My world turned right side up two years and six days ago. My little Sav was born.
This (slightly belated) second anniversary of the day of her birth seems like the right time to get blogging again. I’ve been a little bit (ok, a lot bit) delinquent. Six months have gone by since my last post.
It’s not that I’ve been uninspired, or that there has been a lack of emotion to share (quite the contrary, in fact) ... it has something to do with, I think, that in the beginning, when I first started writing about this journey, the emotions were bigger. They crackled and burned in my heart making them next to impossible to ignore. Back then, something was telling me that it was imperative to jot them down before they faded away into the swirling neverland of my new mom brain. And so I did.
Getting it all out so that I could see the candid, little black words in front of my face felt amazing, and hearing the feedback and stories of my audience was nothing short of, well, yes, it was therapy.
The past six months have been chalk full of important moments. It’s just that in comparison to the beginning things have sort of levelled out a little. The big emotions of days gone by have shrunk in size, and I've reached some kind of even keel.
For the most part.
During this low tide I’ve been ever so slowly gathering, compiling and collecting my thoughts - on parenthood, on relationships, on life ... even if at the moment they seemed fleeting or brief. With that I would love to share a new series of posts related to some of my recent revelations - starting here ...
- a mother’s intuition -
My inner voice is an ever present constant in my life - it is the dialogue that rumbles around in this little head of mine day in and day out. I have always been a thinker. Before having Sav, my inner voice was there ... analyzing past dilemmas and strategizing future events. At times it would keep me up at night. But, even with this intensity, back then, I was able to manage it - turn it down - and, for the most part, enjoy the moments.
Even so, I kept hearing that there are ways to shut this thing off if you try, meditation or some such thing ... I guess that makes sense. But, I can't imagine completely being able to just hit an off-switch and say sayonara to the little lady in my head speaking into the mic. A blank, calm and empty mind? I don't compute.
After having Sav, this voice inside became notably louder - and at times, a little pushy. It was relentless in its pursuit to have me over-analyze every decision I made as a parent. To make me pine for the past, fear the present and wish for the future. It became the root of a lot of my struggle, preventing me from enjoying the moments (something that I couldn’t turn a corner without someone telling me to do ... after all, “time, she flies.”)
I think that in the beginning I expected that this little inner voice of mine would organically morph into something more similar to what people would call a Mother's Intuition. I was waiting for it to become this voice filled to the brim with nurture. And that eventually it would also become wise.
As time passed it did gain strength and wisdom. My confidence grew. However, it seemed to be taking more than forever to became the calm and collected motherly voice that I had always imagined. I knew that my Motherly Intuition was in there somewhere ... I just couldn't feel it as strongly as I wanted to. It took me time to realize that perhaps mine doesn't come as naturally as maybe it does to others. I still feel out of my skin sometimes. I embrace being a Mom, and I know that I am doing a great job - but I can be honest in saying that it isn't the role that I feel the most natural in. It takes effort and intention ... and it's a constant work in progress.
On the days where I feel particularly "unmotherly" I find solace in an unexpected place. One of the tiny moments I hinted at earlier ... while driving, a little voice from the backseat calls out "Mama's hand..." - a glance in the rearview mirror - her little hand reaches out towards mine. And when our hands intertwine, a comfort and peace builds inside me as an unexpected thought crosses my mind, "maybe there are going to be times when I need her more than she needs me." How ironic.
It has strangely brought me unbelievable peace to admit this - that it is absolutely possible to be an amazing Mother and to at the exact same time feel like you are not a natural Mother. I've learned to stop comparing myself to others (I'm not perfect at this yet, by the way), and to start flaunting the quirky wonderfulness of my unmotherly mothering. After all, the way I see it, the definition of "motherly" is definitely, always up for interpretation ...
My memories of my own Mother, and how she raised us provides the perfect example of this. All of my recollections of my childhood are nothing short of extraordinary. I remember our extravagant themed birthday party celebrations, dance parties in the living room, epic lemonade stands in the front yard. I remember a childhood that was ... full.
On a particularly tough day a little while back I phoned my Mom. I felt like I was losing myself a bit. I was dreading the daily grind of being at home with my toddler - I didn't feel like building another block tower only to knock it down again. I was struggling with the onset of the "terrible twos", the obscenely high number of "no's" heard in a day, and the anxiety of the unknown and inability to be able to anticipate the way the day would go. I told her that what was really upsetting me, to the core, stemmed from this feeling inside me ... the fact that I was struggling to find this natural, innate, joy for, at this point what was no longer really that new of a role for me.
She told me to stop. To breathe. To let myself enjoy it. And then, which ended up being the most helpful, she spoke with honesty - she told me that even though I remember my childhood being perfect in almost every way, she did not spend every waking minute playing with us and building imaginary lands and craft projects galore. She had a part-time job for the entirety of her stay-at-home-Mom days ... as a Mother to the 4 (yes, FOUR) of us. She needed her own time, she had hard days, and she didn't always feel it all came completely natural to her either. These words were gold. I realized I wasn't alone - especially when comparing myself to in my eyes, the mother of all mothers, she who sits on a golden pedestal herself - my Mom!
Learning to love and to live with my inner voice is something I work on daily. And in the moments that I can embrace it, I find that I am able to do what my Mom told me to do - let myself enjoy it. In my own way. Not the way others might, and for maybe different reasons ... and that's ok.
And so on days like today, when I am rushing into the city to fight a speeding ticket, little Sav in tow, entering the court building downtown and realizing we have to juggle diaper bags and jackets, and then remove said diaper bags and jackets in order to go through security together, and then wait in line together, and then speak to the justice of the peace together. When I feel nervous that she might cry, or that we might have to wait longer than she has the patience to. Or that I might get a parking ticket while waiting to pay my speeding ticket in a line this long. I stop, I breathe. I let myself enjoy it. I remember that it's ok, these are the moments. I watch her befriend a little boy named Cedar, as they both suck on the grape suckers the justice of the peace gave them (sticky hands and faces are the way to be), I enjoy the banter back and forth with Cedar's Mom. I realize, 'I've got this.' And that it's time to enjoy, in my own way, this role, this title. Mother.