Sunday, February 8, 2015

Summer Journeys with a baby

      So what's new in my travel journeys? Well, we currently have a one month old. While we will not be heading to South America or even the Caribbean we are willing to dive back into traveling the US as soon as possible. Granted, out trips will be much closer to home, but hey, we are taking baby steps here! A baby passport is on the list of things to do in hopes of a trip to Mexico in April.
        When our son was just shy of two weeks we took him on a trip to Long Island Sound for a week. It was an easy trip with extended family. Of course special gear helped and having the family around after a C section was a big help too. Turns out babies are portable, and luckily, my son seems to enjoy the beach as much as I do. The waves and salty air lulled him to sleep and he pretty much slept the whole trip.
        We just returned from a one night camping trip with our now 7 week old. This was a bit more challenging- no running water or electricity- but purposeful packing made the trip enjoyable. The baby was well behaved again. Having a pack and play is a must, along with plenty of clothing and waterproof pads for changing the baby anywhere and everywhere.
         We are about the head out for our third trip (I need to get the most out of my maternity leave)! This time we are heading back to the Sound for another beach trip. Easy. I feel like a pro by now. But wait. We hit our first snaffu at the end of the week. Due to a poorly planned exit our son ended up screaming in the car for 15 minutes, which of course felt like an hour. He was screaming-I mean bloody murder. I tried to tell my husband I needed more time but instead we left at the exact moment I should be nursing him. Great. A pit stop at a gas station allows me to climb in the back where I feed him a pumped bottle I had stored. This helps the baby, but not me as I now need to pump, so while I feed the baby this bottle I also hook up to my pump to produce another. I find myself musing on the blessings, or is it curses? of modern life. Yes, I can pump while on the go; in a car racing at 70 miles an hour while feeding the baby a bottle as he is safely strapped into his expensive, high end and presumably very safe car seat. We are multi tasking, making the most of our time, right? Only in modern times can one travel 150 miles in mere hours. And yet.....and yet I can't help but think of how much nicer it would have been to have been 'stuck' back a the beach house nursing my son instead of being hooked up to a machine. To have headed off his ear piercing screams of hunger. To not be traveling at 70 miles an hour right now, but to be cradling my son in my arms while I watch the sunset. Is it better to race around, or take one's time? Have a leisurely travel, focused on the needs of the child, or a fast paced one, to fit the needs of the child into the needs of adults and our high energy, high output, rushed lifestyle. Maybe a horse drawn carriage wouldn't be so bad; I could hold my son, we could enjoy the scenery our journey would take so long it would have to be leisurely.
     Sometimes I think of how I assume it used to be, when raising a child was a full time job for a mother. When other women banded together in their communities to help each other raise their children, rather than rely on modern technology and the assistance that money can buy.  Today we are expected to be full time mothers, of course, but also full time wives, and employees as well. Why have we placed these demands upon the women of our time? Technology can be a blessing, of course, and I freely admit to enjoying my full time employment, but have we allowed technology to over burden us at the expense of ourselves? Have a child or work was the only option in the past. Now it seems that have a child AND work is our only option. Have a child AND work AND nurse full time AND be your family's exclusive chef, housekeeper, bookkeeper, chauffeur, laundress, dishwasher, maid.....the list goes on.
     Perhaps it is the stress of hearing my child cry. Perhaps it is the anxiety over returning to work in less than a month. Perhaps it is the fact that I am still not fully recovered from my C section. Perhaps it is hormones. Whatever it is I cannot change the world, though I wish I could. Like millions of women world wide I must accept my lot and be joyful. In this word of duality it can be easy to despair at what could have been. All I can do is enjoy this moment, whatever it is and give my son the best life I can provide. I do not have the luxury (or the curse?) of being one or the other- I must be both. I must be all things as well as I can, and that will have to be well enough.

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