Monday, February 25, 2013


While perusing facebook the other day, I came across this post at Renegade Mothering.  It is a whole lot of brutal honesty about how losing your previous identity truly hurts once you become a mother.  I was so glad to stumble upon that post.  I felt this exact way when Destructo was born and it really made me feel like I was one step away from the looney bin.  (My postpartum depression probably didn't really help matters either.)

In my case, it didn't fully hit me until we came home from the hospital and my parents left for the day.  It was just me, Mr. Destructo, and Kai.  I was suddenly completely overwhelmed and nearly lost. I actually nearly cried when my mom left that day (and all the days that followed for a while.)  I didn't know what to do with this fragile looking little baby.  And to be totally honest, I didn't really want to do anything with him that didn't involve me sleeping.  If you have read my birth story, then you know why sleep was so vitally important.  After 92 hours awake and 74 hours in labor, I just wanted silence and darkness.

But as is the case with newborns, he had his days and night mixed up.  Mr. Destructo ended up sleeping with him in the recliner so I could rest.  I was out like a light and hated when Mr. Destructo woke me up to tell me Destructo was hungry.  It wasn't like he was going to eat anyways since he wouldn't latch.  The next day, Mr. Destructo had to go and run errands and family wasn't around just yet.  He left me with Kai.  All by myself.  ALONE.  I remember Kai was fussing and I couldn't get him to latch on and I knew he was going to die from hunger and he hadn't had a wet diaper all day and I was on the phone with the pediatrician and....

In that moment, I just knew I had made a huge mistake.  I was not cut out to be a mother and to raise a child.  But yet, what could I do about it since Destructo was already here?  I questioned my sanity.  Life had been fulfilling and good before.  Peaceful.  Why had I felt like I needed to have more than what I already had which was my good, quiet life with Mr. Destructo and the dog.

A few weeks down the road I remember asking Mr. Destructo if he was happier now than before we had kids.  Until about 2 months time, this is a question I would ask regularly.  And if I am being honest, I know it is because I wanted him to say he was less happy now since I was.  I just wanted to sleep when I wanted to, eat when I wanted to, pee in peace.  I wanted to be able to go out to eat at a moments notice.  Sit on my butt and cut coupons all day while watching Hoarders on TLC to make me feel better about my cluttered house.  Go ride horses.  But I don't think new parenthood affects fathers quite to the extent that it does mothers.  Mothers are responsible for nourishing this child and in that aspect (unless they formula feed) are never far from their babies for any long periods of time.  Which can make you feel so claustrophobic.

Then Mr. Destructo went to work and it was just me and the baby after the first few weeks once the family had to go back to their regularly scheduled lives.  It was quiet and oh so boring.  But to go anywhere was a massive undertaking.  Plus at the time Destructo still wasn't nursing well so I was pumping and it was such a hassle to go anywhere because by the time we would get there, he would be hungry and I would have to pump and neither of these works well in public.  Add in the sheer exhaustion I still felt and I mainly stayed at home.  Most days I got nothing accomplished but keeping the kid alive and occasionally remembering to feed the dog.  Looking back this is all that really mattered but at the time I felt like a huge failure when Mr. Destructo would come home from work to a sink full of dishes, neither of us dressed, and chaos descending upon our household.  Oh and no dinner on the table, stove, oven, etc.  There was never any dinner.  And one day I even made him come in the back door because Kai hadn't slept all day and was finally asleep close to the front door.

I literally felt like I was in mourning for my old life.  And this makes sense looking back because the old me had died.  I would never again be not a mom.  The universe doesn't  work that way.  To the day I die, I will always be Destructo's momma.  Which is heady and awesome and absolutely utterly terrifying all at once.

But that doesn't mean I didn't want to keep some shreds of my old self.   I wanted to go out and garden and pull weeds.  I missed horse back riding.  I missed training the dog to do random weird tricks just because I had time to kill.  I missed bird watching.  I even missed grocery shopping without worrying about getting back in time for my next session as a milk cow.  I missed being able to go bra less.  I was tired of wearing pads of one sort or another.  I hated my flabby stomach.  I hated my sore clogged duct boobs.  I hated that the dog irritated me just because she existed and was one more responsibility for me.
House finches at one of my feeders

But around six weeks this all started to change.  Destructo smiled at me at four weeks and I melted.  How could someone so little and so darn needy suddenly just transform my day?  At six weeks, I finally had a bit of a routine and rhythm going.  Maybe I could handle this mother thing after all.  At times, we were both dressed (okay that's a lie I never get dressed unless I am leaving the house,)  dog was fed and had water, and there was even dinner (or at least a plan for dinner) by the time Mr. Destructo came home from work.

