Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Take-Maddie-To-Work Day

On evenings when I work, Brian usually watches Maddie. It works out well; I get out of the house a bit and Madeleine gets her blissful fill of the tickle monster. Recently, though, Brian had to work during one of my shifts and childcare became a bit of an issue.

Good old Gamma came to the rescue, agreeing to fill in for Daddy’s shift. One problem; she wasn’t available until I was an hour into my work time. The solution?

Yep. Maddie came to work with Mommy.

I’m fortunate; I teach Pilates so my workplace is a big open space filled with soft mats, fun balls to chase, wide expanses of wood floor to crawl across, and interesting equipment to lick. The atmosphere is laid-back, and the staff adores Madeleine. The studio owner’s incredibly supportive of my parenting choices and is very happy to have me bring Maddie to work with me. My clients all love her and are willing to accommodate me. On paper, it looks like the perfect set of circumstances for a baby visit.

Madeleine’s never been really good about resembling some paper facts, though, so I was very apprehensive about trying to teach and watch her at the same time. What if Maddie freaked out with so many people around? What if she decided it was naptime? What if she decided she needed to sing? Loudly?

I spent several days psyching myself up for the impending double duty. I kept telling myself it was only one hour; how bad could it be? My client for that hour is a grandmother herself and assured me it wouldn’t be a problem. We reviewed my mother’s travel route, confirming that she was indeed getting to the studio the fastest way possible. What else could I do?

The day of, I packed Madeleine’s bag with the precision of a career military man. Piggy! Here! Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy! Here! Silky! Not here, because Silky is never far from Maddie these days, but a note reminding me to bring Silky – Here! I prepared the bottle mom would be giving her, filled tiny containers with dinner (just in case they got stuck in traffic!), brought an extra tub of Cheerios: in short, I was as prepared as I could possibly be.

We got to the studio in plenty of time. I tried to unpack our gear while holding Madeleine but finally had to put her down. Maddie kicked into Stranger Anxiety – High Gear – and clung tightly to my leg, refusing to be put down. I had a small semi-circle of interested watchers around me; people anxious to see Madeleine, people anxious to help, and people wondering what the heck a baby was doing in a fitness studio. I finally handed Madeleine over to the studio owner – a fellow mom whom Maddie had met before, been held by, and liked – for a couple minutes while I changed into work clothes.

What happened? What else. Nuclear meltdown.

The entire 72 seconds I was changing, Madeleine screamed as she hasn’t cried since she was a tiny baby. By the time I came back round the corner, the entire studio was looking at a tear-stained, anguished ten-month-old who was so worked up that snot was running down her face. When she saw me she launched mid-air towards my arms, the relief so thick I could spread it on toast. My boss smiled at me and said, “Believe me, this is much harder on you than it is on any of us. We’re all fine with this.”

With Maddie finally calmed down, I tried to start the session. I had naively thought to wear Madeleine in her Bjorn while I taught; after all, I reasoned, it’s how I used to get stuff done!

Yeah, try pinning a 10-month-old down and saying, “Don’t move” for an hour.

At first she was happy to be snuggled up against me. I can do this! I thought to myself. Five minutes later, she was done with the front carrier. Taking her out, I placed her on my lap and let her “help”. A few minutes later, she was emboldened by the lack of strangers trying to pick her up and ventured off my lap. Another five minutes later she was crawling happily across the floor chasing a pink ball.

The rest of our hour together went smoothly; she crawled all around, walking where she could and exploring everything she got her hands on. She’d look back occasionally to check in with me, always keeping me within about ten feet but content to be on her own under my supervision. Fellow teachers helped corral her, gently encouraging her not to lick the furniture and steering her away from moving machine parts. She entranced the studio as she discoursed earnestly on a large ball, pointing and gesturing for emphasis.

When my mother came in at the end of the hour, she said it looked as if Maddie had grown up in the studio, so happy and confident was she in her surroundings and so unconcerned were the rest of the people there. Of course, when Madeleine spotted my mother the ear-splitting shrieks of happiness began and the studio’s serenity was shattered. But no one seemed to mind.

I realized that many of my fears were about offending other people, not about Madeleine’s safety. Obviously I’d never put her in harm’s way or compromise her safety; my real worry if I was being honest, was that people would wonder why I couldn’t “control” my kid; that she’d be afraid or anxious and express that in a very natural way and people would think less of me for it. That clients would see her and think, “Spoiled brat!” or “What a bad mother”.

I’m never going to get every stranger to look at me admiringly and think, “What an incredible mother! What a wonderful baby she’s raising, and so well! She’s amazing.” It’s time for me to stop caring and stop apologizing to all those (largely childless) strangers who glare at me in the grocery store when Madeleine starts crying because a deafeningly loud announcement comes on the loudspeaker. I’m proud of the job I’ve done as a mom so far, and think I have a great, well-behaved baby. She handled the day’s change in schedule like a pro.

And by the way, she did decide it was time to sing. Loudly. As she was happily crooning, “AAAAHH! OOOOOOHH! AAAAHH! OOOOOHH!” at the top of her lungs, a client who had just performed a particularly grueling stomach exercise walked by and said grimly, “My thoughts exactly, kid.”


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.