Time is flying and I feel like I’ve been caught in some kind of cyclone this past month. This time of year is always busy, especially when I’m on the job market, but adding a baby to the mix this time around has been interesting. John and Evan both came down with something the same exact week I had an on-campus interview and I felt the weight of my choice to be a working mama in the most acute way I have as of yet.
In my worst moments, I honestly just wanted to sit down on the floor and CRY.
In my best moments, I simulatenously sucked snot (this is a lifesaver), did solo around the clock childcare for a few days, tended to John (who was down-in-bed sick), let our dogs in and out 5,000 times, worked on my interview presentation materials, kept the house liveably-clean, met with 50 students for individual conferences, caught up on grading (for like, one day), ran all of our usual errands as well as some additional ones, and made it to my interview having by some miracle of immunity, not gotten sick. All of that taught me a few things:
- I seriously, seriously respect and am in awe of single, working mothers. I mean, seriously. Wow.
- John’s help was definitely missed for those few days, which showed me he really does do so much for me and for Evan. I am good at seeing what’s left to be done, but we’d both benefit if I spend more mental energy appreciating what has already been done.
- We made it. It was a rough week, but we made it. And we always will…somehow or another.
- This is only just the beginning of baby sickness, (and correlating parent sickness). As parents we need to take very good of care of ourselves. Continuing to make small changes in diet and lifestyle will help us warn off as much illness as possible. Bottom line: taking care of ourselves is a family affair now.
In general, I’ve had an interesting relationship with my new mama role this month. I’m not really sure what to make of all of it yet, but I feel like I’m on the cusp of something both challenging and good. E is more fun and more work than he’s been so far. I am busier than I’ve been since he was born, and know life is only going to get busier. I’m feeling the pull between my personal passions and goals, and the expectations I’ve set for myself as a mom (some of which are probably unrealistic, especially as a working mom). I’m wondering way too often if all the conflicting things I’m feeling are “normal” despite that I know they are. There are days where I think I might just not be cut out for this motherhood thing, and then there are days where, usually when reminded, I realize just how natural/primal so much of my nurturing and caring for Evan truly is.
One of my former bosses told me “motherhood is a mirror” in that it helps us see ourselves more clearly. All the good and all the not so good things are amplified. I think we all have different challenges to face, but that clarity in who we are as people is at once how motherhood makes us infinitely better, as well as helps us realize how precisely flawed we are.
I made the choice to become a mother, and I am thankful for my beautiful, healthy, happy little boy every single day. No ifs, ands or buts about that. However, I am far from having all of this even remotely figured out, and my ability to live with the imperfection, to choose to adjust and learn and adapt, is how I know motherhood has improved me. And it’s also how I know I still have lots of room to grow…right along with our little guy.