Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flying By the Seat of my Pants

It's been a while since I have done Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop... I've been checking her prompts every week, but then not having the energy to write anything that would fit. This week #4 really struck me. I've been thinking about "How Motherhood Has Changed [Me]" since I became a mother.

I'd be lying if I didn't say it has changed me to the very core of my being.

I don't know what most women expect going into motherhood, but I'm guessing most believe what I did about becoming a mother: my life will continue exactly as it is now, but there will be the addition of a baby. I'll do the same things, be the same person, except I'll be changing a few diapers. And I'll have this wonderful bundle of joy and sunshine that I will carry around with me while I do all the stuff I normally do, and everyone will comment on how adorable and well behaved she is and pinch her cheeks. And I will be so overwhelmed with joy once my dream of motherhood has been fulfilled.

I started my journey towards motherhood with small steps. I first became a step-mother every other weekend and on holidays. Minimal changes. Pretty much led the same life I did without children, so hello motherhood, this isn't so bad. And I had a child for all the important and festive holidays. It was perfect.

Our next step was adoption. We adopted our 6 year old niece. I was so completely thrilled. I could jump right in and be that PTA super involved Mom. She was at that age where we could do all sorts of fun things together like crafts, baking cookies and playing games. We started out spending time with her while she was in foster care. We would have her every other weekend and on holidays. As soon as we finished with all the classes and preliminary paperwork we got to have her move in until the adoption was finalized. By that time I was about 6mos pregnant with our first baby. It was also the end of the school year, so I wasn't able to get as involved as I would have liked.

Having my first baby hit me like a ton of bricks. He ended up having colic, so basically he spent hours upon hours a day having screaming fits. I spent pretty much his first 8mos of life holding him and trying to keep him from screaming his head off all the time. We couldn't go anywhere, if we did he would scream the entire time we were in the car and wherever it was we were going.

It was then that I really understood the full scope of motherhood. Once you become a mother, you are a mother 24/7. It's so much more than a job. You don't get any breaks, and there is no quitting time. You are on the job all day and all night. I had never imagined myself a stay-at-home mother, but circumstances led to that being the only logical choice. I was, and still am happy with that choice. I wouldn't have it any other way. Motherhood is an enormous responsibility, and I wouldn't trust anyone else with the care of my precious children.

I never imagined how much of myself and what I did to be me I would choose to put aside when I became a mother. I didn't expect that motherhood would change me all that much.

But now I look at myself, my life and the mother I have become, and realize that I have pretty much completely lost touch with the person I used to be. At the moment I'm not sure whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. I am leaning towards the good, and trying to see the positive changes in myself that have occurred.

I used to be somewhat irresponsible and a little self-absorbed (internally speaking that is). Motherhood forces you to become a responsible person, or at least it should. It is no longer just your life that concerns you, there are the lives of your children that are of the utmost importance. And you really can't be too self-absorbed. You can't get hung up on yourself when you have to spend most of your time caring for others. So in that way motherhood has forced me to become a better person.

I am realizing now what a large and involved topic this is, and how little time I have to really do it justice... especially since at the moment, while I am trying really hard to use what little brain I have left to compose something articulate and worthwhile, I have a 4 year old who just will not leave me alone and has been nonstop talking and demanding the entire time I've been sitting here drafting... and a colicky infant who decided that now would be the best time to start a full blown screaming fit.

So I will continue on this topic in some future posts...


Helene said...

This is such a beautifully written post. I feel the same way...I never imagined motherhood would be this HUGE. I mean, I knew I'd be responsible for another human being but you know what I mean...forget sleeping in late on a Saturday, forget eating that last cookie in the bag if your kid wants it, forget eating out at restaurants for a good 5 years....that kind of stuff. Everyone I knew made it sound so fun and glamourous. No one tells you just HOW much it'll change you.

All good changes, of course. I wouldn't want it to be any other way but sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

Anonymous said...

Wow I never realized you adopted and had your baby so close together. ChAoS!!!!

~~Mel~~ said...

a beautiful post! Can't wait to hear more.

Earth To Mother Ship said...

Great post. We had a colicky baby too....Ooohhh Yeah, I hear ya. LOUD and clear. I love that we are through it and all of us have bonded. Motherhood is such pure delight.

Mama Kat said...

I have such a hard time with newborns...I can't even imagine a colicky one!! Kudos to you mama!

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