By about twelve weeks in, I had this stay at home mom thing down.  I was loving life.  And then I had to go back to work.  And once I again, I felt like a huge failure all over again.  My house was messier than ever before.  I mean nearly to the point of unsanitariness.  I felt like the walls were closing in on me all over again.  The best moments of my week were spent with Destructo.  I detested going to work with the fires of a thousand suns.  But with time even this hatred eased up and I settled into a routine.

Work was a good thing for me even if my ultimate goal is to be a stay at home mom in the future.  It gave me back a sense of normalcy.  My work bestie really helped me out in this aspect.  She was the one who was there for me on those hard first days back.  In fact, on my very first day back she nearly knocked me over in her exuberant hug.  She was there for me on the sleepless night days when I thought I couldn't rock this working mom thing.  She was there to distract me when I was weaning from being a milk cow and my boobs hurt horribly and all I wanted was a bread bowl at Panera.  I truly believe God puts people in your life at the right time for a reason and she and I went through a lot of crap together in the time she was here.  Sob I miss my bestie.  But that was a bit of a tangent that I wasn't trying to go down.  Haha  Long story short, work helped me to remember at least momentarily who I was before my heart got stolen by a tornado of a little boy.

Life as a mommy is hard.  Exhausting.  But oh so good.  I miss my old self nearly to the point of tears.  But this new self is truly what I was meant to be.  I hold little hands and wipe away tears.  I soothe fears and calm tantrums.  Even when I go off to work every day, I leave my heart behind and my mind is always on what Destructo is doing.  Instead of buying new things that I want like bird books, dog toys, cute outfits for me, I like to buy train toys, tractor books, and shirts with things that have wheels.  And let me just say, I eat a heck of a lot healthier than I used to since I have to share all my food with Destructo.  Well except my Reese eggs.  I might or might not have been eating one in my car in my driveway in the dark yesterday to avoid sharing it. 

A good day used to be a blissful horse back ride complete with a gallop through an open field.  Or bird watching and trying to catch a bird I have never seen before.  I once spent an entire day doing a backyard bird watcher count.  An entire day at my window cataloging all the birds I saw.  And it was amazing.  I used to wake up to the sound of the birds and would open up my blinds to watch them eat at my feeders while lounging in bed.  Now a good day consists of walking to see the big blue truck, seeing a train while we are grocery shopping, and blowing more bubbles than I ever care to blow.  The sounds I hear when I wake up are no longer the birds outside but the sounds of airplanes, trains, trucks, and diggers all coming from a sweet little boy over the monitor.  Lounging in bed nowadays consists of cuddling with Destructo as I bribe him to let me rest just a few more minutes with Daniel Tiger on the smart phone.
Cool picture of a yellow rumped warbler eating suet

I used to go out with friends and drink and shoot pool and dance on bars.  Okay this was more like a one time thing except for the shooting pool.  But I did dance/sway on a bar one time at Coyote Ugly and I have the picture to prove it.  Now dancing consists of jumping/ skipping/ and twirling to whatever fast beat song comes on the radio and hearing more momma and  up up up since dancing with momma is so much more fun than by yourself.  Drinking now consists of a Route 44 cherry coke.  Hey a momma has to have her caffeine fix every day to keep up with a whirlwind named Destructo.

Would I go back to the old days before Destructo?  Nah.  Life is far more fun with him around and while motherhood can be the loneliest of all professions, I am never alone.  Okay maybe I would go back for a day just to remember who I used to be since I truly can't remember what I used to be or do before him.  But I wouldn't stay long.  There will come a day when the boat is rocked all over again and I have to refind myself as a mother when we have a second child.  (And yes this is why I seriously consider letting Destructo being an only child.  Life is good right now.  He sleeps most nights and isn't completely dependent on me anymore.  My boobs are my own again!  haha)  But even further down the road, once the children are grown and gone I will still be figuring out who I am.  Maybe then I will get to enjoy staring at birds all day.  Or maybe I will want to go sky diving who knows!  But only time will tell what the future holds for me.

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