I’ve Missed You, Too

The thing about babies is that they fit perfectly right where the laptop used to go.

And while sustaining life, wiping butts, and singing made up songs to accompany every mundane event is surprisingly fun, days thus spent don’t often leave me teeming with inspiration.

It’s funny: I am ridiculously enthusiastic about Sam and his little daily adventures (Will he spit up or won’t he? How long will his socks stay on this time?) but I feel a little shy about putting this delight into words. I’m not sure if this sheepishness comes from a fear of turning into one of those mothers or just a general reluctance to brag.

Don’t get me wrong: I love to talk about my baby. Zach and I can talk for hours about what makes Sam smile (being tapped on the nose is, apparently, a source of great happiness for him) and when I’m with other young mothers my inhibitions are somewhat loosened, as the exchange of little milestones constitutes most of the conversation. I guess it’s just that I trust my husband and other new moms to understand how a mewling infant has become so genuinely fascinating to me, so infinitely important. And, as I certainly didn’t understand the sensation until I became a mother, I’m wary of others dismissing me as a dull, predictable, baby-crazy, stay-at-home mom.

That’s certainly how I’ve felt many times over the past month. There’ve been days when I wanted to cry because I couldn’t accomplish a single one of the four items on my to-do list. And one of those items was “blog”! On a day in the Life Before Baby, I got dressed up, worked a full time job, ran errands, visited with friends, worked out, cooked, and cleaned up before settling down for a full night’s sleep. Now I’m doing well if I remember to put on real shoes instead of slippers when I make an excursion to the grocery store. I haven’t slept more than three or four hours in one stretch for over two months. Two months ago, I could confidently state that 100 students needed me. Now, I’ve been replaced at work and only one little person needs me. I like to think that Sam considers me irreplaceable, but I still feel severely threatened by advertisements for Similac.

While I’m adapting to Life With Baby, this change of pace has left me struggling to maintain a sense of self now that productivity no longer provides reassurance that I’m alive and important to the world.  Self-confidence, or at least a notion that you’ve got something worthwhile to say, is essential for any writer. Lacking that, I’ve been reluctant to post here.

But I took a walk with my dear friend Kate today, and she reminded me that becoming a mother doesn’t necessarily make me an irrelevant person. She also had the goodness to remind me, through her genuine interest in my changing life and her patience with Sam’s many interruptions, that people without kids do not necessarily resent people with kids. I don’t know where that fear came from, but I didn’t realize how much sway it held over me until her kindness dispelled it.

So while Sam still gets lap priority over the computer, I hope I’ll be updating a little more frequently for a while. At least until we leave for Michigan. Wait–did I tell you about that? That we’re spending the summer in Michigan? Honey, we’ve got some catching up to do. Soon.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “I’ve Missed You, Too

  1. And this would be the first time I’ve felt pervasive sadness that I no longer live in Michigan…this is only partially facetious.

  2. Friend,
    For all the strange shame and self-consciousness I’ve also felt as a mom, I can assure you that being a mother, with all of the half-silly, half-intelligent things we do (like walk out in slippers to work, or put on two different earrings, or none at all), mothering is tremendously important. Not only for the child(ren) you are parenting, but also for you: for your emotional, spiritual, and, yes, intellectual growth. And we, as your fans and family, love to hear about every step, every discovery, every thought in this precious, short period of your child’s infancy. If you are not writing often here, I hope that you’re writing somewhere. This is such a unique time in your life.

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