May 12th 2019 was my first mother’s day. I’m not terribly into traditions, but it’s fun to recognize that, yes, I am now a mom. When my husband asked if I had a good first mother’s day, I searched my feels for a sentiment that simply didn’t exist, my face twisting in a silly sort of grimace-smile.
“Do you even care about mother’s day?” he asked.
“No,” I said, adding, “every day has been a good first mother’s day.”
Cheesy, I know, but it’s true.
Granted there are days I get tired of washing poopy diapers, but it’s not the diapers, it’s the being tied to routines that tend to drag me down. There’s security in routines, something grounding that I crave, but I’d like to try and make a new routine figuring out how to wash those diapers on the road. Big changes, slow living. That’s what I like. I’ll always need to break out, once in a while, and lately I’ve been reminding husband that if we don’t van-life soon I might crack, but he knows, and knowing him, he probably feels the exact same.
There are side-effects of mom-hood that are a bit bothersome. Like, when my back aches from leaning over the little one, her body propped on my knee, practicing our elimination communication, while I make “pssssss…. pssss…. psssss” noises until she goes to the bathroom. Or waking up with a numb hand every morning because holding baby has given me carpel tunnel. That time I got a clogged milk duct was really unpleasant, and… uhg!… **wipes milk off screen**…. I don’t enjoy when baby knocks the pump off the other boob and sticky milk goes flying everywhere, but all these things are temporary, and had I not just wrote them down here I might have forgot they ever plagued me.
Being a mom isn’t easy for everyone. The new schedule can be quite demanding. Especially if you’re cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and practicing elimination communication, all while keeping baby happy, stimulated, and rested in between. This is my job, being a parent. I do it full time.
Hobbies and habits before baby take back seat, and there are days this makes me feel trapped, especially when the sun is warm and abundant, and cyclist after cyclist breeze past my window. I ache for the freedom to jump on my bike and ride for a few hours, or ride at any hour… especially at dusk… so magic…. but… those days will come again, and for now I have the indoor trainer, and well, at least I get to watch the latest episode of Sabrina while I ride, naked baby jiggling in my arms all the while.
In truth, the only days I’ve had a problem with being a mom is when I’m fighting to mold baby to my schedule and not being fluid enough to mesh with hers. Because when I do relax and just let the day be about baby with the chance that I may have time for other things, I free my shoulders from the pressure of not being able to do it all. As it happens, there’s usually time for hobbies, I just need to be a little more creative, a little more efficient, and a little more patient with the process.
Yea… everyday is a good mother’s day because for every boring day there’s a challenging one to back it up. The combination of boring and challenging is interesting. Being a mom, is interesting. There’s also no getting away from the fact that I’m a mom now. I’m happy that I’m happy in my new skin.
After all, it was getting tiring carrying on the cool kid act. At 34, I was failing, had failed? Whatever. At some point in that last year, all I wanted to do was play normal and start a family. But I’m still trying to figure out this new me with my new priorities in the context of my voice, my independence, my creative expression. Those things can so easily get left behind in the routines, in family duties, if I’m not diligent about keeping them around.
Sitting here, typing my thoughts is my place to be alone, to enjoy my solitude, to hear my voice, and to digest my feelings. It’s important to maintain this independence. It’s so, so, so easy to get lost in the commotion of mom-hood, family stuff, and I don’t want to look back in 10 years and think, “man, why did I ever stop writing, sharing, creating.” We needn’t sacrifice our souls for our children. On the contrary, my daughter will need me to have a strong one. And when the time comes, she’ll need me to speak my truth, be my truth like a person who knows themselves – to share this with her so she can learn how to know herself, too. She’ll need me to show her, when she feels alone, or restless, uninspired, or sad; trapped, silenced, or frustrated, firstly, that, “aloneness” is the most sacred space of all – it’s here that we can truly be ourselves, and once we’ve created this permanent safe space to be ourselves, we can find new ways to express all those emotions, all those feels, and that all those feels are avenues to new forms of creation. She’ll need that.
Anyway, here’s to mother’s day, which is really celebrating that you have a baby day, which is every day – and isn’t it amazing.