I have two regularly scheduled activities each month with the girls. One is "BUNCO night" with several of my female co-workers and the other is my monthly La Leche League meetings. BUNCO isn't at all intellectually stimulating, and sometimes I really don't want to see my co-workers any more than I have to --I'd rather just leave work at work. But at the very least, BUNCO is an opportunity to get out of the house and to have a little girl time; so it serves its purpose. My La Leche League meetings, on the other hand, are something that I very much look forward to. I feel really good about going because there are always good conversations and I almost always learn something new or am able to provide a little insight to someone else. But the best part about LLL meetings is that I am not expected to leave my wonderful daughter at home. Furthermore, my style of parenting is reinforced and supported, rather than being seen as something peculiar, eccentric, elitist, or anything else other than normal.
During the month of January, I did not participate in either of my regular activities. BUNCO was quashed because I was recovering from a head cold. I missed my LLL meeting because I got lost en route to its new location. I was, however, able to get in a little girl time with two other activities. One was a Tupperware party with co-workers and the other was a Mississippi Friends of Midwives Push Party.
It was at the Tupperware party with co-workers that I realized just how important it is to spend time with like-minded individuals. Don't get me wrong. On most days my co-workers are okay. Some days they are awesome. Other days, well... not so much. For the most part, the only thing my co-workers and I have in common is our line of work. At least half of them don't even share the same work ethic as me (but, that's another rant for another day). We don't think alike. And, we sure don't share the same ideas when it comes to parenting. I am an attached parent: I breastfeed, I cloth diaper, I wear my baby, and I bed-share. I don't let my daughter cry it out. And, when it comes to introducing solid foods, I follow my daughter's lead. So far, solid food has been just another toy to be explored with her mouth. Food-food? Well that's just synonymous with mommy's milk.
My daughter came along with me to the Tupperware party. I didn't bother to wear her into the house because I knew my co-workers would likely want to play with her and to hold her while we were there. My daughter is a little social butterfly, and does not seem to be the least bit insecure around others, so that was okay. Besides, when she is ready to nurse, she is more than happy to come back to Momma. Nursing in public is one thing. Nursing in the privacy of someone else's home? Well that's another story. I felt the need to excuse myself to the guest bedroom, where I sat and nursed and felt somewhat guilty for concealing my daughter's eating habits from my co-workers. Truth be told, she nurses better when there are fewer distractions in the room. But, that was besides the point. Why is it so easy for me to nurse in public, yet I found it more difficult in the presence of acquaintances from work? Then, when we were getting ready to leave, I asked for a co-worker's assistance with getting my daughter's hat on her head. She didn't mind helping me, but she made somewhat of a snide remark about it: "You mean you haven't figured out how to do things with one hand, yet?" For a moment, I felt a little inadequate at being a mother. Then it hit me: No, I haven't had to learn to do things with one hand because I usually have both hands free. My daughter is usually wrapped snug around my body in her Moby® Wrap!
My sense of self is fine. But, it's nice for my way of doing things to be reinforced and supported rather than my feeling the need to justify and defend my parenting decisions. So during the month of January, I was thankful to have attended the Mississippi Friends of Midwives Push Party 2011. Of course, my daughter was with me, and I was surrounded by other baby-wearing families and nursing mothers. When my daughter was ready to nurse, we nursed without my missing a beat in the conversation going on. At one point --because she is so easily distracted-- my daughter unlatched and looked up at me as if to question why we weren't excusing ourselves to another more quiet location. I looked down at her and told her, "It's okay. You can nurse. They are all okay with it. I promise." She looked back at me and seemed to have nodded her head in agreement and went back to nursing. It is so refreshing to hang out with like-minded individuals!