I was holding back tears in the airport restroom so, yeah, I suppose I looked as if I needed a friend.
The lady at the sink next to me smiled. “That’s liquid gold,” she said, nodding to the still-warm bottles of milk I had just pumped. “Don’t lose it!”
I tried to smile back as I tipped the bottles and watched the milk swirl down the drain. She looked aghast—and I felt like I was going to throw up. It was the first time I had to pump and dump in my almost three years of breastfeeding my two kids, and it felt awful.
I hadn’t been drinking in the airport (though on second thought, maybe I should have been.) I explained to the woman next to me that I’m traveling for work, and I decided not to save the milk I pump.
The internet is filled with blog posts just dripping with mommy guilt. These posts are about how a mom lost her temper, yelled or lost her patience or cried or otherwise acted imperfectly, then tearfully apologized to her kids. These posts are about moms trying to forgive themselves.
This is not one of those posts.
Today I’m headed up to Seattle for a brief business trip—without Peeper. I’ve never been away from her for a night, and now that she’s almost 16 months old, I bit the bullet and scheduled this overdue outing.
I don’t know how it’ll go. I’ve been imagining two scenarios:
1. I take an uninterrupted bath, order room service, lounge around the hotel room in a cushy robe and watch cable.
2. I cry uncontrollably, Skype with my husband so I can see Peeper sleep on the baby monitor and go to my meetings with puffy eyes and an emotional hangover.
Thanks to some strange timing, today’s trip is a trial run. My sisters, brother and I are converging on Santa Fe for an unprecedented siblings weekend, so I’ll be spending three days away from her then, too.
I’m already feeling the guilt at leaving her, and I’m still at home. This’ll be hard—but hopefully rewarding, recharging and fun, too.
Wish us all luck.