I realized, the other night, when my almost six-year-old son put his arm around me, pulled me close to him and gently pat my shoulder, that I do not write much (at least lately) about being a mom. But, that is such a large part of who I am. A huge part. Fundamental. A mom.
Today I am babysitting my gorgeous, fun-loving, one-and-a-half-year-old niece while we are waiting for my nephew to get his first glimpse of this beautiful, frightening world. Bless him, that sweet little boy. He is spending his last moments in utero “laying in a hammock” as my brother-in-law put it, stubbornly breech as my sister awaits a C-section.
Right now, I am listening, over the baby monitor, to my niece fuss and whine and even screech a little as she is having trouble getting to sleep. I am instantly taken back to the days when my own stubborn little boy refused to sleep. I am taken back to bouncing and bouncing and bouncing on an exercise ball in hopes that he would eventually surrender. I am taken back to holding his hand through the crib bars while he clutched my finger begging with his babble and screams for me to pick him up. I am especially taken back to a night when I blogged about us letting him cry it out for a seemingly sadistic amount of time until he gave in to slumber and I toasted to silence.
When my son was smaller, and before our marriage fell apart, I used to write incessantly about motherhood—about the sharp dichotomy about parenting communities and parental judgments, about my husband dressing our son like Liberace, about trying to feel sexy while salsa dancing but being completely stifled by feeling my milk let down, and about me being my son’s first true love. Now, it seems, I write about me, me, me– about my wide hips, about my fractured self, and about finding out who I am again. I don’t know if, perhaps, I have distanced myself from this motherhood thing, not in terms of caring for and loving my son (I think I do a pretty damn good job in that department), but in terms of personal inspiration. I am seeing myself outside of my role as a mother as or because I am no longer a wife, which, I think, is probably a good thing—divvying out a self, apart from the huge responsibilities of momhood, that also needs attention.