Wednesday, August 1, 2012

musings on motherhood

Since Em has been born, the one thing I've made a valid attempt to keep going (because, let's face it, with an infant almost everything gets the back burner) is writing my blog. For a while, I was impressed with my ability to keep up with my writing. I didn't write every day, like I used to, but a smattering of posts here and there is still impressive with a newborn, as far as I'm concerned. But, for the past few weeks writing has joined the rest of "me" on the back burner and I feel myself slipping away.

I've heard so many times that the first month with a baby is the hardest, but I'd beg to differ. Of course, I am sure I will always look back to former phases and remember them as being easier. I suppose it's like I said in one of my posts last month, it doesn't ever get easier, it just gets different as things shift. At any rate, right now I am remembering the first few weeks of Em's life as a time when I was able to maintain a tiny bit of "me time." That "me time" was always had with a baby in my arms, or at my breast, but it still somewhat resembled time for myself as I would fill it with writing blogs or long emails to friends, editing photos or even watching movies or TV on Netflix (a huge luxury I'm sure I won't see again for a few years). It's not that my child didn't need me during that phase, because she was absolutely glued to my body 24 hours a day and I only left her for 10 minutes every three days to take a shower (yes, I only showered every third day in those early days). But, the majority of time spent with my child—apart from the hours I would spend just staring at my beautiful little angel in awe—was time that I needed to occupy myself, because she was mostly just sleeping and eating. 

Now, I have an incredibly alert, interactive baby who is awake for longer stretches and who has decided in the past few weeks that she only wants her mama. It's obviously natural for a baby to prefer her mama, and natural to go through these phases, but it doesn't make me any less tired knowing that. It's a tough gig, being a mama. And, when your child goes through inevitable "phases," it's difficult to remember that the phase won't last. That's what Alex and I have been hearing from everyone since Em's birth—a constant chorus line echoing in our ears…."It won't last. Things will change. It's just a phase." As comforting as it is to hear that, it's often difficult to remember when in the throws of a 3-hour fight to get your baby to sleep, as your palms sweat and you've tried ever baby soothing tactic you know and Dr. Sears' magical tactics are just plain failing, and you can't hand the baby off to daddy without cries so hysterical that your boobs start leaking milk and all the mothering hormones in you rush and surge to the point of you wanting to cry, because the pain of seeing your child upset is unbearable… you grab the baby back into your chest, though you are running on fumes. Yes, it's hard to remember that those three hours will ever end, let alone remember that some day your babe will be self-sufficiant and you will be crying for her to want and need you that much again.

So, my writing. My writing has been swallowed up by long cuddle sessions on the couch, guided tours around my house for the little one whose hungry eyes need to just "look at things" for a good few hours each day, running around like a maniac trying to accomplish a week's worth of household chores in the few minutes a day off of my body that Em graces me with, long chats and giggle sessions on the changing table as Em shows off the new tricks she's learned each day, bouncing the baby to sleep on an exercise ball every other hour (because it's the only way she will take her naps right now), animated Dr. Seuss readings, dangling toys and random household objects in front of my baby so she can touch and explore them, and the general trouble shooting of various noises and cries that emanate from my sweet girl round the clock. And, that's okay. That's the job. I'm a mama, a mama with a small infant. I wouldn't give her any less of myself, because I can wait. But, I'm still hoping that I'll find the time to be "me" once in a while too.

P.S. I'm also hoping I find the time to take more photographs of my little one! Time is moving fast and she looks so different every day, so it's killing me that my crazy baby photogging has slowed down recently.

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