I’ve been feeling a little glum lately. New York can feel really, which surprises me considering it is a city so full of people that you are, quite literally, never alone. As dysfunctional as they are, I miss my family. It saddens me that my baby only recognizes her Nana thanks to Skype. It pains me that my father-in-law, who funded her creation, has yet to meet her. And on Friday afternoon after a long week of no naps, tantrums and clinginess, it makes me hide in the bathroom and cry because I don’t have any help.
My New York friends are all from the area and have a plethora of family beating down their door to help. My friends get baby-free dates. They have sex. They can call a parent to help with their kid so they can (insert mundane task like cooking, grocery shopping or doing laundry). I do not.
The Professor and I still have not had a date. We have not, ahem, done the dance. (Ugh, I hate that phrase). Taking care of daily tasks is complex and time-consuming because it is just me juggling Sabine, three cats and a laundry list of chores all while going to school. I never realized how hard it is to raise a kid all alone, until I did it. I also never realized how weird it is until I had one and found myself surrounded by people with parents near by.
I know not everyone has family, and to those ladies and gentlemen, I raise my evening beer (or two) to you. This is fucking hard. I grew up in a household that was hours and days away from extended family. It was just us and my mom somehow did it all. She kept a house worthy of a Country Living magazine. She cooked. She cleaned. She took us here and there. It was normal for us to just be us for a holiday because we lived so far from everyone. It never struck me as odd – it just was what it was. Now that I have a child of my own, I realize just how hard and strange it is. People have a baby and move closer to home. They don’t have a baby and then more further from home… to the most expensive city in the country.
This morning at play group a friend said to me, “I don’t know how you do it. I barely do it and I have my parents right here. You do it all alone… and you do it well!” And that made me wonder. Do I do it well? This haunted me for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon when we all went to Riverside Park. I watched as my kid, who is older than most of the others, did not walk. She actually did not even try to crawl. She just clung to me like the happy, extremely attached kiddo she is. I know all kids hit milestones at different times, and that Sabine is not “behind” on her major motor developments yet, but she is lagging behind her friends. Her friends whose Mommies and Daddies all have help and support.
And now I sit here wondering, am I really doing a good job? Or do I need help? Do I need a grandparent to be a regular fixture in Sabine’s life and not just a face that pops up on the computer screen for a Skype session every few days? Or is Sabine just fine and I’m actually doing a fine job despite flying solo?