Spending Time with My Little Family

During my pregnancy, I was told that the key to a healthy relationship after having a baby was spending at least a couple nights a month together as a couple. Unfortunately, that’s a lot easier said than done. At the beginning, I had a high needs baby who needed to be held, comforted, and loved every second that she was awake. She became upset if I was out of her sight for too long and finding a reliable babysitter was difficult. I found a job working from home in order to keep us both happy, between her separation anxiety and my postpartum depression and anxiety.

I long for a night out with my boyfriend without the baby, but without a babysitter we can count on and trust, and without her being able to be away from me for more than five minutes at a time, it’s pretty much impossible for us to spend any time together without her. I’m hoping that over the course of the next few months, she’ll begin to grow a bit less dependent on needing her mommy around all the time. Don’t get me wrong: I love my daughter, I love being a mom, and I love that I have the option of staying home with her, but I believe my relationship is important, too. Especially now that we have a child together.

Since we don’t really get one-on-one time anymore, except maybe a bit before bed, we still manage to find time to go out as a family. Money is tight, but we’ve been finding things to do once a week that cost little or nothing. It’s nice to get out of the apartment for a little while and put everything else on the back burner for a couple of hours and just focus on the three of us as a family. I think it’s good for her, too, because she becomes a little more comfortable with new people each time too.

At the very last minute, we decided last Sunday, August 18, that we’d take the little miss out to some botanical gardens that aren’t too far away from where we live. Admission is free and they claim to be open until sunset; we arrived with only a couple of hours of daylight left. The only problem with these weekly outings is that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find something we haven’t done before or something that doesn’t cost money. Parks are usually a good option, but those get pretty dull after a while, you know?

We packed up the baby and the stroller, grabbed a couple of sodas from Speedway, and made our way there. I was excited. It was a place that I’d never been, nor had I even heard of, and while I hoped that R would have a good time, I have to admit, this outing was probably a lot more for me and her father than it was for her. She seemed to have a good time, though, and she was a happy camper when we left. She slept just about the entire way home, which is a good thing. I remember babysitting a friend’s daughter once and when I brought her back to her parents, exhausted from our day at the mall and having spent a significant amount of time napping in my car, her mother told me, “You wore her out. That means you did something right! You’ll make a good mom someday.” Those words stuck with me for some reason.

The place is amazing, and for the very low price of free, I couldn’t have been happier with the experience. We didn’t get to see it all, as the grounds are huge, but we did get to explore a big chunk of it, both inside and out. Outside, they have various trails that you can walk and all kinds of cool plants that line the walkways. There’s a little river that runs through and I got really excited when I saw a sign for a “labyrinth” hidden back down one of the trails. Imagine my disappointment when we didn’t come across a maze, but patches of grass made to go in this sort of loop with three large rocks in the center of it. As you can see from the photo, it’s not really what I expected. Apparently, it’s supposed to be a calming exercise; there’s a beginning and you walk the little path in between the grass until you get to the middle, which is the end. I don’t really understand it, but it was kind of cool. A maze would have been cooler though.

After walking down one of the trails for a while, we stopped at the building near the entrance, where they have a greenhouse. They have three different sections: one for tropical plants, one for desert plants, and one for a mixed variety of plants. The tropical section was, by far, the coolest. It had a neat little pond at the beginning and it stayed relatively cool, despite the warm weather outside and the fact that it was a greenhouse. There was even a little waterfall. In the “mixed” area, there was a pond with some fish in it that R seemed to enjoy watching. There’s a plethora of plants in the building, and I honestly didn’t learn a single thing from the trip, but it was fun anyway.

We’re probably going back there tomorrow to catch some of the stuff we missed.

I love my little family. Our “family time” is the thing I look forward to most during the week, and it’s some of the most important time we can all spend together, away from the distractions of work and technology and the housework we have to do. The time together reminds me how lucky and grateful I am to have these two people in my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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