Being a mother is about the manageability of a tension.
It is so weighty to love something so much that you want to spend every waking moment with him and the twenty minutes it takes you to pick up the dogs at the groomer depresses you a little because you’re afraid you’ll miss something cute while he’s with Grandma. You just constantly stare at this little thing you and your husband made. You search his fingers and toes for constant growth – the little baby fat that used to be crowded around those appendages is thinning out and you’re excited and worried at the same time. You rub his little baby hairs noticing how much thicker it is. You cringe inside at every moment because now that moment is gone and he’s growing so fast. You remind yourself – “Remember this moment forever- sear his little look right now into my heart because he’s gone soon.” Your eyes are so tired from tracing his miniature silhouette as you imagine one day he’ll come home from second grade and give you his little outlined profile as a mother’s day present. You again cringe. Gone so fast. Gone so fast. That’s all people tell you. It feels so pit of your stomach to love something this much it actually does hurt. You look at him as he starts to walk and grabs your hand. His little baby hand only wants yours. You are his safeguard. The love, the love, the love that abounds out of your heart breaks it. It widens it so much that it’s scary – you never knew having a child would make your days brighter, your career a pipe dream, your body a novelty.
Beyond the adoration and the continual remembering lies isolation, boredom, and loneliness. The monotony of the day, the endless location changes (nursery, living room, outside and then over and over again throughout the day) the monitoring for eaten leaves – eaten anything, the ever changing of baby toys – which one will capture his attention now, the repetitive songs you have made up as you go along through the day, the cycling rift in your head that constantly declares how underwhelming this all is for an adult wears one down. I wish I could be one of those insanely creative mothers that has the whole day planned with little age appropriate and skill building activities. And then my mind goes to the never-ending comparison to other mothers who seem like they actually got it together because they always have make-up and a smile. Why didn’t I get out of bed, jog, shower, and prepare for my day? Why don’t I Pinterest activities for a 8 month old that look fun? Then I remind myself we did water day two days ago- I filled different pots with water and different kitchen cups and bath toys. I mean I let the kid play with a silicone kitchen brush to paint with water! We are doing stuff! But it’s all just work! It’s exhausting. It’s the personal restriction and its the restructuring of the brain- no longer collegiate and academic but imaginative and creative for an infant.
So you have this exhilarating, fall in love, floating on air feeling because you have this new creation before you with all the love and connection and tenderness and then you have this persistent, mind-numbing, literal seventeen pound weight you are responsible for as well. This light and heavy is built into all the nooks and crannies of motherhood. There’s no separating the two. We carry both in all the good and in all the challenging.
You know it will end too soon- you do and you don’t want it to.