I am blessed with a good night sleeper (for the most part). Once I put her down, I generally have somewhere between 10 and 12 hours to myself. Of course, most of those hours are when I get MY sleep, and usually at least an hour of that is cleanup from the day/prep for the next day, but I generally have at least a little bit of reliable spare time.
(I know single moms with kids that don't sleep well. HOW DO THEY DO IT?)
On very long days, I confess that I look forward to Elle's bedtime. That's bad, isn't it? To eagerly anticipate seeing her on the monitor, sound asleep, all tousled and rosy so that I can do something meaningful like watch bad TV? Shouldn't I want to spend Every Single Minute with her?
On one of the single mom message boards I read, there's a thread where women are sharing their birth stories. I love this; I'm a total sucker for it, and I love seeing how different everyone's path was. But there have been a few women who've said "Oh, I wouldn't let the baby out of my sight! I wouldn't let them take her to the nursery!" "I wouldn't let them bathe her-- I didn't want to miss her first bath!" etc., variations on that.
I remember being thrilled when they took Elle and bathed her, and having no problem when they had to take her to the nursery for various tests and things. You could look at this a couple of different ways, I guess.
How I look at it is that, regardless of whether I was (or am) with her every single minute of every single day, I have always been and will be her mother, and I love her. Did she take a few of her early steps at her babysitter's? Sure, and I don't mind a bit. I'm just glad she was walking. I know there are parents that don't want caregivers to tell them these things, so that they (the parents) can believe they're witnessing all the "firsts" themselves.
It may be unsentimental, but I'm just thrilled when Elle has a "first." If I'm the second person to see it, so be it-- I could be a stay-at-home mom and STILL be the second (or third or fourth) person to see a "first."
I'm her mother. I will always be her mother. No one else can ever say that. If I didn't watch her first bath, I'm pretty sure it didn't make our bonding more difficult. If I enjoy the time I have to myself after she goes to bed, it doesn't mean I don't love the time I do have with her.I am her mother, I love her, and all else is gravy, as my grandmother used to say.