I'll tell you what gives me road rage. Imagine having a hot dinner date with your hubby - the first in a long, long time - and being stuck in Atlanta rush hour traffic on a Friday with a baby wailing in her car seat. Then imagine trying to politely maneuver your car over a few lanes in an endless sea of traffic just so you could get off at an exit before your boobs burst.
This was my reality. Rae lost it and I knew I needed to nurse her, but I couldn't get to an exit until eight minutes after the start of her breakdown. And when I was trying to get over, no one would let me in. Well, my explosive boobs and I got angry and finally resorted to aggressive driving and cut our way between a clunky truck and a sleek sports car. I was oblivious to the honks or probable expletives I may have incited. I was on a mission. I had a hungry baby I had to feed.
After handling the minivan like a NASCAR pro and weaving in and out of lanes to make it off the exit as soon as possible, I saw a Waffle House and whipped into its deserted parking lot. There I rescued a sobbing infant. By this point, my breasts were aching. I cursed Atlanta traffic but finally started to relax as my little one, who has no understanding of insane traffic and was only wondering why her mommy didn't offer her the boob sooner, sucked vigorously and began to settle down.
Then it was back on the highway. More heinous traffic. More rude, maniacal, angry drivers. I called Dave and told him to move back the reservations and that I'd be home someday. I steered the Mother Ship over to the far left lane that seemed to be moving a little faster - maybe a speedy 10 mph - and that's when Baby Rae started wailing again. The boobs reacted like any good boobs would and began to tingle and leak. I wanted to scream or cry, lay on my horn or leap out of the minivan and start running home (it certainly would be faster). Instead, I took a deep breath and began to sing “Here I am Lord” to the baby (this song has always calmed me and I used to sing it to Madeline when she was an infant). Somehow I overcame the road rage, Rae’s crying eased up a bit and eventually – the total trip from my parents’ house where I was traveling from ended up taking two hours instead of its usual 45 minutes) – we made it home. Home sweet home. I promptly told Dave I hated this place and its ridiculous traffic and couldn't wait to move to some Podunk town in the middle of nowhere. Then, I snuggled with Rae, who immediately stopped crying once in my arms. I handed her over to her nana (Dave's mom) and got ready for our date.
Later that evening, I found myself sipping wine, dining on a salad called the "Greek Wedge" as well as chicken and tofu panang and charred corn with gouda and enjoying great conversation with the love of my life.
I could almost forget about the frazzled mess I was only hours before…until my breasts started tingling letting me know that Rae was probably ready to eat (Nana and Pop were equipped with a freezer full of breastmilk and a bottle).
Such is the life of a mom. Traffic jams mean added stress when you have a nursing infant for a traveling companion. A quiet, romantic dinner doesn’t mean you can forget you’ve got milky boobs or spit-up stained clothes piled high in the laundry basket at home. But that’s okay. This is who I am: Mom and I am so thankful for the job title.