My husband and I have a pretty unique situation in that we both work at home with two kids under two. Meaning, all four of us are under one roof almost every single hour of every single day without a break. (My toddler goes to half-day daycare Monday through Friday so we can work.)
So far, this pressure cooker dynamic is actually working pretty well for us. No one has smothered anyone with a pillow yet, and we are slowly figuring out a balance in co-parenting. But… there is literally no such thing as a break.
Being able to tag team two kids between two parents is pretty ideal because you aren’t outnumbered. But when both of those parents never, ever leave the house, it can leave you feeling a little crazy. So, even though our kids are 21 months old and 5 months old, we decided to book a four day weekend vacation to see my sister and some friends in Colorado for my thirtieth birthday.
Leading up to the big weekend, I was a total maniac. I had all of these worries about how both kids would do with my mom, even though she raised three kids herself. I had the classic mom anxiety where I was convinced that my 5-month-old would only eat and sleep for me. I wrote my mom an extensively detailed schedule that probably made her want to stab a fork in her eye, but she was kind enough to play ball and take over for me.
After we got on the airplane, most of my anxiety vanished. After I downed a few beers at lunch, I was feeling 100%. Of course, I’m still a control freak, so I toyed with the idea of drunk texting my mom to find out exactly what the babies were doing. (How many ounces did he eat? What did his poop look like? When did he wake up from his nap?)
Fortunately, my husband intervened and forced me to put down the phone. He wanted me to chill out and unplug to show my mom that I trusted her and to help me soothe my constantly overscheduled brain. It took a day or two, but his tactic worked.
I had a few moments of clarity to realize that the world won’t stop spinning if I’m away from my children. My kids aren’t going to drop dead if I don’t feed them X amount of breast milk or a specially prepared, ultra-nutritious dinner every night of the week.
Being forced not to check in helped me to unplug my anxious mom brain that is always churning with what needs to be done next, what worst-case scenario could possibly occur, and what I need to do to keep my kids happy and safe. The good news is that they are probably going to be happy and safe the majority of the time, even if I’m not there.