A Baby-Free Holiday

In June, Lizzie and I are walking down the aisle – rather, she’s walking down the aisle while I stand sheepishly at the front awaiting her arrival. As magical as this event might be (of course it’s not, it’s a wedding! The most common phrase in our household right now is: ‘Don’t let the wedding ruin the marriage!’), it has thrown up the worst imaginable dilemma: the issue of the honeymoon.

My parents have offered to pay for us to go to the Channel Islands. Lizzie’s mum has offered to look after Izzie. All well and good, you might think. But we’re having an issue with the duration of said vacation.

Lizzie says seven nights. A proper honeymoon. A way for us to reconnect after a year’s parenting, because you don’t stop being a couple the moment you become a parent. And the best gift you can give a child is a pair of de-stressed parents who are committed to one another.

I say four nights. I became a dad to create a family. Families go on holiday together. And I don’t think I could leave her for seven nights without feeling I’m abandoning her and being a horrible, selfish, unfit father. Even four nights will be a stretch.

There seem to be pluses and minuses on both sides. You trawl around the internet and 95% of people seem to say: do it! The kid won’t even notice. You need time as a couple. You don’t want to be a helicopter parent, constantly hovering over your child, unable to let them go. If you bring the baby with you, you won’t be able to relax.

And she loves it at her Granny’s.

On the other hand, there are the 5%, who, to be fair, come across as a little holier-than-thou and judgemental, who think it is a terrible thing to go away without the baby. You gave away your rights to grown-up time the second the little one plopped out. Her routine will be ruined and she’ll suffer separation anxiety, and then you’ll be sorry.

I want to do the right thing. The trouble with this is that there is no right thing.

Lizzie maintains I have a problem letting go, and she’s probably not wrong. Be that as it may, just because I struggle to let go doesn’t mean it’s okay to leave Izzie for seven nights.

It’s my choice, at the end of the day, but I’m utterly torn between my future wife, who wants a nice honeymoon, and my baby, who I don’t want to leave. And I guess that’s what it comes down to: not whether it’s right or wrong to leave her, but whether I’ll be able to live with myself if I leave her for seven nights.

I’m not sure that I can.

 

Baby Blues

I got the baby blues, woo-oo, the baby blues, oh-oh.

Just imagine that sung by an itinerant black Southerner in the 1920s, Delta-style, and you’ve got how I’m feeling at the moment. Although in this context, my baby is an actual baby, and I’m not really in the mood for singing.

It started Monday when Lizzie’s mum looked after the little one for the day. I’ve been putting off accepting help from babysitters because I was afraid that if I got out of daddyship I’d struggle to get back in. Like when you make a New Year’s Resolution to go to the gym three days a week – you do it for months, and it’s easy because you get into a rhythm, but then you miss one day, through no fault of your own, and one day becomes two, becomes four, and wham! You’ve not set foot in a gym since 2010. That sort of thing.

Anyway, so Granny looked after Izzie all day Monday, then Lizzie took her out most of the day Tuesday, and suddenly every sleepless night, missed meal, repressed emotion and unfulfilled desire have caught up with me. I’m struggling to stay awake, can’t stop eating, bounce between wanting to cry and feeling completely numb, and can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything that I ought to be doing.

Before you know it, I’ll start menstruating.

And infinitely worse is how good it felt on Monday to have a day off. What kind of a dad spends a whole day thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s sooooooo nice not having the baby here’? I mean, it was great getting to reconnect with Lizzie, just the two of us, even though it was just watching crap TV on the sofa. But it was bliss just to sit without keeping one ear tuned to the baby monitor, to know I wouldn’t have to suddenly jump up, that I wasn’t responsible for once, and I feel very guilty about that. If I enjoy getting away from the baby, then I can’t love her, right?

Realistically, it’s probably normal after the hardest six months of my life, but I’m not being realistic right now. I just feel a little lost, and very, very blue.

Basically, I’m wallowing in self-pity. I’m sure it’ll pass. Izzie’s currently using her dummy-lead and dummy as a pair of nunchucks and smacking the crap out of my head. She keeps it up much longer she’ll have knocked me senseless. But maybe then I’d wake up in a better mood.