They had perfectly reasonable suggestions about lowering my expectations, keeping it simple, and making plans to keep from going stir crazy.
This tip came from my friend Molly, a mom of two, and thus an expert:
Think about one thing you might do if it were just you on your own, or perhaps if you were going to play host to a dear friend who you rarely see and wanted to impress. Visit a museum with an important art show? Take a drive to a beautiful place and go for a hike to see the magnificent view? Go to a cafe and chat with the strangers at the tables nearby just to feel the buzz of the city?
Now then – dive in and do that thing with your boy even if it seems like it might be stressful. I promise, it won’t be.
It will be fantastic and fulfilling because it will be the first time you intentionally planned something for your shared enjoyment and edification. A touchstone for all the many many times you will do things together, just you two, in the coming years.
Not wanting to let Molly or myself down, I saddled up the boy with most of his corresponding gear and we tried a new brunch spot, just the two of us. Brunch is my happy place. I willed myself to make it happen with my baby as my date. Me with a cocoa and him in his nasty highchair. We flirted with folks at other tables and shared our food. He ate some of my pancakes, scrambled eggs, and strawberries (I did have to pull the pancakes and strawberries apart in a decidedly un-adult fashion) while I licked some of his cheesy cauliflower off my hands.
That was nearly nine years ago. Now Holden has two younger brothers, and breakfast in a restaurant is usually more trouble and money than it is worth, but sometimes on the weekend, we sneak off for brunch, just the two of us.
What would you do with your baby if you treated him like a dear friend you wanted to impress? Now, go do it!