Stepping out

Shopping, music, cooking and playing is all in week's work with Mommy and Archer
Shopping, music, cooking and playing is all in week's work with Mommy and Archer

Baby UFC onesieFor the first four weeks of Archer’s life, I really didn’t leave my house. Heck, I don’t think I could have, even if I had wanted to.

As you near the end of your pregnancy, you stop sleeping. It’s just too uncomfortable. Then you go into labour. Mine was 36 hours. It’s really hard to sleep when you’re in labour. Then you get the baby, go home and guess what, still no sleep. By the end of week one of Archer’s life, I’d hazard to guess I had not slept more than three consecutive hours for about a month.

Getting out to do anything was next to impossible. Plus, it was a special time. My husband took a couple weeks off, followed by the all-important visit by my mom to teach me the tricks of the trade — we were working on how to be a family — all while, incidentally, watching the entire first season DVD set of HBO’s acclaimed series The Wire. (What? We needed to do something while Archer was nursing or napping and really, nothing says “family” more than a gritty television drama about Baltimore’s inner-city drug culture, right?)

Anyway…by the end of week four, after my husband went back to work and my mom went back home, I looked at Archer and said, “Now what?” This is where becoming a type-A lawyer really comes in handy when you’re a new mom. I needed a plan. I needed strategy. I needed a BlackBerry with Outlook. I internalized the fact that I have a job. A really tough job. And I wasn’t going to take this lying down (well, not unless I could actually get in a nap or two).

So right from the get-go, sleep or no sleep, like a lawyer, I started to plan out my weeks with Archer. And Mondays, for pretty much every Monday since Archer was born, became Dufferin Mall day.

When I tell people that my first trip with Archer outside the house was to Dufferin Mall, I am often met with blank stares. For those who don’t live on the west side of Toronto, let me tell you about Dufferin Mall. Actually, let their latest ad campaign speak for itself — the poster is of a fairly stylish woman and the caption reads: “Dufferin Mall. Really.” The mall used to be somewhat of a dicey place. And you can still see traces of this if you go now, as evidenced by the booth I recently saw at the mall which was selling baby UFC onesies — as in Ultimate Fighting Championship onesies. For babies.

But despite the odd hiccup like this, Dufferin Mall has come a long way. There’s an H&M, a Winners, a Second Cup. Nice old ladies smile at you and your baby. So, why the heck wouldn’t this be our first outing and our regular Monday destination?

Well, to be clear, Dufferin Mall day is really grocery shopping day. And said grocery shopping is being done with a list, and even coupons every week, at either No Frills or…gulp…Walmart. To be good to the environment and my psyche, I try to pick up some fresh produce at the local farmer’s market, but when you start seeing what an E.I. cheque looks like without top-up, you realize your days at Whole Foods are numbered.

But what of the rest of the week? Tuesdays, as you know from last week’s column, is our music class, Wednesday we take a baby cooking class (okay, a baby food cooking class) and Thursday is Movies for Mommies — where you can enjoy movies in a real theatre while eating popcorn and nursing at the same time (this takes quite a bit of coordination).

And Fridays? This day is where I leave the overachieving lawyer out of it. Fridays are a free day where maybe we go to the park, maybe we go for a walk with our dog, maybe we just stay home and play and cuddle. Not surprisingly, Friday has become our favourite day of the week.

Next week: Trying (and failing) to stay away from work while on mat leave.

Christina Litz is a lawyer on parental leave from working business development at TELUS. She’s guest blogging for us this month about life with her son, Archer.