Captivity & Selfishness
Posted on February 11, 2014
Twenty months ago I was big, round and glowing. I was at once experiencing the elation of the highs and navigating the deepest trenches of the lows. Pregnancy was this amazing chance to reflect – however emotionally straining – on the life I had led thus far. It was unbound time to reflect upon the things I had achieved and the things I hadn’t yet achieved. Pregnant with my first child, and being home with several weeks of early maternity leave was a gift that gave me the time to accept the changes I was experiencing in my life – both the physical and metaphorical – in these beautiful long expanses of time, completely unencumbered by any of life’s necessary annoyances.
This is the only time in a woman’s life where she can spend as much of that time as she desires, alone. Completely. And, even though I was laden with pregnancy in every way, it hadn’t come to pass yet that I would realize that such a time as that would never again be a presence in my life. Nor would it ever be an option. Even now, sitting in this coffee shop with a mere hour to myself, my mind is at home, with Jonah, split up between worry, planning and organizing … It sounds like an uncomplicated truth that I should have known, I know. This is motherhood.
After baby came, I wasn’t me anymore. I was “Mom”. And now eighteen months later, I am remorseful that “Mom” can’t seem to carve out any time for that young girl who always needed time to be by herself completely and unencumbered in order to survive. This “Mom” character doesn’t even remember that girl’s name.
Being a new mom comes with it many challenges, some of them expected and some you wouldn’t see coming even if you were a prophet sitting next to a psychic watching a movie of your life on a loop. But still, I should have seen it coming that I am the type of woman that might slowly grow bitter over her time being constantly predefined by someone else’s needs. (Just deliver my mom of the year award to the back door, thanks.) There are times in the day where I know if I could only step away for an hour, that I would be a better mother by at least ten-fold. But with no money for daycare, no other friends with babies and a husband who is already doing all that he can to alleviate the stress, I can’t make moments like that exist. And, remember? I only have one kid and no part time job, and plans to have second one sooner than later, yet here I am complaining and mourning that old life that I chose to divert my path from … this puts me in mind to agree that I am that selfish bitch as someone once called me.
I have too many thorns in my side that are so close together they are rubbing the skin gathered between their points raw. I know that when Jonah dumps out the entire bathroom shelf and shuttles everything water-weary into the shower, that I am not crying and yelling because he is doing something horribly unexpected and not totally toddler-normal, I am simply already in a state of emotional disarray. Really, I am projecting the thorns outward and blaming their pointed sting on him.
Is someone like me supposed to be a mother? Isn’t it about sacrifice and acceptance of your new normal not bitter resentment of times gone by? Didn’t I choose this path for myself and what must my son think of me when I am in total bathroom floor breakdown mode?
It’s only been eighteen months and by all accounts from friends and family, I have an angel as a son … so this is why I end up here writing this letter to the ether. Better out than in, they say and better inflicted upon the anonymous readers who are at least able to distances themselves from the sometimes train wreck of a mommy-blogger, than it would be to let Jonah peel me up off the floor after another epic moment of losing it.
The reality is that any time I write and contribute to this blog/journal/complaint register/time capsule/free therapy or do anything else that doesn’t involve my mom persona … I am on borrowed time. Someone else’s time. Because there just isn’t a recess or coffee break from parenthood and even if there was it is impossible to divorce yourself from who you are, even for fifteen minutes. You are mom, and the mom part of you and that girl from your past are one in the same. And it’s not about us anymore. So it is time to stop being allergic to the responsibility it takes to parent.
Though, that being said, it is therapeutic to write a post like a petulant child. Try it some time.