A Hearty Hello, from Rhianna!

Rhianna and Arlo

Is it super nerdy to say right here, in my very first sentence of my very first post on The Other Baby Blog, that I am pretty darn stoked to be plucking out words in this space? I’ve been following The Other Baby Book on Facebook for many months now, quietly enjoying a spirit of camaraderie with my fellow mamas there who dare to question the mainstream parenting ethos. If you also follow TOBB (and if you don’t, you should), chances are that we have been nodding our heads together at the insightful commentary there, while drinking our much-needed morning coffee. And since we’ve been unknowingly sharing morning coffee and mental high-fives across the vast interwebs together all this time, perhaps a proper introduction is in order!

I am the sometimes-bedraggled, always-smitten mother of a rambunctious, moppy-tressed 15 month old boy named Arlo. About a year ago I quit my job as a hospital social worker a few days after returning from my maternity leave. I naively assumed that I’d sail through my back-to-work transition, that it might be a little difficult that first day, but that I’d acclimate and all would be well. Except it wasn’t. It sucked. I hunkered down in my office with a wad of tissues in one hand and a picture of my bebe in the other, and spent my time sobbing to the beat of my breast pump.

I had thoroughly underestimated the power of attachment, y’all, and I was unmoored and rudderless in the absence of my baby. In those preceding eleven weeks filled with the blissed-out closeness of babywearing, of nursing on cue, of honoring and responding to his needs, and of sharing sleep with him, I thought I was nurturing my son’s secure attachment to me. Turns out that attachment parenting fortified my attachment to him. I had never before imagined or expected to be a stay-home parent, but I quickly tendered my resignation with unfiltered relief and confidence that it was the right decision for me.

Parenting Arlo has been a total trip, a journey both exhilarating and exasperating. In this time I’ve realized–rather sharply–the necessity of good support, of communing and commiserating with like-minded parents. My parenting choices have sometimes left me feeling on the fringe, regardless of my conviction and committment. I’ve fielded skepticism from my pediatrician for declining and delaying certain vaccines. I’ve deflected criticism that I’m spoiling my child by holding him too much and responding to his crying. I’ve stood my ground in debates over why my husband and I chose to leave our son intact and why we share sleep. I’ve gotten the stink-eye from strangers for nursing my toddler in public.

Those experiences are irritating at best and compound a hard day of mothering at worst. And those experiences are precisely why I relish opportunities to connect with other folks who also embrace natural, gentle parenting approaches. I hope that is what you can find here with me at The Other Baby Blog:  a space for connection, community, support and solidarity.  Okay, and maybe a dash of nerdiness and excitement here and there, too.

Rhianna is blogging in the middle of her relocation to St. Louis, where she hopes to find other mamas who share her her nerdy enthusiasm for new blogging ventures,  old Nancy Drew hardbacks, wool dryer balls, and cloth diaper-friendly diaper balm.


Comments

A Hearty Hello, from Rhianna! — 5 Comments

  1. Hi! I enjoyed your post. I can really relate to how you felt about trying to go back to work. I was a nurse working full-time when I had my first child almost 7 years ago, and I also thought it wouldn’t be so difficult to return. Long story short, I ended up becoming a per-diem nurse, only working 4 hour shifts once a week. It was even heart-breaking for me to leave my babies for those 4 hours at the beginning. I thought being per-diem would be a temporary solution, and that I would start working more as my children (I now have 3) got older, but I’ve found that I still need to be with them almost all the time. It has been hard, because I love being a nurse, and I know that my career has been on hold. I know someday I will work more, but I don’t regret the decision to stay home, and I’m grateful I have the option.

    • Hi, Amanda! Yep, I was totally suckerpunched about the back-to-work thing. I tried to scratch up some PRN work, too, with the hopes of finding some compromise between my desire to be home and my desire to cultivate my professional sense of self. It didn’t really come together, but in hindsight I am super thankful for that. I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to return to the out-of-home workforce, and I, too, feel incredibly fortunate that we’ve been able to get by on a single income over the last year. Thanks for your comment!

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