the arrivals gate

it’s hard to talk about so writing about it is pretty scary- very concrete- as it officially means i am admitting to myself and then to the public (cosmically, if nothing else) that i don’t always enjoy mothering, especially, it would appear, from the trenches of the first few months.

i know damn well that i should be taking every opportunity to enjoy our new baby, given that he is darling, precious, and our last- soon to outgrow us all as well as his need or desire for my company- but… i don’t seem to really be capable of that today. most days, yes, i enjoy him immensely and now that i have got it all pretty sorted, this new life with two kids, i mean, the happiness quotient is rising with regards to all things parent. this morning though, i feel busy and harassed being responsible for the two of them and i find myself mid bitter identity crisis regarding where i am in all of this. i think it’s fair to say that on this dreary day, the chaos and ever present neediness x 2 is detracting from whatever bliss i should be feeling.

i remember this with my first son, as well. i didn’t find parenting hard, or meeting his needs to be a skill beyond me, but i found the transition to being a parent, exclusively, in those early months challenging. there wasn’t a whole lot of room for me to be anything else but what he needed me to be and despite my love for him and my pride in him and the delight i found in him, i had days where i felt suffocated and would find myself busying about at times, trying, somehow, to feel as though i accomplished something tangible, or that my day had meaning, in a way that could be measured. other times, the often sound of his crying was just so overwhelming that i would purposely engage in other tasks that i decided to define as important and pressing, just to justify diverting my attention and energy elsewhere which would give me reprieve from him, like vacuuming instead of continuing the constant effort of  trying to make him stop.

on those days when out was what i needed, part of me felt guilty but the rest of me felt good- immersed in an activity i could effectively manage-and i felt liberated, because i couldn’t hear him for a while and i could trick myself into feeling alone, and maybe even free. it was a falsehood, of course, as you can only vacuum for so long, and too soon i found myself called to face the enormous challenge of having a dependent and, as a direct result of this reality, not having much choice making room for myself. but, even the mini break did me good and benefited him in the end as well, as i returned fresh and maybe even kinda renewed. ready, anyhow, to keep on giving.

i find myself there again every once in a while, where i feel irrationally annoyed that my baby can’t somehow meet all of his own needs and leave me out of it in the meantime. compounding this is my three year old who has even more wants of me, and his requests are more creative, refined, complex and exhausting by virtue of same. they aren’t unreasonable demands and it’s not that i don’t have time or energy for them, it’s that i simply don’t always want to meet their (seemingly insatiable) requests of my body, mind, and spirit.

it’s at moments like this when i can’t help but wonder if maybe my personhood gets in the way of my motherhood. maybe i spent too much time in university and that’s why i always crave diversity, stimulation, and challenging dialogue. maybe i was single for too long after i graduated, had too much fun doing whatever i wanted on my own terms, and got selfish and now find it hard to share. or, maybe i was partnered for too long before kids, got spoilt and now miss my spouse as well as having a conversation with him that doesn’t revolve around the to do list. maybe it’s because i love my work and lose some sense of self-importance when i’m not busy being fabulous at it. maybe i am a product of a generation of selfish assholes (it’s a popular theory) and therefore resist selflessness. maybe it’s a combination of all these things resulting in too strong of a self concept that means i can’t be subservient to a baby without missing who i was. or, perhaps, it is completely normal for women to experience some internal conflict, resistance, and discomfort as we redefine ourselves (over, and over again) for the benefit of our family.

whatever. point is, it’s not the kind of day where it would be in anybody’s best interest to try and befriend me at the playground. but, i’ll be back at my joy. soon. arriving there may be more of a circular then linear process but i believe that i will make progress. i may be present and immersed and whole in my role one day and then i may spiral again, to the angst among unreconciled versions of self that can’t find room to think, let alone exist.  actually, it’s more then believing in better. i know i will get back to happy.  i have history on my side this time and i know that this is fleeting and that it all transforms and develops into good, good stuff. i walked this road before and we all survived.

as for now, i will practice what motherhood has taught me better than any other experience: i will try to let go of preconceived notions; i will try to shake off unrealistic expectations; and i will try to be sensitive, gentle, and generous with those who need it the most, myself included.


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