I have noticed I have a few drafts that I never got to finish – interruptions you know.
My neighbour gave me some back issues of Chatelaine and I came across this article yesterday. This particular passage evoked a strong response in me.
One night, about 10 weeks in, Rob came home late from work and found the baby shrieking and me in tears, the two of us having a big ol’ bawlfest, keening, wailing, two hot, puffy red faces, snot and tears everywhere.
He called a nanny, who started the next day. A couple of weeks after that, I was back in my home office, writing full-time, which was a much easier transition than I’d worried it would be. I love my baby, you see. But I also love my work. Returning to it was a huge relief to me — though admittedly it helped that my office is next door to my son’s nursery. I also napped. A lot.
Many of my friends who are mothers told me they couldn’t imagine going back to work as early as I did after having my son, that they “just weren’t in work mode” for at least a year after giving birth. If I’d had corporate maternity benefits I might have felt the same way — but deep down inside, I doubt it. I’ve spent so long writing every day that it felt alien not to do it. I was happy to concede my work for the first few delirious weeks with my son, but after that I wanted my life back.
When I read that part, I have to admit, I was jealous. She got to go back to work. After 10 whole weeks. She got to nap, dammit. Her husband actually called a nanny and whammo, she got her life back. That would not have happened in our household. I have a lack of a f/t career. Oh that. I once spent $30 for someone to watch my kid for a few hours because I was so drained from having a bad cold and if I couldn’t lay down to rest without having to get up every 2 minutes, I was going to lose it. I might have had a nap. I don’t remember.
There was just a few comments after the article, one was supportive and one was more from the “that’s what’s wrong with society” camp.
And so I am left thinking about this whole motherhood bag and what a journey it is. There are those who are closer to the let’s all sleep in one bed, make everything from scratch and carry their kid around for 6 years and then there are the 9-5 super moms who have calendars for everything and in between there are the SAHM who are entrepreneurs who look wicked in yoga pants, there are the overwhelmed moms who drink too much and give their kids Frosted Flakes for dinner and have no idea that there kid is a menace on the playground… and so many others. And everyone has an opinion about them. Does fatherhood merit this kind of scrutiny? According to what my mum said to me years ago, my dad never beat or molested me, so he wasn’t all that bad. Wow, what a benchmark. From Peter MacKay to your MIL, everyone has a say in what kind of mother/woman you should be. And if you’re not a mom, well, you’re opinion doesn’t count. Unless you’re O.prah.
I had an opinion about mothering, based on how my mother raised me, both negative and positive aspects. And just when I needed her the most, she had a damn stroke and left me with a ton of questions she could never answer. And if you don’t have a reliable template that you can relate to, then you research and read books and manuals (and there’s a ton of expert parenting books to sift through). Then you have to get your significant other to follow the same template. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And if you’re married to a man, then you really get to see another side to their view on womanhood.
There have been times when I wish there was a support group for mothering. And the time to go to it. Or would we just turn on each other?