• Deirdre Maloney

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

It has been a few years since Jon and I have spent quality time alone. Our relationship was starting to turn into typical mom and dad roles and leave behind the wild lovers we once were. It was starting to become scary that sex was so scarce. So, of course, I planned a relationship rescue. We were just weeks away from heading off on a 7-week family vacation and I thought we should take some “us” time beforehand. When I first mentioned this to him, he thought the “us” was himself, myself, and our beloved Kayden, who was 6 months old and attached to my boob most of the day and definitely all night. No. Not that us.


I was talking about the & you and & I us that we haven’t seen for a while. Well, it didn’t take more than one sentence for him to jump on board. We started planning our little adventure away: Las Vegas here we come! Now, most people go to Las Vegas to stay up late, party, and be a little reckless. I was going to sleep, relax, and hopefully have some good sex with my husband. Because honestly, it was a use it or lose it situation and we were most definitely lost. Being in a healthy marriage, we were in the 2-3 times per week club and since the 4th babe, things have changed and slowed down ... a little too much.


My husband is great at planning things. All things. Where to live, what to eat, how to invest our life savings, and so on. He’s also a master planner at vacations. He had flights booked, the hotel picked, and I’m sure a mental itinerary of how the trip would go. Two weeks later, we are saying good-bye to the little ones and scrambling out the door before anyone could take my guilt from a level 5 to 10 within a second flat. When you’re a mom of 4, with severe sleep deprivation, things don’t always go to plan.


It starts on the way down to the airport. We have a 1.5 hr drive in morning rush hour traffic: it was already feeling a little stressful. Fifteen minutes away, my husband turns to me and says “you have your passport, right?”


Holy shit. No, I absolutely do not have my passport. He drops the F-bomb about 20 times in all sorts of different pitches. He’s on the verge of completely boiling over. Nothing irks him more than wasting time.


So, whose fault is it? When we travel as a family, which we always do, I can’t remember the last time we were alone together, the passports travel together as a group. We count them. There should be 5 or 6 and we’re good to go. I assumed we would do the same thing on this trip. Well ... that he would do the same thing on this trip. Count 2 passports, good to go.



Jon assumed that I was coming on this trip as a responsible adult, able to take care of my own passport. Bah! Was he mistaken. $500 later and an extra 2 hours in the car, the problem was solved. We were arriving in time for dinner instead of lunch, but at least we were arriving.


Time to let it go and relax, right?


Wrong! Now, I mentioned the 6-month-old baby that lives on my boob. Leaving him behind meant replacing him with the god-awful breast pump. I would pump multiple times a day while I was away to keep up my supply for this little demon, I mean darling, that I’ve left behind.


Our 10 hr travel day turned into a 14 hr travel day, and I’m here to tell you that you can survive engorged breasts for that long.


At the 10 hr mark, I decide it’s time to release some liquid gold: I’m uncomfortably engorged, and can’t imagine holding off for another few hours. I’m going to do it right here, on the plane, in my seat, because I am a breastfeeding mom, no shame!


Blanket? Check. Breast pump plugged in? Check. Milk storage bags? Check. Breast shields? .... Oh shit. I forgot them. This is bad. Very bad. How could I forget them? I am seriously questioning my state of mind at this point. I think I needed this vacation more than I realized. Honey, our first stop in Vegas ain’t going to be for a martini and blackjack. It’s going to be Walmart so that I can pick up something that I have 8 of at home!




We hop in the taxi with our luggage and head straight to Walmart. I run in, find the baby aisle and of course, they have every Medela product except the one I need. Ugh!!! Alright, I need to pump. I have to figure this out. A new electric pump is $300, or I can buy a hand pump for $30. Hand pump it is. I had no clue what I was in for. After 10 minutes of manual pumping, I had one ounce. I was trying really hard to keep my cool. I start looking up other shops in the area that carry Medela products. Jon is not having it; patience isn’t really his strong suit, specially when he's hungry. He really amazes me at how well he can get shit done in a pinch. He takes apart my hand pump and figures out how to attach it to my electric pump, and it works!! Yay! We are in the milk business! Cheers to that. And to finally breaking the dry spell in the bedroom.


....be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for not being perfect.

Our trips away are often full of these bloopers, but when we look back on them they become the fondest memories. Joy in the struggle. And the struggle is real; it’s with us every day. So be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for not being perfect. Be willing to laugh at yourself, you surely will when you stroll down memory lane. Remember that these mistakes make the best stories five years down the road.

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