Wednesday, August 27, 2008

on motherhood

i am still getting used to the idea that i am someone's mother. there are days when i can't believe it. there are other days when it's all i want to be. there are days when i am silently missing having time for myself. it's more of a roller coaster than anything i have ever experienced in my whole life. and i knew it would be. but after these first few months, here is what stands out to me about it all. in summary...

1) nothing anyone tells you will prepare you to be a mother. also. you have your own opinions on how it should be done, and they will not agree 100% with anyone else's opinions about it. people are glad to tell you what THEY think, but in the end, you will do what you know in your gut is the right thing for you and for your family. and you silently wish for everyone to shut up. and sometimes you feel judged. but then your kid smiles at you and at everyone else, and you feel proud, and you think--i'm not sucking so bad at this.

2) i have never been so close to panic so often as i have the past four months. i am afraid for kieran every minute of every day that i let myself be. at least once every night, i have to mentally tamp down the panic attack that threatens to totally obliterate me. what if i suck? what if he dies in his sleep? what if he chokes? what if he wrecks a car or drives drunk or is the target of an attack or a serial killer or a disease? it's a whirling mass of fear that i carry in my gut with me now. i am sure i will have this until the day i die. most of the time i can wrangle that mess onto the back burner, but some days...whew...

3) breastfeeding is a full time job for two months. anyone who tells you otherwise hasn't done it. it sucks and it's all consuming and you are nailed down under that baby for what feels like every minute of every hour of every day. but it's so sweet and awesome, too. after those first two months, it gets a boatload easier, but it's still hard sometimes, especially when you have to work. there is a special place in hell for the inventor of the breast pump to which i hook myself three times a day. i feel like a cow, and i hate it, but i keep it up because i want the precious milk for my baby. that stuff is liquid gold, especially when you are a shitty producer like i am.

4) being a mother who works outside the home sucks. i am envious of mothers who get to be at home with their children. i am envious of my nanny for getting so many of the good hours with the critter. i would give anything for his care to be MY care, even though i know he's getting awesome care from her, too. i miss him. and i want to make a good home for him, which feels almost impossible to do from the office chair. the worst days are the slow ones when i don't have enough to do--that just makes me feel like i am wasting my time. speaking of...

5) what i lack is time. time with the baby, time with the hippie, time to clean the house, time to plant a bush in the yard, time to paint my toenails, time to read, time to knit, time to organize ANYTHING, or put together the stuff i bought at ikea a month ago or finish any of the 1000 half-done projects i have all over the house. i know that this will get better, but sometimes it wears very thin. and i know everyone goes through this same thing. i can't seem to find a balance between being a good mother, a good partner, and a whole woman unto myself--i KNOW all three are important. i am working on this, and i think i will be working on it for along time to come. i need a new "normal." and i'm just not quite there yet.

and yet...

all of that--and more than that--all of the things that threaten to crush and overwhelm...and yet...it's just amazing. there are no words sufficient to the task of describing what it's like to wake up with this little creature by my side. to watch him developing and learning and soaking up this huge new world he's in. there are no words for the love you feel or the gladness with which you shoulder the responsibility for him. there are no words for the joy his laugh can bring. and the fact that he looks to me with utter trust for his love and support and care--well, that's overwhelming, too. i feel like every cliche. he is worth it all.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to motherhood!:) If anyone can find the balance you will, you know how balanced and organized I am, lol. Swore some day I would have the MOST organized home, well, you've been here:) Console myself with the fact there are other things more important, like that smile. Oh, and that feeling of panic, make it your friend, say lotsa prayers, ESPECIALLY with the critters family background and i mean that from BOTH sides of our families:) Love you~NannaNise

Anne Lindenfeld said...

What a great posting. You hit motherhood on the head for me -- and I have a tween. It does feel like I send the most precious part of me out into the world everyday. I have to tamp down those doom and gloom disaster fantasies, something I wish I was better at.

Only one piece of unsolicited advice to me: The money spent on hiring a housekeeper to come and clean our house was the best I ever spent. Having time to love my kid, hubbie, and dog is just worth the money.

Anonymous said...

jackie - you are my hero for being able to find time for it all, even though i know you feel like it's not balanced at all times. i definitely struggle with finding time to spend with everyone and still do things like get dressed, comb my hair and actually feel like i'm somewhat put together! i remember those days you're talking about - when you have a few minutes and you're trying to decide "do i eat/cook, shower, do smoething to make myself look better like paint my nails, read or do i sit on the couch, wondering how long do i have before the baby needs me?" and, when i think about the time i spent with the first baby versus the twins, it'll be a wonder all three kids don't end up on springer due to the changes in their babyhoods! anyhow, i'm babbling but great job on the first several months and good luck on the next. the great thing about this job is that the little guy who gives you your review also thinks you hung the moon! kimmie