I used to be a writer. I used to be a lot of things. I found myself right around the age 18. You know that fictional journey of “finding oneself” that exists in every plot ever? Yeah, I completed that journey by the time I turned 18. Then began the downward slope of losing oneself. It’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds or as Hollywood makes it seem- I wasn’t self-destructive or unhappy or on a life-ruining path. I just started journeying down into the valley. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re going that way until you reach the lowest point of the valley. Where do you go from there? I guess technically you could just stay there, walking in endless circles for all of eternity. Or I guess you could go back up in any direction. North, south, east, west. Does it really matter? Up is up. So how does this metaphor translate? Well here I am; I’m back on the journey to finding myself. I will never be the same person I found at age 18. Too much has happened since then.
Now I’m trying to find myself as a mother. What kind of mom will I be? What kind of mom do I WANT to be? I do already know a few things about myself as a mother:
- I pee a little when I laugh too hard.
- I’m not in as much of a hurry as I used to be.
- I will protect my family at all costs.
But the rest is still undetermined. Sometimes I am patient, and sometimes I just can’t keep my cool. Sometimes my son finds ultimate comfort in my touch, but sometimes he wants nothing to do with me. Sometimes I like being left alone, while my husband takes the boy on errands with him. Sometimes these quiet moments are when I am able to reflect the most on who it is that I am. Sometimes, during these quiet hours, my skin crawls from the silence of our suburban house.
I know that when 7:00pm rolls around I cherish bedtime for the little. I pour a glass of wine and praise the Lord for the end of another day where I kept a little person alive and mostly happy. I mentally sort out what I want to do for the next few hours before I pass out in my unmade bed. I used to make my bed every morning because everyone prefers pulling back the preserved sheets of a clean bed, but once you must pop out of bed at an ungodly hour and rush to a screaming baby (the whole neighborhood can probably hear his wails by now) your sheets remained untouched for the next 15 hours. Sometimes those three hours of solitude at the end of a long day are all that I think about for the first 12 hours of the day. Sometimes I make it an hour into those three hours before I’m ready to sneak into my son’s room and wake him up to play.
Can you see how fickle mothers can be? Some days are good. Some days are not worth revisiting. You wonder if the constant whining and crying is just a phase or if he’s on the same journey of “finding himself” as you are on. Do we ever really find ourselves? Is there ever a moment in our lives when we can define exactly who we are and who we will remain for the rest of our lives? If you were to ask me these questions when I was 18 and beaming with confidence I would have answered a definite “yes.” What is life but a collection of valleys and peaks? Motherhood is no exception. Within motherhood there are valleys and peaks. As I write this, I am without doubt in a valley. I have shed many frustrated and exasperated tears from the darkness of my closet in the past week. I have wondered what I am doing wrong to cause such tantrums in my little one. Do I love him enough or is he doubting my love? I can’t stay in this valley forever, and I know the journey to the next peak will start soon enough. But for now I’m just hoping not to tumble all the way down. This hope of making it down in one piece is enough for now. Basic survivial is sometimes the best we can do. However, those moments when we are at a peak is when the whole world seems invincible and becoming a Pinterest mom doesn’t seem that unbelievable. Believe me when I say that you too will have those moments, but rememeber to enjoy the view no matter where you are.
True this blog was for me. As a past writer, I have always felt a sense of personal and deep accomplishment when I write something. But I also started this blog to connect with mothers, although in the planning process it became too much for other people. That’s when I lost my voice. Pleasing the masses means losing my voice. In a quiet morning alone, I found my voice again. My wish for my blog is that I am able to use it as a tool to find myself at the top of the next peak. Then and only then can I begin to help bridge the distance between my readers’ valleys and peaks.