Phew, life sure changes once you have a baby. Never did the line from the commercial on t.v that says "having a baby changes everything" mean so much. I feel like I haven't had the opportunity to blog in ages and while I probably have had little snippets of time here and there where I could have sat down for 15-20 minutes, I haven't had the time to fully immerse myself in a thought and then put that thought down in a clear and concise manner.
I remember when I was working and I used to complain about being busy and running short on time because of one thing and another but now I look back on that and want to laugh in the face of my former self. I used to think that between my 30 minute commute (each way), working 40 or so hours a week and having hours filled with long meals out with my husband of with friends, running errands and doing stuff around the house took away from my ability to sit down and write and yes, I used each one of these as a reason not to but had I known then, what I know now...I would have put in HOURS and HOURS just on writing.
I went to my MOPS group this week (highly recommended for any stay at home Moms or those that work part-time) for our bi-weekly meeting and the discussion was about our lives as women prior to becoming Moms and how they change after we become Moms and attempting to find that balance between the two. I.E. that we don't have to give up ourselves entirely just to be Moms and that it is actually better that we don't because our children need to see us as being individuals and not only having our own talents but also pursuing them as in the end, this make them strong people themselves.
This "balance" is something that I have been struggling with since my daughter came into the world 8.5 months ago. I remember sitting at home the day before I was going into the hospital to have her (I was induced) and eagerly anticipating the moment when I would see "the baby" (we chose to let the gender be a surprise) and expected it to be like it is depicted in the movies or on the show "A Baby Story on TLC. I guess my thought was "that is a reality show, so that must be more accurate than the movies!" but little did I know just how wrong I was.
Less than 24 hours later, I was in the OR having a c-section completely hopped up on medication and not really knowing what was going on. I couldn't see anything and when my daughter was born, my husband was the one who had the reaction that I thought I would and who got to hold her for the first time. The thing is though, at the time, I didn't care. I was honestly just glad that she was healthy and that I was no longer pregnant but I was too busy shaking uncontrollably to even fathom holding her, let alone nursing (which went out the window on day 2 anyway)and could only think "sleep, all I want to do is sleep...please let me stop shaking so I can sleep".
Until this meeting this week, I honestly thought I was a terrible Mother for having those thoughts on the first night of my daughter's life in this world. What I didn't know though is that I wasn't and far from it. Most of the women at my table admitted they had had a similar experience post-birth and that this sort of reaction was far more normal than the one we do see in the movies and/or on T.V. Like myself, 2 of the other women at my table admitted to falling asleep in the recovery room and most of us who had had c-sections admitted to barely remembering the first 24 hours of our child's life. Sad but thank goodness my husband captured every moment post delivery on video...I now treasure that bit of footage more than any other we have.
What we found though upon further discussion is that we are all struggling for time and learning how to balance our new lives. The group we belong to stands for Mothers of Pre-schoolers so all of the little ones are birth through about 6 years old and therefore we can all learn and relate to each other...those of us that are first time Moms are obviously learning a lot more from the more seasoned veterans than actually giving advice at this point in time. One thing we all mentioned is how much time we had prior to having children (that we thought was so little) and how there are days when we might like to go back and just have 1 day in that world and perhaps relish in the fact that all we have to do is think about ourselves.
It sounds selfish but really that is what it was like. Yes, I thought about my husband and we spent a lot of time together but we could just pick up and go when we wanted. We didn't have to plan to leave a half hour before we needed to be somewhere that was only 15 minutes away and nor did I have to get a bag ready the night before with what seems like enough supplies for 3 weeks like I do now. There are days when I literally feel like all I do is: pack and unpack the diaper bag, make bottles and wash bottles, load laundry and fold laundry, take out toys and pick up toys, fill baths and give baths and hunt on occasion for the missing pacifier.
There are also some weeks that we come to end of on a Friday evening and I am sitting with my husband watching a DVD and I realize that I am completely and utterly exhausted and unsure if I can make it until 9:00 (but we only started the movie 20 minutes ago as that is when the baby finally went down) and when I think about what the majority of my week consisted of and realize that I spent all of this time doing all of these things for someone else and once again, I neglected to make time for me.
I have been thinking a lot about that meeting since we had it on Monday and my pre-baby idea of "free time" and what my post-baby definition is of it now and the one thing I have realized is that I have to make it a point to make time for me as well. I have realized that I don't have to be a "career woman" for my daughter to see me as being successful when she is older (although I probably will still go back to work at some point) but I do have to continue to pursue the other interests that I have always had and who knows, perhaps when she is old enough we will find that one of these is a shared interest and something we can both enjoy. Therefore, giving us more "time" together.