Tall Mountain left for Toronto yesterday afternoon. They got into the Amnesty film festival there, which is pretty cool. I heard someone recently describe Toronto as a “clean New York”. I had never thought of it like that before. I love it not for its cleanliness but for the way it welcomes multiculturalism. It’s “the mosaic” rather than “the melting pot”. For that side of it, I think it’s got to be one of my favorite cities in North America. Originally, Ayo and I were going to join papa, using more frequent flyer miles to get us there. I could stay with my great friend and then try to take our little guy to the festival downtown. In the end, we felt it was a little too much to sandwich the Canadian adventure between two European trips. Would you believe it, I opted for a more low-key weekend in Denver instead! Babies change lots and lots of things.
This is how I was presented with the dilemma of what to do with my free time this weekend. It’s relative, not absolute freedom of course, because I have all the responsibilities of mothering an infant and those demands seem to be rapidly increasing as Ayo becomes more mobile. Still, what should I do with the time not spent cooking with, watching movies with, making coffee for or running errands with TM? This question always leaves me realizing how much of my day revolves around TM. I love this deep partnership we have. I believe that depending on one another is one of the most beautiful things about marriage. But our risk of becoming overly co-dependent is high, as we’re both working from home most days of our life. This is why, as much as a certain emptiness looms over our household during TM’s absence, I do also relish the time apart to recenter. To remember who I am as an individual and who I want to be, in addition to a mother and a spouse. I love-hate his solo trips. They’re lonely. They’re healthy. I confess that I sometimes smother the pursuit of passions and dreams when we’re together. I am trying to figure out why this is the case. Maybe, I get so caught up in the ongoing demands of family: cooking, laundry, shopping, cleaning, social calendar, car/baby/dentist (bleh!) appointments, naps, feedings…that I loose steam when it comes to investing in myself. Maybe, I am scared to pursue my dreams and what it might ask of our family. Maybe, I always want to have a clean house before thinking about my passions and therefore I never will have that time. Ladies, how do you care for the garden of your heart/mind with the growing demands of your home? What do you do to carve out time for yourselves?
Instead of sulking at home alone on a cold November afternoon, I decided I’d race home from the airport and feed Ayo so we could go on a run. When we got to the park, I assembled my
clutter gear: blanket for baby, baby snowman outfit, winter hat for baby, stroller, diaper bag, running jacket for me, hat for me, water bottle – ugh! It was 5:20pm by this time but it felt like 10pm as it was so pitch black. I don’t love running in the dark, but after the hassle of getting us out the door, I wasn’t going to turn back. I ran about 3miles at an easy pace as Ayo was lulled to sleep. When we returned home, I opted to put him to bed early at 6:30pm-ish and enjoyed a warm shower. I called my brother and chatted for over an hour, using my “baby is sleeping voice” and when I was done, two people yanked open the glass door and violently pounded on the front door. Startled, I cautiously opened the door to a boisterous but friendly: “Hi!” as if they were good friends from out-of-town. Me: “Hi?” Them: “Hiiiii!” I squinted to make sure I didn’t know them. And then they enthusiastically unraveled something about the green party. Weren’t the elections over? Thinking it had to be at least midnight since I was in my bagged out PJs and ready for bed, I confess I totally reamed them for knocking on my door so late: “Why on earth are you here so late? Are other people not appalled you would knock on their door so late?”. Totally taken aback, the two sweet college-age volunteers awkwardly stuttered: “Ma’am, it’s only 7:30!? But if you don’t..err..want to talk to us..err..then that’s ok too!” Oh gosh. I was in disbelief that it was only 7:30pm and forgot it was Friday night. I was even more shocked how much I had berated them. So much so, that I just kept staring at them till they left. I closed the front door and felt so ashamed and slowly paced the house, disoriented and embarrassed. By then, it was too late to run back after them and tell them it had been a long day for this mama, starting at 5am. Or was it 3:30 am? I hope they tag our dumpster or something. You know, ’cause our recycling bin just got tagged by someone else.
I confess I then tucked myself in bed after reading every single blog post from the extraordinary blog of a midwife from our birth center. So much for going to bed early. Reading her journal of baby-catching is totally gripping, absolutely magical and inspiring. Her account left me with so many new thoughts about birth..and dreaming that our number two be born en caul (see image). Charlemagne, Freud and Napoleon supposedly were born this way. After reading her blog, I have also added a profession to my short “most admired” list: the midwife joins… the sommelier. (duh!) 😛
A final mama confession for today. I painted my nails this morning and they of course weren’t dry when Ayo woke up from his nap. He giggled..then squeaked..then fussed..then cried for me to rescue him. But, I left him there instead. I blew on my nails until they were dry with my son wailing in the background.
Nov. 19 update: Here is another gorgeous and rare image of a baby birthed en caul. This photographer should feel proud to have been able to get such a shot. I added it following all the questions about the first image. lol
Section caul image courtesy of Anthro Doula
Black and White caul image from Better Birth
2 thoughts on “Confessions”
i think the conflict between pursuing your dreams and passions and feeling like you are drowning in housework is super common. the Atlantic even had a big article about it- why women still can’t have it all… did you ever read that one? can’t say i have much advice, as i am in the thick of that conflict as well… but i think you were right that time away from our spouses is healthy and time away from our kids with or without our spouses is really healthy. which is why i need ayo ASAP.
and that picture- while cool about the en caul… is kind of creepy. is that a c-section? can’t tell if i see women legs or buns?
I knew SOME birth nerd would get onto this page and spot out the section shot. Haha! This pic has sparked three emails in addition to your comment. Ha! It was the clearest caul I found without it being too graphic. You’re right, I should have just included the vagina shot instead. Maybe I’ll include my pic when #2 comes out in his caul. 😉
Aw sis, thanks for the comment about the tension. It feels good to know I am not alone. We talked and talked around Sloan’s yesterday about this. You know, before your brood came by. Some takeaways were that: 1. my work doesn’t always feel rewarding to me other than on a head level and that is really hard. There is little praise, little promotion and a lot of sacrifice..way harder than any office job I’ve had; 2. during these early years, unless I accept the alternatives, I need to be ok just dabbling in my passions; 3. Even that light dabbling takes sacrifice like, say, getting up early, not slobbing out at night; 4. It is unrealistic to pursue as many hobbies as before I was married or with child..
Yeah, I read the long article in the Atlantic. It was mind blowing and so validating. In fact, I have that on my long list of things to blog about. I even sent it to my former boss for her comments. It goes hand in hand with a stay-at-home mama post.