Monday, February 8, 2010

Selfless vs. Selfish

Last week in a business meeting, a colleague made an unexpected comment.

He said "it's amazing how unselfish you are to feel uncomfortable leaving Hannah alone with someone else."

I had to think twice about that one.

My response "if anything, I am selfish for wanting to have some time to myself".

In retrospect, I didn't mean what I said. But I still am having trouble grasping the meaning of his statement.

To me, letting Hannah interact with other people is a good thing. Sure, I may miss out on some moments (like her inserting the K at the end of the word BOOK for the first time) but I'd rather her be an adaptable, friendly little girl. Don't get me wrong, if Hannah were in daycare it would be a whole other story as I am sure my separation anxiety (nots hers) would have me feeling very insecure. But I see how well she gets along with E, her babysitter, and it makes me happy. Happy to know that we are not tied at the hip. Happy to know that come September (when she officially begins daycare) it will be that much easier.

Now, I can't retract my retort but, like I said, in retrospect it is all wrong. Yes, I use my 6 "free" hours a week to run errands, walk Winston and do work, but I think this time is anything but selfish. I get the "dirty work" out of the way so I don't have to shlep Hannah in and out of the car seat all day. And though I am working most of the time, I am happy to be doing it for such a small number of daytime hours. No, six hours is not enough to match my previous income, but at least on weekends and in the evenings Hannah can bond with her dad.

Honestly, I don't think a mother can be selfish. From the day we know we have a little fetus growing inside our bellies, it is no longer about us. And I guess only time will tell when we start putting ourselves first again. I figure in a good 20 years sounds reasonable :)

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