I was asked a few times if I felt relaxed during this trip to Australia, and my immediate answer every single time has been “no.” It’s not that I don’t like being here. I love being here in the Southern hemisphere summer. I love exploring new areas, going to new places, eating different things. I like spending time with Chris’s parents and the rest of his family (at least, most of the rest of his family). But given I have still been working East Coast US hours and am also in full-time childcare mode, it hasn’t been that relaxing. Back in New York, I used to rely on the nanny five days a week to do Kaia’s solid feeds 3 times per day, most of her diaper changes, and her baths two out of three times a week. Now, I do all her baths, a lot of her diaper changes, and the majority of her solid feeds. And while the nanny had the controlled environment of a high chair in our own home, I’ve had to deal with her solid food eating in the company of many family members, plus at endless restaurants, which means… distraction, distraction, distraction.
Chris’s brother commented on the amount of food she was eating and said, “That’s going to take at least 45 minutes to an hour for her to get through!” He was in shock.
And I said, “Um, yes. She usually eats for 45 to an hour at home. And that doesn’t include the time to prepare the food and warm it up, set her up in the high chair, clean her up after, and then clean all the dishes, the tray, and everything she got all over the splat mat and floor after.”
“No wonder you say you don’t have any time to yourself on the weekends at home!” his brother lamented. “Once you finish feeding her and cleaning her up, she’s ready to eat AGAIN!”
She can’t self feed as much outside because Chris doesn’t approve of the mess that she makes (well, she’s a baby? She doesn’t know how to eat cleanly or with cutlery yet!). And while eating out is occasionally fun with her, after a while, it gets a bit wearing, and it makes me empathize with parents who just kind of give up and eat at home most of the time and don’t go anywhere. Do I agree with their choice to be boring and not go anywhere or let their young children experience new places and things? No. But I get why they would be totally exhausted and just avoid it as much as possible because I’m exhausted.
“There is no such thing as a real vacation if your baby is with you,” said one of my mom friends.
She isn’t totally wrong.