Maternity leave, which was so snuggly and warm and boring, is over. I’m back at work as a copywriter, meaning I have to shower and get dressed and hope Wilder doesn’t throw up down my shirt in the baby carrier on our mile walk to daycare. But he usually does, which results in a wet bra and a sour smell that lingers unless I take my shirt off in the work bathroom and wash the milk out before it dries.
But once Wilder is cooing happily with his daycare crew and I can confirm whether the wetness in my bra is sweat or puke, I stroll to the Blue Line (this is the most peaceful 10 minutes of my entire day, so I generally try to walk as slowly as possible) and I daydream about the buckets of coffee I’m going to chug the minute I jump off the train.
Starbucks, I love you. Peach & Green, I love you. Burnt-tasting drip coffee in the office, I even love you, too, especially when the day starts at 5 a.m. with a baby who’s discovering that, yes, he has a voice, and yes, it’s loud.
But when I’m home, hanging out with my family – it still feels weird to say that, even after four months – the pace is much slower. There’s less screen time, more time spent outside exploring our Ukrainian Village neighborhood, more daytime naps and way more time spent in PJs. The Hollie and James who used to love traveling and packing the schedule as full as possible are now homebodies … and we like it.
My first Mother’s Day was laid-back, despite my having a fever and sore throat I likely picked up from some sick daycare kid somewhere in the mix. James had this same sickness the week before, so it’s only fair I had it next. On Mother’s Day.
James gave me the greatest Mother’s Day gift (next to Hamilton tickets, which I got as an early Mom’s Day surprise because I am married to the greatest human on the planet): A morning free of Wilder’s 5 a.m. wakeup. Pure fricking bliss. Seriously, you don’t know how amazing sleep is until it’s gone, and at that point, you’re too delirious to remember life before you became a zombie.
We did our usual weekend stuff: Walks around the ‘hood in the stroller, lunch to go from the Goddess and Grocer, a picnic in Wicker Park, sunburned shoulders because I forgot what life is like when it’s not freezing cold. It was a really, really good day.
And yeah, we had an overtired meltdown in the park. And yeah, a weird guy told us his life story during our picnic. And yeah, there was baby puke down my shirt. But it was a really perfect first Mother’s Day, and I’m pretty darn happy to be a mom, especially when we’re lucky enough to catch these little moments on camera.
There’s going to be a day I miss the baby barf. Maybe.
Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, whether you have kids in your arms, bellies or hearts. It’s not easy, nor is it clean. But it sure is rewarding.