We celebrated Dragon Boy’s 4 month birthday yesterday, and while so many people keep telling me how time flies this first year, I beg to differ. I feel like I’ve had him forever.
Here’s some advice to women (or men) out there. Don’t have kids if you’re not ready, financially, but more importantly, emotionally.
I was ready. I was excited about expanding our family and loving someone more than words can explain, and I was looking forward to this experience helping me grow into a woman and out of my Peter Pan mentality. But Jesus Almighty, becoming a mother didn’t just help me grow up, it basically catapulted me into a world that confuses and scares me on a daily basis, and forced me to face responsibilities unbeknownst to me. No amount of mental preparing for motherhood geared me up for this, and every day I question myself, guilt trip myself, and work myself up in a tizzy til I collapse in exhaustion for some unsettling sleep on the couch.
I love my son. I love my son more than I love my cat, and that is saying a lot. I often feel like my insides are gonna explode and leek out of my body in the form of tears over this love that I cannot cope with. But as I devote everything to him, I wonder how much of myself I’ve lost, and merely wondering this makes me feel like a selfish, horrible mother.
Deep down I know I’m not a selfish, horrible mother (well, at least not horrible). I’ve put my career on hold to focus on his needs and wants while simultaneously trying to balance giving him everything, and knowing when to say a firm “no” when needed. But sometimes, I can’t help but want to focus on my needs and wants, do stuff that I took for granted before I became a mother, like write for an evening in a coffee shop, or go to the gym, or meet a girlfriend for a drink or two, or take a bubble bath complete with candles, wine and a good book.
I need to add here that I have a wonderful husband who is a wonderful dad to Dragon Boy. If I told him I wanted to do any of the above things, he’d no doubt take the baby off my hands and tell me to go enjoy myself. But it’s not the same. I would inevitably feel guilty that I dumped the baby on my husband, who works long stressful hours, and worry that his parenting would throw our son off the schedule I worked so hard to establish. In the end, I would think the guilt and worry is not worth it, and I don’t attempt that leisure activity again.
I want myself back. I just haven’t figured out how yet.