Jamaican Mommies by Shanoy Coombs: From Jamaica; for the world


When Baby is away…

So its Summer!!! That fabulous time of the year earmarked for fun, sun, relaxation and all things wonderfully exciting. Summer for a fortunate set also means a break from school and/or work. And for us mums, summer often means baby goes away to spend quality time with relatives.

So with both grandmas having a little time on their hands and the constant calls that they don’t see granddaughter enough, hubby and I more or less work out a schedule for her to spend time with each of them.

Now, when you work it out in your head, it all seems so appealing.. Baby will be gone for 2-3 weeks or so, which gives you more time to do all the little things you never got the chance to do. It is also supposed to mean more time with hubby, more time for self, more time with friends, time to complete home projects you’ve had on indefinite hold… you know what I mean right?

But then you fast forward, baby has been gone a day and oh my, suddenly, everything seems to be a little too quiet, a little too depressing, a little too lonely.

After just a day of being gone, I lay on the couch alone, praying hubby gets home swiftly as the house just seems too too quiet. I find myself just lying there watching the same shows I would have watched with my toddler and this gets me a little confused. I mean come on, here’s the perfect opportunity to see all those shows I have had to put on hold because baby wants to watch TV during Prime Time and wants you to join her, so you always end up watching her shows and never yours.

I keep thinking, here is the time I should use for that exercise DVD I’ve been meaning to do for ages, or oh yes, I can finally read that novel that has been lying around or rearrange the furniture as I’ve been intending to do; but all these things pale in comparison to having my little miss sunshine around. Then on an impulse, I pick up the phone, dial grandma’s number, only to hear that baby girl is busy playing. She is given the phone and it goes something like this:

Grandma: Talk to mommy baby

Baby: No, No

Grandma: Talk to mommy baby

Baby: Stop it! I don’t want to

Grandma: You’re going to make mommy cry

Baby (takes the phone): Hi Mommy, a mix of gibberish and some explanation about playing with her cousins, then ” I love you mommy, bye bye, see ya, later”

That’s it, Can you hear my heart breaking?

I’m now writing this as baby is in her third week away from home and over those 2 weeks I’ve really come to know how it feels to truly miss someone. Over those 2 weeks I’ve:

* Visited Baby just about every other evening (Thankfully Grandma #1 is close enough to home)

* Called baby just about daily (often totally shunned due to play time or Dora, Caillou or Nai-Hao Kai Lan TV time or just got a “love you” and “later”)

* Felt guilty about doing nice things for myself without her around.

* Learnt it is often best to just let her be… I mean each time I visit, it just makes her a little homesick and teary, then wanting to depart with me.

* Learnt that she loves me and misses me no matter what

* Learnt that I should really try to enjoy the time apart (I actually caved in and took her back home on Independence day and after a pretty heavy ‘workout session’ just playing with her or telling her what not to do, and what to do and to leave the puppy alone etc. I was convinced I do in fact need a little break sometimes)

* Come to appreciate that striking the right balance often means I need to take my own advice about getting that ME time you deserve

It was also truly warming to see this post in the Jamaica Observer from another mum who knows exactly what I’m going through.

So even as I write and I absorb the lessons learnt, my heart is still a little in the dumps, knowing that Grandma # 2 is a little further away and this will prevent me from dropping in every other day *sniff* ( I actually just called while I’m typing this and my little missy just said “Mummy I got bubbles” and ran off..sigh..)

So share your own stories of how you deal with summer separation and I think I’ll find solace in knowing some mums who have been there and done that can testify that the ‘spend time with grandma/alone time’ has some definite benefits.

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Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson
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