, especially with one hand that’s also trying to keep him from touching his face). He cried out like the sand tiger from Aladdin, “Who disturbs my slumber?!” I spewed apologies for trying to make art while he slept. It was quite a scene. He still has grey paint under his fingernails.
While I don’t think I will try to do an art project with him without my husband by my side, I will meet up with this group of moms again. They invited me to drop by their weekly mommy group at the local hospital. It was a relief to be around a group of mothers, knowing that each of them goes through the same things I deal with on a daily basis. Some of them were stay at home moms but others were still on maternity leave, like me. Even though it feels like I’m wasting my social capital developing friendships with people I may never see again when I head back to work, it’s relaxing to see other babies and be able to talk to the real experts: moms.
So next week, I’ll get Leigh ready for his second mommy and me date. Hopefully he doesn’t pee all over us before we leave.