I spent two nights away from Emmett this week while I went to an out-of-town training for work. It's funny, on the second night, I went out to dinner with some other women doing the same training and when I mentioned it was my first time being away from my kid, one woman said, "Me too."
"Oh, how old is your kid?" I asked.
"Nine." I don't think I would really want to be someone who'd never been away from her kid until age nine, but in a lot of ways, it did feel like it was too soon to be apart.
I spent a lot of time and effort getting ready for the trip, including advance meal prep. I'd been doing extra pumping whenever possible during the weeks beforehand. While Adam and the day care providers knew I was OK with Emmett having formula during this time apart if need be, I was hoping it wouldn't be necessary. I'm happy to report that it did turn out that we were able to feed Emmett using the freezer stash and our assortment of solid foods. Another woman I met during training told me about the book of instructions she'd left for her husband, but that didn't seem necessary in our case; Adam's already directly experienced with every aspect of baby care other than lactating.
While I was away, pumping was a major hassle. During the daytime, I could only really manage to pump during the hour-long lunch break (and even then, I was rushing back to the hotel and eating fast food in order to get back in time) because the morning and afternoon training sessions only had 15 minutes breaks and it usually takes me at least 20 minutes to do any worthwhile pumping. I started running out of containers to put expressed milk in and ended up using Odwalla drink containers and things like that. For the last day, when we checked out of the hotel in the morning but didn't finish training until noon, I bought a cooler and made my own ice packs out of ziploc bags and hotel ice cubes. (Lesson learned: Always travel with lots of ziploc bags. You never know when you'll need them.)The training was in driving distance, so at least I didn't have to deal with taking the milk on a flight. I have to say that the whole aspect of fitting pumping into the schedule meant that I was distracted and that things felt rushed during the few breaks that we had.
With all of these constraints, there was definitely an aspect of "hoo boy, this all had better be worth it!" And luckily, the training was good in that every session had a good presenter and a lot of useful information. A lot of it involves further reading, which I suppose I'll get to when Emmett starts graduate school or at some point like that. One of the things that's hard is that I felt like I had to go this year since the state budget situation for next year is pretty bleak and the likelihood of going to an expensive training then is unlikely. And hey, it was only two nights away.
It was so strange yesterday when I did my first diaper change after getting back, to realize, "I've gone a whole two days without changing a diaper!" I am slightly surprised at how glad I am to be back to doing mommy stuff. For example, at midnight Lucy woke me up wanting to go out and do her doggy business. She was having some digestion issues and I knew that she really had to go, and while I was also sort of reveling in that "I love being in my own bed" feeling, once I was up and we were out, I thought to myself, "You know, it really is sort of nice to be needed."