baby / family / myself

Woman

My good friend, the Incredible Exploding Head, just wrote a great piece about being a Woman. Mostly having to do with being a Mother vs. Not. She got me thinking about my own mother-ness.

I had a rough day. I’ve had a rough series of days. I shouldn’t: I have a sweet, funny baby who is very easy going, a devoted and kind husband, a comfortable home, some interesting work. Even friends. In town. Nearby!

But I have very little time that is my own. Which I expected when I decided to have a baby. But I didn’t realize how intense it would be to be needed all the time.

I think of myself as an introvert and an extrovert. I usually feel shy, not quite knowing what to say, but at the same time, wanting to be with people. I used to (wait, I still do) work/write at a cafe, not in my home office (what home office – ha!). I like taking classes. I like sitting in audiences. I don’t really like talking in front of people (acting is different…).

The introvert part of me needs alone time to reboot. A 7 minute shower every morning isn’t enough.

Most people don’t talk about this part of being a mother. The part where you stop being you.

I keep thinking to myself, when Abraham goes to school, I will practice yoga for real. I will start a theatre company. I will read books quickly. I will be me again.

This is a terrible approach. I am me. I am the same person who wanted to have a baby in the first place. If I put myself on the shelf (sorry for that rhyme), how can I be a good mother, dare I say my ideal mother, for Abraham? How can I be a good wife, step mother, friend, anything? Much less artist, teacher, leader…

I feel terrible every time I leave Abraham with a babysitter or even David, because I love leaving. I love going to the coffee shop with my laptop and writing. I love going to the yoga studio and teaching. I love meeting my friend for lunch and brainstorming theatre ideas for the company we want to get off the ground.

Which is not to say that I don’t love being with him. I do. I do so much. I love watching him discover the world. I love that when he cries a little, it shocks me because I think of him as a person not really a baby. I love watching him eat, sleep, poop, laugh, read…everything. But I love it most when I feel most like myself. Which is when I spend some time taking care of my, not him, not David, not anyone else.

I wish I could do both and not feel bad about either.

So, like the Head, who got my brain going in the first place (Head, you are so good at that. I miss you!),  I want to make the next part of my like pretty fucking cool. In Reading, PA.

I’ve got to figure out how to start.

11 thoughts on “Woman

  1. Yes, I think many (if not all?) moms feel this way. I think it is the hardest thing about having a baby. Still remember me and Jason trying to enjoy a book and coffee at a bookstore with baby Faye. It was a disaster and not relaxing at all. We used to love it there!

    First, try not to hate yourself for enjoying time alone – w/o Abraham. It is good for both of you. Also, remember it gets easier with time. Babies are the most demanding people on earth. As they get older you don’t have to spend so much time taking care of thier every need. And over time, you also learn how to be both yourself for yourself and a mom. This is why I started marathoning and why I still train for and run one per kid.

    • You are such a mom-role-model Shannon. When Abraham and I came to your house for dinner, you handled 3 kids with so much ease. And I love your kids! I won’t train for marathons, but maybe the yoga-equivalent.🙂

    • Thanks! You work too – I really don’t know how you do it. David and I were talking about “what if I went back to work” the other day. I could only do it if I really loved the job, otherwise I think I’d go crazy!

  2. I think that the solution (which I’ve recommended in the past and which we’ve more or less adopted) is to carve out some time for yourself. Please be willing to take off every day, and don’t feel guilty about letting Abraham spend some time with me. Aren’t I also his parent? I love spending time with him of course, but I also love that I am able to give you some of the time that you need.

    But also don’t feel guilty about leaving him with a sitter. In comparison to today’s norm, Abraham spends a copious amount of time with you.

    It will get better. Don’t you remember me discussing how the big kids no longer needed every bit of my attention? I think the most important goal for you now is to work to keep your skills and contacts sharp so that when Abraham does go to school, you are ready to get back into the professional world.

    • Yes, yes, yes, of course he should spend time with you! It isn’t that I don’t want to leave him with you, it is that I like being alone, and I feel kinda bad about it.

      I know it will get better. Or it will change and be hard in other ways.

  3. First off, thanks for referencing my blog! Secondly, I love you, Vick. I love your honesty. I always imagined that if I had children (or a child), as much as I would love them, as fiercely as I might love them, I would also want to get away from them when I could. I would need time to myself. Women can be so hard on themselves for the choices they make — and unfortunately, so hard on each other. There used to just be Dr. Spock’s book on raising kids. Now there seems to be hundreds of books about the “right” way to raise kids, and millions of moms blogging about being moms and defending their choices. My favorite moms I’ve met/known have been those who approach the whole parenthood thing with a sense of humor, a big heart, and the knowledge that, no matter what they do, their kids are eventually going to become adolescents and hate them for a while anyway. My favorite moms are who they are, whether they have a baby slung on their hip or not. That’s why you’re one of my favorite moms!

    • Thanks, Marge. You are one of my favorite women!
      I had to stop reading sleep books, stop taking to heart all the mlogs I read (that’s mommy-blogs), and stop comparing myself and Abraham to all of our new mommy/baby friends. It is so freaking hard though. But I can do it better when I am confident in myself, you know? When I feel like my yoga teaching-theatre artisting-crafty lady-mama self.

  4. Hi Vicki. I really enjoy reading your blog and wanted to put in my two cents. You should never feel terrible about leaving for a break! In my very limited experience as a “working” mother, I’ve discovered that having a profession or a passion, where you spend your time away from the baby, is a good thing. It makes you more focused and more appreciative of the time you do spend with the baby. My classmates have started asking me how I’m handling law school with being a mom, and I’ve found myself saying, “I’m always excited to leave for school in the morning, and I’m always excited to go home to Leah in the afternoon.” It’s hard not to feel guilty about leaving, but I know that it makes me a happy mom, which equals a happy baby. And you can’t beat that! I think it’s a great thing that you are trying to find the right balance to continue your creative pursuits and feel satisfied as a mom – it’s great for you and great for Abraham – and don’t *ever* feel bad about that!

  5. Pingback: Up All Night | Forward Movement

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