Motherhood brings about various ponderings. Some seem randomly induced by minimal sleep, but other percolate throughout daily rituals. (I’ll call them rituals because it makes me feel better that I’ve managed some semblance of an organized structure for my toddler.). Sometimes I like to consider my daydreams profound characterizations of my experience as a newish mom because then I feel like I have some minute trace of the thinker and problem solver I was before my son was born. Of course, if I reflect on the happenings of my day, I am always the problem solver, but it feels so foreign that I don’t always recognize myself; not always a bad thing, but sometimes scary nonetheless.
More often than not when I have a moment to reflect, it’s what it means to be a mother, and what it means to be a woman. Sometimes they are exasperated sighs as my son continues to wail at my feet, inconsolable unless held. Sometimes cynical laughs as my husband has the luxury of completing chores around the house, opting out of childcare for the moment. Recognizing that he isn’t wrong with his proclamation of their necessity, but acute awareness he is making a choice.
Reading nonfiction books about femininity and society among the glorious smut that captures my gender in its many facets, always seeming inaccurate and astute at the same time. How is that even possible? Horrifying historical context made even more terrifying that so little has changed. Overt prisons of perception morphed into self imposed expectations, which seems more amorphous than the explicit messaging of earlier times, but maybe hindsight is 20/20.
I determined staying at home full-time equates to losing my identity, constructing a new one that potentially stores who I was in an attic box, only remembered in brief glimpses of the past. As things progress and opportunities avail, I’m not sure having my pre offspring self emerge is welcome.
Sure, I am Mommy. I am the beacon of comfort and kisses, of stories and smiles, of calm and consistency. But, aside from my perpetual appendage for the last year, holding with him my intense love and his smiles that melt me every time they spread across his face, I must relearn the individual I was so certain of when it was easy to separate myself from others inhabiting the world. I’m not sure how to do that, and I’m not sure where to start; understanding that the process started with our attempts to conceive.
But, alas, my musings must come to an end because the little person in my charge decided he is well rested. He stands in his crib waiting for me to make my entrance from behind a closed door with a smile. The humorous thing about all of my laborious perseverations on this topic is that my son already knows with great confidence the answer to all of my questions. While his mouth cannot articulate it, he has explicit understanding of who I am, as his caretaker and as a human.