That’s What Happens.

This morning I woke up exactly as the clock turned to 5 am. The alarm wasn’t set to go off until 6. That’s what happens.

I skulked around in the dark looking for my lost sunglasses (never found), pumped a final bottle of milk (hate that), grabbed my suitcase and my laptop, then tearily kissed my children goodbye at 7:15 am sharp. My first night away from Sage.

I headed to the airport feeling that brutal, familiar combination of guilt about leaving, anxiety about the meeting, and happiness at having one solid night to myself. One solid night to have a steak dinner with coworkers, many cocktails, then maybe some mindless TV watching (A movie? A whole movie? Quite possibly!) in my room before falling into what would hopefully be my first uninterrupted night of sleep in close to a year. I could see the sleep. I could taste the sleep.

And then I felt so happy about it that I felt guilt about the happiness.

That’s what happens.

My plane landed, I trudged through the Florida humidity to a cab, I checked into my hotel, flopped down for a full five minutes on the bed, and then rushed out for The Big Meeting.

In the cab, I got the call.

“Sage isn’t eating.”

“What do you mean she’s not eating?”

“She hasn’t eaten since you left this morning.”

I did the math in my head – 8 hours. 8 hours and the baby who nurses every two hours hadn’t eaten anything. She hadn’t slept either.

During The Big Meeting I got the IM.

“She’s eating! Yay!”

A half hour later I got the IM.

“She’s not eating.”

And so back to the hotel I went, grabbed the yet unpacked suitcase off the yet unslept on bed, glanced at the unturned on television and the unplundered minibar and headed straight back to the airport. Feeling like the bad mother who left her baby who won’t eat or sleep. Feeling like the bad employee who can’t stay for dinner. Feeling generally…what’s that expression? Oh yeah, like shit.

That’s what happens.

There is an internet connection now at least, in the terminal otherwise devoid of amenities like food (guess it’s Ritz Bits for dinner tonight) and cocktails (argh). Also, the carpet reeks of dog urine. So here I sit.

And I wait. (And I try not to cry.) And I wait. (And I try not to breathe in through my nose.) And I wait. (And these Ritz Bits taste like absolute crap so I’m going to switch to the Twix.)

And I wait for the last flight home.

The Original Perfect Post Awards – Sept ‘07

{54 Comments}

54 thoughts on “That’s What Happens.”

  1. I LOVE your honesty. Everything you wrote is so true. Guilt vs. FreedomEVERY mom goes through it on a daily basis.Hope all went well at your Big Meeting. I’m in Orlando, so I get the nasty heat you experienced.Love your blog!http://awholelotofnothing.net

  2. It really does suck doesn’t it? There is something just so incredibly lonely about being a Mom who has to travel away from her kids for work. Enjoying the sleep, but yet feeling guilty for getting it, enjoying the adult company but yet knowing you <>should<> be home instead. Dragging a PIS around the country, pumping, trying to figure out what in the hell to do with the pumped milk…full boobs reminding you that you haven’t fed your child recently. Sorry, I think I’m just making it worse for you!My daughter weaned a little more than a year ago, but I had many such trips…4 night trips away even. I’m just thankful that she weaned right around the time the liquids ban was put in place, what do you do with your pumped milk to transport it home??In many ways it got easier after I stopped breastfeeding, at least logistically, but of course the guilt is still there even with the Skype video calls back home *sigh*.

  3. Oh, sweetie!! I’m so sorry! That’s the WORST feeling.When Little Man wouldn’t eat for 7 hrs when I had to be away, it was AWFUL. I truly feel your pain. Ugh.Safe return to you.

  4. Oh Liz! I’m so sorry. I hope it is smooth sailing from here on out. You’re doing great, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.

  5. I’m so sorry. It will get better. Promise. I taught summer school when Zen Baby was 4 months old and exclusively breastfed. She wouldn’t eat the entire time I was away unless my mom put her to sleep first and then snuck the bottle in. It was brutal and I feel your pain.It sucks, doing the right thing, the unselfish thing, when it comes to our children. But the good moms do it anyway. Do it willingly, and without the guilt or the martyrdom. Like you. 10 hours without a bottle isn’t going to kill Sage, or even do much harm. And you probably wouldn’t have slept very well, anyway.Wishing you a huge, deep sleep in your own bed very soon.

  6. This brought tears to my eyes. When my daughter was only about 3 months old, I had to have surgery. She took a bottle for the 2 or 3 days that I had to pump and dump b/c of the drugs in my system. After that, she would only take the boob. I had no freedom after that until she weaned herself at 9 or 10 months. It’s so hard. I’m sorry!

  7. thank you for always putting into words, the thoughts I always have. you’re an amazing mom, she will be fine…babies are amazingly adaptable and forgetful. Your blog has been incredibly helpful (first-time mom :))best of luck on when you arrive

  8. Our daughters and our guilt demand so much of us. I know the feeling of looking forward to those precious moments alone and feeling like it’s not right to want them.Here’s to some good sleep no matter where you are.

  9. Oh Liz, I feel for you.I had to take my first business trip when my son was 2.5 months old, and leaving him was brutal. Because of my job demands, he was bottle fed from the beginning, my personal choice, but leaving him for TWO nights still sucked. Even though the business accomplished was important.

  10. Liz you’re awesome. One day it will get easier. All you can do is your best and it’s obvious that’s what you do. Sage and Thalia are lucky to have you.

