An Open Letter to My Husband After Paternity Leave: Please Don’t Go

Dear Husband,

I can’t believe after six years of marriage, you’ve left me. Alone. Well, I’m not alone in the literal sense. I’m the only adult with an infant and bulldog kind of alone. And they’re both real needy. Jesus, take the wheel.

Granted, you left me to go back to work and provide for our family, but still - the sting of your abandonment hurts more than my nipples that are getting worked over by someone extremely tiny with surprisingly strong gums.

Perhaps you’re a little surprised I’m begging you to stay. After three longs weeks holed up in our apartment in our soiled pajamas, wandering around sleep deprived and on the brink of madness, I started to slip into a less charitable mood. Last Thursday, when I was feeding our precious baby girl while she was pooping and farting on me like John Goodman, you burped in the kitchen with a bass that could shatter glass. And then you laughed.

I wanted you dead.

Not like - for real dead. Who would make the late night runs for food and a tub of lanolin? Plus I had my hands full with a nursing baby, so the most damage I could cause was throwing the breast pump at your head. Whatever, my point is, I need you alive. I just felt like I was living in squalor and you were a part of the problem, not the solution. A woman who lost the will to care if it's poop or mustard on her finger doesn’t have access to grace like the rest of the population.

The first morning of your absence, I was afraid, but felt confident we could make it without you. I had food and enough lanolin to heal a cow’s utters - how hard could it be? Then I sat down to nurse our baby. After she was all settled and eating, I realized the remote control wasn’t within reach. How could I sit for a half hour (minimum!) without so little as a House Hunters Renovation to get me through? That’s fine, I thought. I’ll just think important thoughts while she eats.

As I was thinking important thoughts (like realizing I didn't have enough K-Cups to get me to noon and started to sweat), the breastfeeding thirst hit me like a tidal wave to the face. This is where I would ask you to get me an ice water and then glare at you until you dropped what you were doing to run into the kitchen. Since you abandoned me, I was left to die of thirst. A bleak acceptance trickled down my bones. It was me, Lucy and Bruno - against the world, thirsty and without a remote.

Our prognosis was grim.

After Lucy was done eating, I realized I needed to use the bathroom in every way possible. I put her in the swing where she immediately started scream crying like I had placed her on hot coals. She may have inherited my intolerance for betrayal. I had a choice to make - leave her screaming for who knows how long or take her into the war zone with me.

I couldn’t take the screaming, so I picked her up in to my arms and lovingly whispered, “Just be glad you’re not going to remember this.” As we ran into the bathroom, I felt like I was on an episode of Naked and Afraid, where all human dignity is thrown out the window in favor of survival.

What was once so simple and natural had become a monumental feet of grit and determination. Have you ever tried to pull down your pants with one hand while the other hand holds a squiggly tiny human with pathetic neck control? There was no room for error - a 100% success rate was my only option.

After we emerged victorious from the bathroom, we quickly stumbled upon my worst nightmare. Bruno, our bulldog, was at the door politely asking to be taken out to go potty in -5 degree weather. I considered panicking, but thought I’d rather burst into tears instead. Luckily, I remembered we had an action plan to call Mom (who lives in our building) and have her watch the baby while I take him out. I grabbed the phone and called her, but she didn’t answer. I’ll just give her a few minutes, I thought. I waited a bit then tried again. No answer. I grew hot and started judging her. Let me guess, out yucking it up with her girlfriends while her daughter suffers? How dare she not be available to her adult child at all times!

I started to feel something tickling my frazzled nerves and realized it was Bruno putting some oomph into his whines. I cursed the day we decided to live downtown with no access to a backyard. Why did you let me have what I want by living here? Make better decisions next time, okay? I beg you.

Finally, as I was watching a YouTube tutorial on how to teach a dog to use a toilet, Mom called back. Apparently she was on the other line. I’ll let God deal with the fact she didn’t click over, I have a newborn to worry about. She came down and watched the baby and I was able to take our dog potty, but can you see what going back to work to pay our bills is doing to our family? 

I’m starting to discover, like most things, parenting is a “jump into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim” situation. My only option is to doggy paddle through the thick of it, all while thinking this is surely the end. You can’t always be my David Hasselhoff, throwing me a life preserver so I can wash the spit up out of my cleavage. But a girl can dream, right?

All I can say is, please don’t go. I love you. I miss you. I need you. But if you must, I’ll have dinner for you when you come home. LOL! Yeah right, pick up some Chinese food - I’m starving. Thanks.