After my little girl was born, I spent thirteen amazing weeks at home with her. Seldom was there a time when we were even in separate rooms. We ate, napped, and ran errands together.It was amazing. During those weeks I fantasized about being a stay-at-home mom forever. 

However, I also have a job that I love and that I do very well. So, even though basking in my mom-responsibilities seemed like an amazing way to spend eternity, I returned to work after those thirteen weeks were up.

Going back to work was bittersweet. I cried. Ok, actually, I sobbed. Was I making the right choice? How could I leave my sweet girl? Was I a bad mom? I knew I needed to figure out how to stop obsessing about these things and focus on the life I was providing my daughter.

Granted, I have an unfair advantage because I have the best mom on the planet who also happens to live around the corner from us and agreed without hesitation to watch her granddaughter so I could return to work. I didn’t have the emotional turmoil of interviewing childcare providers and placing my most treasured love in the hands of a complete stranger. My daughter loved being dropped off at my mother’s house every morning and they have since developed the sweetest relationship. 

Returning to my pre-baby responsibilities of meetings and spreadsheets also came naturally enough, but it was something unexpected that really threw me off my game— when interacting with other adults I literally found myself unable to talk about anything else other than my baby. My favorite topic was newborn baby talk and I could not for the life of me stop bringing her up.  Every time someone would talk to me, I would steer the conversation back to her.

“Did you see last night’s Game of Thrones?”

“No, my daughter really wanted me to read Goodnight Moon a few more times before going to sleep. She just loves books so much.”

“Have you ever meal planned before?”

“Yeah, but I really love taking my daughter out to restaurants. She loves going new places!”

“Is it supposed to rain today?”

“I DON’T KNOW, BUT LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY BABY!”

It was a constant mental struggle. 

My social media posts were just as bad. Every day I found myself photo dumping images of my girl laughing, laughing with one eye closed so she inadvertently looked like she was winking, laughing with both eyes closed, laughing while propped on a pillow, laughing while laying on a pillow…The very sophisticated thoughts which led me down this dark path were basically: MY BABY IS SO CUTE WHEN SHE LAUGHS EVERYONE ELSE NEEDS TO SEE HOW CUTE SHE IS I MUST SHARE HER CUTENESS  WITH THE WORLD! 

I was out of control and I knew it.

Prior to having a baby I was an interesting person. I was up on all the current shows. I watched the news three times a day. I listened to NPR. I could comfortably debate politics or tell you my thoughts on Miley and Liam’s relationship. But now? All of those things were out the window. There was only one thing on my mind: that little munchie sitting at home waiting for me.

Something had to change. I needed an outlet to get all these parenting thoughts and obsessive newborn baby talk out of me so I could make room for all the other parts of me.

My first thought was to join a mom group. I went online, but the struggle was legitimately so real to find moms that I clicked with that also had similar parenting philosophies and had children around my daughter’s age. So, unable to find one that was a fit, I decided to take matters into my own hands and formed my own local mom group of acquaintances, co-workers, and old friends.

It turns out that bringing together moms (and dads) that are as equally obsessed with their children as I am lets us all gush and vent about the amazing and sometimes frustrating experience that being a parent is. There is no guilt at changing the topic because the only topic there is our babies! Who is taking swim classes where, what child most recently went from crawling to standing, what size clothes each baby is wearing, what someone’s nap schedule looks like. It is baby talk heaven.

After a couple of these meetups, I discovered that when Monday rolls around it is less and less of a struggle to talk about non-baby issues.

“Did you see last night’s Game of Thrones?”

“Yes, and now I want a dragon of my own.”

“Have you ever meal planned before?”

“Yes, it’s the only way I stay organized.”

“Is it supposed to rain today?”

“THAT’S WHY I’M WEARING RAIN BOOTS, KAREN!”

Being a parent is the best thing I have ever done, and I will probably always talk about my daughter as often as I can, but giving myself an outlet has allowed me to strike that balance between parenting-me and individual-me. Having a separate space to gush about how cute my baby is helps me remember that I am more than just Mom. 

It reminds me that I can still be a good mom, while taking time to peruse Kylie Jenner’s Insta or go to a Saturday night wine tasting with my girls or run a meeting at the office like a boss. 

Do these worlds ever collide? Absolutely. My office is plastered with pictures of her toothless grin and, when the moment is right (ok, and sometimes when it isn’t) my conversations inevitably turn to this amazing little human, but that’s ok. And, honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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