welcome to motherhood

about a month or so ago, i attended my professional association’s annual conference.  i have always been interested in attending but i never felt as though i needed to go, per se, until this year. this year, i needed to go. the prospect of returning to work after my 1 year plus maternity leave, and to a new job at that, was daunting. i felt moons away from my practice and i thought attending might bridge me back in.

serendipitously, the annual conference fell on the day after my maternity leave came to a close and, with the moo deciding he was a big-grown-up-boy and no longer nursing, i could actually conceive of being away from him for a day, or two, as it turned out. so… i did. i registered, the husband type took a couple days off, and i made my return.

i enjoyed the conference but, not surprisingly, i spent a lot of time processing and negotiating this new stuff. like, this new role stuff (wait, old role stuff?) to integrate into momland. it took awhile but we had home and community life as a mom-and-babe unit figured out but now there was other stuff to make space for, or to try to make space for in what was quite a complete little universe we lived in.

introductions were telling… i chose to keep it simple and refer to myself as my tag described- my name, my old job title, and where i came from. it was easier and more appropriate then the real story. people might not have appreciated the extended version: hello, my name is someone and i am here as a blah blah blah. i come from (hey, wait, where do i come from? it was here but i’ve been there for so long…) and i work at… well, i don’t really work at a place yet as i have been on leave this last year and i was a worker bee at this one place before that but we had an unexpected move across the pond and i’m about to become something new in this new position in a couple of weeks and that’s all i kinda know. oh, and i am a mother. i don’t know much anymore but this i know for sure. 

yah, i think i made a good choice omitting the details.

in conversation though, people wanted to know more and, so, i kinda explained about the move, the new job, the big changes our family was undergoing. i shared that i hadn’t fully reconciled my decision to have declined to pursue my dream job and, instead, to have chosen a part-time job in a specialization that didn’t quite wow me. i had made a professional compromise in order to not compromise my personal (i.e. family) life and, overall, that was fine- i was used to compromising some of me for this great little family of us and  i knew what i had to do to be true to me as a momma, and to moo, and thankfully had my husband’s support. choosing the part time job was, and still is, the right choice for me. 

this said, i did experience a bit of conflict with regard to what i might be losing professionally in order to keep close all that i’d gained since being born a mother. i still do.  i can’t help it,  it matters. luckily, lots of people got it, the moms anyways because well, moms get it, they’ve been there, and i didn’t feel crazy trying to explain why it was the right choice for every reason but… maybe not?  almost all of them had done the same thing at one point or another and they reassured me it was absolutely the right thing to do- the work would always be there but my son’s infancy / toddlerhood / childhood would not be. people told me not to worry about the lost money, or the excitement of job choice numero uno, of taking a step back from my career. one woman simply smiled, maybe it was a side smirk actually, and said: “welcome to motherhood”.

i thought i got it, what she meant, you know, that you do what you do to try to find some kinda balance for your family and you cut your losses in some areas to reap the benefits in others. fair enough, i thought, and i remember kinda chuckling. i mean, that’s what the decision was all about and who was i kidding? this is a new life and just like i’m not the same person i was, i’m not the same worker i was, and so, this is my new role in my not-quite-as inspiring job that suits my inspiring life as a mother.

i didn’t get it though, not fully anyways. it took me awhile like, until this week maybe. amidst the stress of week 3 back to work, i kept hearing what she said and questioned, is this what she meant? is this the motherhood she was welcoming me too?  not just the compromise and making peace with that but more? cause, if so, now i get the smirk. really, i mean, she must have been thinking-you think choosing a job was the hard part? cause, it’s really busy and she must have known that. 

after waking up, rushing about, getting out the door before any of us feel ready, commuting from home to daycare to work and then hustling hustling hustling all day long and then running, literally, from work to the car to get to him in time, commuting from work to daycare to home again (almost 3 hours of commuting a day, barf), getting out of nice clothes into home clothes, getting dinner happening, trying to touch and love moo as much as he’ll allow, getting moo to the bath, playing and laughing and sharing special bath time moments, loving moo up some more, putting moo to bed, cleaning and organizing the house, making lunches, doing some prep for the next day’s dinner, going to workout class, showering, collapsing in bed, reading bookclub book, realising that shit! i forgot that today was day 1 of registering for recreation programs, rushing to the computer, waitlisting moo for his beloved music class (already full!), going back to bed, falling asleep, and waking up far too soon after falling asleep, i’m spent. 

plus, i am so far away from him, so often, and i don’t even know how he spends his days. what did he eat? how did he sleep? did he say any new words? is he still the most precious angel ever to have existed? and ‘letting go’, although i’m pretty impressed at my lack of crazy, is such a strange concept.  letting go of what? of who???? of the love of my life? of my world? of mothering him moment to moment? letting go and transitioning  from together to apart is what’s hard.

i get it now, unfortunately. she was welcoming me to a new motherhood- the motherhood of being outside of the home almost as much as being in. the motherhood of trying to hold it all down and hold him so close.

we’re doing good though. i mean, i have perspective (some) and know this isn’t so bad. i got it really good finding this posting and i have  the fortunate option of having my moo with a woman i know and trust and, overall, i have a good amount of time at home, with him, to feel like we are not drowning in laundry or distance from each other. on our days off we have loads of close time- dancing, cuddling with books, playing, rec classes, long fresh air walks, lunch dates, QUIET, daily life stuff that we both enjoy, the works.

it’s good. it’s just when i drop him off and he cries, or now that i drop him off and he doesn’t, that my heart breaks. or when i pick him up and he hyperventilates and hugs me with his nails dug into my back, or now, once he’s hugged and kissed me, that he doesn’t act that interested in leaving. and, regardless, then to have to immediately put him in the car seat instead of being able to just be present with him, right then. or when we drive home into the river of white lights and he watches and points and tells me stories and i realise that we live in the city now, i work, and he is growing up- it kinda takes my breath away. i mean, the other night i turned and looked at him and i was shocked at his appearance. how did he get so big? in a day he seemed to have grown so much. he caught my eye and gave me a cheeky smile and i nearly screamed “i love you, i love youI LOVE YOU!” just so i could be sure he heard and so maybe he could maybe feel how much i meant it. instead i took his hand, told him he was my everything and he made a kiss at me. that was good enough, but i did hold his hand all the way back home.

thankfully, he is so affectionate and mushy that we share loads of love when we’re together. it keeps me going and i hope it helps him feel secure,  knowing that there is so much love for him that it will always find him, even when we’re apart. it’s a new chapter of motherhood, but nothing in the fabric of our relationship has really changed- he is my baby and my full-time priority, even if i am working part-time.

p.s.- for the record, i could not do this alone. i am so lucky to be on my husband’s team. he contributes so much and holds so much down for us and i couldn’t do it without him. shout out to you mr. tall, dark, and handsome. you’re a jem.

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One Comment to “welcome to motherhood”

  1. Another good one my dear….you are an amazing mom!!!!! I am lucky to have you as a friend; can’t wait for you to meet Captain Squirmypants(aka as Burpasaurus Rex).

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