I've felt the strongest refusal to accept my current status of life. It feels almost foreign to me, like I am observing an outsider - a small child or a bratty teenager. She is crossing her arms, sitting down in the middle of a busy thoroughfare and resisting the change.
I notice myself wanting to assure others, but most of all assure myself, that I am unchanged. I can still manage my time, still go on dates, still read leisurely, still have a fabulous dinner party, still drink to my heart's content; I can still do and be everything like I used to. I receive praise for these things and realize that I am living a bit of a lie.
There are cool parents. You see them casually carrying on a conversation while their children hang out in rock-star clothes, looking more like adults than kids. They are unaffected, calm, and effortless. I mean there are plenty of missteps, but for the most part - they sell the idea that one can have his cake and eat it too.
While that may be true of me occasionally, if you came over at exactly the right time of day, you'd see just how uncool I've become. You'd see my hair in the most sad of states, my outfits (if I manage to get dressed) covered in god-knows what fluids, and my food choices based entirely on convenience rather than nutrition or intention. You'd see me fretting that any decision I make now might make a future decision harder (if I hold her too much now, will she be unable to comfort herself in the future?, etc) I know the answers to these questions, but I'm still so annoyed that I hear myself asking them. You'd see me talking myself out of researching every.single.thing we do. I know being informed is important, but seriously - all the decisions you have to make as a parent could swallow you whole. You've simply got to prioritize. You'd see me worrying about having a conversation with Joel that doesn't have to do with Bowie. In essence, I've become uncool.
Friends that admire how little I've changed, I've lied. I am doing Mom things. I submit the following list as evidence:
- I have used my saliva to clean dried breast-milk off her face.
- I have placed my finger under her nostrils to test for breathing.
- I have nervously handed my baby to unwashed hands.
- I have severely judged mothers who complained about not getting a shower in.
- I've been called away from a hot bath by a screaming baby, only to return to cold water.
- I've put my shirt on inside-out without noticing.
- I've have a hard time posting status updates about anything but Bowie.
- I've been unable to sneak in a phone chat with my best friend for AN ENTIRE MONTH.
- I've drank 2nd-day old coffee, cold as ice.
- I've anxiously asked Joel to roll up his car window about 100 times, thinking she's cold.
While I don't care and while being cool has never been the goal, I do feel a bit strange to myself. This mother suit doesn't quite fit yet. It may not be appropriate to say so, and even less to feel so, but I often want to take it back, to return it to the store. Joel said it correctly last night, "You have buyer's remorse?" While I seriously love Bowie (and am annoyed I felt the need to type that. Of course I do), I can't say I am one of those naturals - despite having a lot of experience around newborns and children. I know what I am doing, but loving it? How are you supposed to know you'll enjoy parenting until you try it, and then what if you don't enjoy it. Too.Damn.Bad. We aren't all cut out to be mothers and fathers. I have no doubt that I'll find my way through this awkward maze, but it's odd, it's disorienting, and for now, I can't say I am enjoying it - and I think that is important to say out loud.
Except when I pick up Bowie and kiss her cheek. That's nice.
Instead of being a too-tight suit, maybe motherhood could be a nice blouse. It can compliment my existing wardrobe, but not be too loud or overpower the outfit.
Well, cheers to change, I guess.
I know one day I will forget this former version of myself, just as I now feel out of touch with 18-year-old me. So, despite the negative aspects of it, I really must record and share it.
How the hell else will I know where I am going if I cannot remember where I've been.
To the resistance, to the progression, and to documenting it.