  11. Oh honey. I feel your pain. I had to go on a three week shoot when my daughter was just 4 months old. I couldn’t leave her, so I had to take her and the nanny with me, enduring a lot of snotty treatment from coworkers, but what are we gonna do. We have to juggle so much, and that usually means feeling like you’re spread too thin, doing both jobs half-assed.It is so true that we can never really leave our children. I found that even when I could sneak away for a night out, I could never enjoy myself. My heart was always back home, in the crib with her.

  12. Oh, I’m so sorry. Hope you have a safe and quick trip home. Lovebug was finally weaned 3 months ago and we both still miss it sometimes. Before you know it, you will go on a trip and get text messages about how she ate an entire box of mac and cheese. Really.

  13. Geez, I hate being a half-ass mother and a half-ass employee, but ya know what? We’re hovering in the top one percent because our children are feed, napped, engaged (most of the time) and our clients are happy (most of the time.) Childhood isn’t long. I trust you’ve read “I Don’t Know How She Does It All.” Funniest, most accurate book ever!!

  14. I just remembered your birthday and came by to say hello. The offer stands, you can celebrate it way down here sometime. Sage can come too, or not. and we won’t care about what she’s eating, as much as who with, and where. imagine that. Happy birthday baby.

  15. Once, when my oldest was 6 months old, we planned to leave him overnight with my IL’s to attend a 4th of July party. Friends of ours have this lavish fete every year. It’s a huge deal. We hadn’t gone the year before because I was pregnant. I was REALLY looking forward to it. So I pumped for two months to get enough breastmilk to leave him overnight. We dropped him off in the afternoon and headed to the party. MIL called me around midnight to say that he would not take a bottle. But by then, I was terribly, terribly intoxicated (I hadn’t drunk a drop in a year and a half) and so was husband. We were in no condition to make the 40 mile drive to get him. He screamed all night long. And when I finally made it to IL’s house, hungover and sleep deprived from worrying, he latched on like a lamprey eel and drained me dry in like 4 minutes. I felt like a complete shitheel.The worst part? FIL threw out the breastmilk..like 2 QUARTS of the stuff, because it had separated and he thought it had “gone off”.But he doesn’t remember, and neither will Sage. And even if she did, she would forgive you. Wanting some time away does NOT make you a bad Mom. Your only crime is being human. Believe me, as a SAHM, there are days when I would have sold my soul to the devil to escape to a job.

  16. Here’s hoping you made in safely home last night, good mommy, and that Sage rewarded you by sleeping like an angel.

  17. Oh no! Man, I had the same problem when Holden was nursing. He would eat the *bare minimum* if at all & then spend all night nursing. I had to stop travelling for 9 months after my maternity leave.

  18. Dealing with the guilt of being away is hard enough, but then when she won’t eat? That’s so tough, and I thin I would have done the same thing.Starting next week, I’ll be away from Mira all day one day a week. As of now she still won’t take a bottle, and I’m worried she won’t eat anything on the days I’m gone. Hope you made it home safely to a little girl who really craved a meal straight from the tap.

  19. Hugs. So not fair, all of it. Sorry you didn’t get your sleep.My son would pretty much refuse to eat unless it was from the tap as well. We tried all kinds of nipples and bottles. Finally we started teaching him how to drink from a sippy and that got a little more in him when I wasn’t around.Hope you don’t need to do too much more traveling before she starts eating other foods!

  20. Cellphones, I.M.’ing — see, that’s the problem with Instantaneous Communication. Too much information. Bossy misses the days when she could go somewhere Unplugged.PS – there’s a Rosh Hashanah celebration going on over at Bossy’s blog…

  21. oh, i teared up. i’m so sorry. you’re great, you’re lovely, you’re the best kind of mom. i hope to be like you one day. hope it all works out.

  22. I feel ya. I’ve spent the last 3 days traveling. New nanny just started and so I had to drag my mom into town to oversee everything. The guilt from the cries of “mama” as I were leaving were terrible. And the bad carry-out dinner didn’t help. The awesome re-run of Sex in the City did. A little. There’s no good feeling when it comes to business travel away from your kids, I think.

  23. It’s so hard sometimes to give up what you want, what you need for your children. I’m sorry you had a tough day. Try not to feel guilty about wanting to be away. And you will get your time. Eventually.

  24. I hope you made that flight.I totally understand needing and wanting to be home, but also wanting be at that nice client dinner followed by a full night’s sleep. My first business trip away from Q involved not being able to pump successfully and being up all night, engorged. Ick.

  25. You’re not alone in the guilt. The first time I was away over night I couldn’t sleep because it was too quiet and the guilt was too much.When I got home I found out the boys hadn’t slept either and I felt terrible. The second time was a little easier because the boys were a little bigger and dad was a bit more confident.Now on the odd occasion when I do have to stay elsewhere overnight I manage to balance the guilt because I know that the few ours respite ensure that I come back refreshed and that I am a better (certainly more patient) mum as a result.Don’t be too hard on yourself, manipulation is an art form that children learn from birth (it seems)!

  26. Some day, whe sage is a teenager you are going to remind her of the time she needed you so much, you couldn’t even stay overnight on a business trip, you had to take the red eye home to get her to sleep.Some day, you’ll turn that guilt right around and hit her with it… and you’ll probably cry then too.

  27. Hey, wtf happened to the steak dinner and the cocktails? THAT BLOWS!!! My very first business trip away from my daughter, she and my husband both got flu. And I couldn’t sleep, which felt like a TOTAL rip off.

  28. you are one kickass chica, Liz. I wish for you several unbroken nights sleep, cocktails, and a fat steak dinner very soon. Can your company send you to Engerland?

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