Well, I did it. I decided I was ready to expand my exercise regimen beyond our evening walks, and I left Bea in the gym nursery for the first time. And a second time, and a third. Letting someone else watch our little one is a slippery slope … now, Andy and I are hiring a sitter and going to a concert Friday night!
Actually, it’s not that simple at all. Our “hired” sitter is my parents who happen to be visiting for the weekend. Since it’s Bea’s grandparents and she’ll just be sleeping aaaand we’re not exactly paying them (quality time with their only grandbaby is payment enough, right?), it’s not a very big step out of the box for me and Andy. And the gym? Well, that is a scheduled hour-and-a-half where she’s not by my side, but she is in the same building and I haven’t made it more than 45 minutes before sneaking back to the nursery to check on her. Still, this is a big step.
It’s just that leaving her is so hard! I know I’m lucky to work from home, and many moms (a.k.a. women much stronger than me) take their kiddos to daycare daily. And one day I’ll likely do the same. But right now I’m wading into this whole childcare thing slowly because Bea seems so tiny and vulnerable, and I have a newly discovered, completely irrational fear of drop-in care facilities and babysitters.
Between my gym, church, and mom’s group, I’ve had the opportunity to leave Bea in a capable, well-staffed drop-in nursery on several occasions since she was 6-weeks old. But I just couldn’t commit. It’s not only because I don’t know the baby-watchers or I’m afraid they’re unskilled. (Honestly, they’re probably better equipped to handle a baby than I am!) It’s everything else. I’m afraid of freak accidents and well-intending toddlers wandering off with Bea and dropping her on her head. That, and I imagine every toy, swing, and blanket is covered in boogers and germs and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In some dark corner of my mind, I’ve convinced myself that drop-in nurseries are cesspools of unsupervised childhood corruption, broken arms, and illness.
And then there’s the idea of a finding a babysitter, and that triggers a whole new region of crazy in my brain. Of course an unknown sitter, no matter how many raving resources and Red Cross courses she has under her rhinestone-studded belt, will turn to her phone to text her boyfriend—who probably has a rap sheet longer than my quarterly Costco list—the second we walk out the door. All the while, Bea is upstairs screaming her helpless little heart out.
I have a terrible imagination with a heaping side of trust issues, I know. But the first step is admitting my problem, and then the next one is abandoning my baby in the gym’s nursery. And by “abandon” I mean call ahead to schedule a spot for my 3-month old with a bubbly young woman named Deb. Which I did. So there.
Funny enough, I’m not usually this uptight. I guess parenthood is just bringing out my overprotective side. My reluctance to be apart from Bea just shows I have a lot of work to do on evening out the balance between new-mommy crazies and sensible caution. Plus, it’s impractical. We don’t live near family, so eventually I’ll have to loosen my grip and accept outside help if I ever want some time to myself or with Andy. And I do.
Heading back to the gym is a good start; the extra endorphin boost is helping me get over the childcare hump. Maybe it’ll push me to start perusing for a local sitter, too. First thing’s first, though: That Friday night concert. Then I’ll think about sitter scouting. Baby steps …