When I was pregnant with Connor I vowed to not let being a mother be my only identity, my sole raison d’etre, as they say. I think I did well maintaining my own personality while learning to be a mother. It was hard at first, but Connor and I figured each other out and grew more because of it. And then there was Ike. With two kids turning our house into a roofed blender of cars, diapers, and toys, it almost feels like there isn’t time for a personality; all “spare” moments are used loading and unloading the dishwasher, cleaning baby bottles, doing laundry, making sure Ike doesn’t get poked or smooshed too hard, feeding someone, or trying to remember to put the boys’ laundry away before one of them goes down for a nap or bed.
(I love my kids, but not every moment is a picturesque one)
I’m like a bad robot these days – following my pre-programmed instructions, but performing them with a fatigue and forgetfulness only endowed to humans. Unscheduled minutes are an anomaly, and if I’m ever in the possession of them I feel myself bouncing off the walls like in a game of Pong. There is always something to be done: a dirty shirt or burpy to put into the hamper, dishes to load or unload from the dishwasher, or month-old pieces of mail or unread catalogs to put into the shredder or recycling bin. The ability to sit still is one that I lost about 3.5 months ago. I mean, I could do these things at night after the boys go to bed, but when the sun goes down my off button practically presses itself, and I can’t be bothered to do more than what’s necessary to make it to bed and through the next morning.
As easy as it would be to blame these feelings on the two little energy suckers sleeping at the end of the hall, I take some responsibility for my current state. I have let getting in touch and spending time with friends get swept to the floor along with accidental dustings of extra baby formula and bread crumbs. I’ve thought excessively about running again but haven’t dropped a bead of sweat since pushing Ike out into this world. I haven’t tried to make any date-ish type plans with Z, which, to my defense, isn’t really out of the ordinary since we never did the married couple date night thing anyway. I haven’t read a book since maternity leave. And, as we all know, I have no hobbies besides maybe speaking to you here, friends and strangers alike. The cherry on top is that we decided to cancel our cable subscription starting Monday. Sometimes it feels like I’m purposely trying to turn myself into an android.
Between my last post and this one, you may imagine me as Eeyore, gingerly pinned together with a rain cloud overhead. But, if I want to get all poetic and flowery about it, maybe I’m not walking through the Doldrums; maybe I’m getting holed up in some cosmic cocoon only to emerge as a butterfly (direct, hokey Eric Carle reference). I don’t know if I believe that, but I do believe that things happen for a reason. And that’s enough for me to maybe resurrect a hobby or find a new one, call some old friends, start a new book, and ask Z what he wants to do before 10:30 pm when all I really want from him is a tv watching partner who I can trap him in the corner of the couch and fall asleep on. And if I’m doing these things for my kids and not myself, well, I think we’ll all gain from mom being a better, happier human being. Wouldn’t all households benefit from that?
P.S. The kid song on repeat in my head today: this ditty. Enjoy. Or curse me because once you hear it you will never be able to unhear it again.