Well, we did it -- we survived Greta's first public outing. Today we ventured to the zoo. The 80-degree weather was too tempting to resist. Greta soaked up every bit of it. The sights and sounds of all the new people and voices. The animals, of course. The little children riding the carousel. The fresh air. She seemed to really enjoy herself, if her wide eyes and lack of interest in napping were any indication. Since being cooped up all winter, Greta seems to especially appreciate any break from the norm, especially when it involves people other than her mama. She just no longer finds me entertaining. I don't blame her.
I never realized what a fiasco it is to get myself and another human being out of the house. I woke up in the morning at 5 a.m., and from that point on, I played out the morning's schedule in my mind. When would she eat, when would she nap, when would I shower? I made list after list in my mind. What to pack, when to leave home, how to dodge highway 40 construction, what's the most efficient way to get to the zoo. I wanted to be prepared.
Since we rarely leave the house, I don't keep a diaper bag packed and ready-to-go. So, as Greta napped, I quickly showered and then ran around the house half-naked, gathering necessities. Diapers, check. Wipes, check. Blanket, teething toy, check check. Soy bars, bottled water, cell phone, wallet, camera -- all packed.
As I was leaving the house, I realized, I had just a few dollars in cash in my wallet. (Hello, parking money?? What if we needed a snack?)
And I didn't have sunscreen.
Or a hat to protect her face.
And then I got nervous about breastfeeding in public. After all, I've really only nursed in the comforts of my own home where no one cares whether I'm discreet when whipping out my boob.
I was running late, and so I worried about meeting my friend late and her possibly being mad. And what if I couldn't find a parking spot and what if I couldn't find my friend and her children once inside the zoo, and and and. What if. That was how my mind's frazzled thoughts played out.
Please remind yourself, I've NEVER done this before. This was our first "field trip."
As soon as I got Greta strapped in the stroller, I started to feel some relief and gain a little confidence. I could do this. We headed into the zoo, found our friends, and I finally felt I could relax and let it all go. All the stress and the worry and the anxiety of wondering if I was capable of being a mom OUTSIDE the four walls of my house.
Turns out, I am perfectly capable of doing the public mom thing. Maybe I wasn't perfect at it, maybe I should have been more discreet when nursing, and maybe I should have put the brake on the stroller so it wouldn't have rolled down the hill (Note, Greta was not in the stroller at the time!), and maybe I talked incessantly (I'm a little rusty in the realm of adult conversation). Maybe next time I'll bring sunscreen for Greta's never-seen-the-sun porcelain skin and won't have to borrow. Maybe next time, I'll reassure myself that I survived the time before, and by golly, I'll get through it again.