Hi friends! Today I want to share a bit about my experience of motherhood these first 20 months (it has gone SOOO FAST but also somehow feels like just yesterday that I found out I was pregnant in a wild life timewarp). So here we are almost two years in, our beautiful son and I, madly in love and figuring this out as we go. It’s been the best years of my life but filled with some of the hardest moments that have pushed me to grow in ways I never expected. I want to share a few of the things I’ve struggled with, mainly because I’m starting to come out the other side and I think it’s important to reflect back with a bit more understanding than I was able to muster while I was in the thick of it. And hopefully some other mama who is in the thick of this will read it, feel compassion for herself and march forward knowing she is soooo not alone.
As you may remember I fell into motherhood unexpectedly. We weren’t planning a pregnancy and while it was a very happy and exciting surprise, we were totally unprepared. We did the best we could in the months before Teo arrived to get our heads around what parenthood would mean for us, and how it would change things, but there are things we couldn’t anticipate that simply because we had to experience them to understand.
I think the hardest thing for me was that I felt like I lost myself somehow. I became a Mother and then all of the other parts of me- wife, friend, daughter, business owner, creative- they all took a backseat because my new role was just so consuming. And I wanted it that way, I chose to take time off of work, I chose to be the primary caretaker and I chose to make this very special time in our lives with this new person as the center of our universe. And I wouldn’t do it any other way given the choice again. I am so grateful for the bond that we have and for the memories we’ve made, and for the secure and happy little boy that Teo has grown into. I attribute most of it to his personality and nature, which he arrived here with, but I like to think that all of our efforts contributed even if only in a small way.
This did not come without sacrifice though. There were times when I really struggled. I miss my pre-baby life- the travel, the dining out, going to the movies, the freedom. I miss the wife, friend, daughter, business person I used to be. I miss my creative self and my ambitious self, and I miss getting dressed without worrying about how my clothes will fare covered with dirt and food and who knows what else. Mamas, you know what I’m talking about right?
I am trying to find some balance. I love being a mama more than anything in the world. I just also want to revisit some of my old self. I want to reconnect with my creative side. I desperately miss being in the kitchen to innovate rather than to rush together enough food to feed the family. I want to exercise the part of my brain that has business calls and works with other creatives. Speaking of, I cannot wait to share a project I’m just digging into (more soon). I needed head shots for something so the other night I got dressed up, did my hair and had Lou take some photos for me. I felt awkward AF but also, there was a little part of me that was like YES! I’m pretty! And I’m still here!!!!! Totally silly. Vain even. But I can’t lie, it felt wonderful.
I realized recently that since Teo was born I’ve developed a pretty critical voice in my head, and been plagued by self doubt. The voice tells me that other women can work, take care of their babies and do it all, so there’s something wrong with me that I haven’t been able to make it happen. The voice tells me that I’m not good enough, that I’m lazy, that I don’t have anything of value to share, that I just can’t do the things I used to do anymore because I’m just not that interesting. Ouch! The voice is a defeater of hope and ambition, of creativity and joy. My confidence and self esteem have plummeted with this negative thinking, as you can imagine. So I’ve got to work to get back to myself. I’m so curious to know if other women struggle with this as much as I have and do.
I feel a shift coming. I left Teo with his dad for almost an entire day recently. Lou put him to bed for the first time ever! I know that it probably sounds crazy to some of you that he’s almost two and he’s never been put to bed by anyone but his mama, but I wasn’t ready to be away from him until now. It may be because when I was just a bit younger than he is now, my mom left. She sent me to live with my dad, and I didn’t see her again for a few years. That fact has probably been the thing that has shaped my life the most- I imagine it changed my very chemistry and it’s certainly the driving force behind a lot of my personality. I don’t think I’ve held Teo so close exclusively because of that, but the very idea that he could feel abandoned, even for a minute, hits me like a punch in the gut. I’m sure on a subconscious level I’ve felt like I needed to be here for him until I felt for sure that he would be ok with me being away. I told myself I just wasn’t ready to be away from him yet, that I would know when we were both ready.
That time has come! He did great with his dad and he’s so independent that I think we may even send him to preschool for a couple of half days a week in the fall! In the meantime, he’ll be spending more time with his dad and his Abuelita. And that means that there is space freed up for me again! Ahhhh! What will I do with myself?! Well, I have some ideas….. lots and lots of ideas!!! I know it’s going to be a mixed bag of emotions, this letting go of our baby to serve him and myself best. I hope I can do it with grace and strength. I know it will be that way from now until forever, the beautiful and excruciating push and pull of hugging him tight and then letting him go into the world to live his life. Ahhhhh. Motherhood. Brutally wonderful. More soon! xx- Sarah (Dress, shoes (similar))