Friday, August 19, 2011

The L Word

Last year at this time, I was a wreck. After having spent seven months home with Liam, the thought of going back to school and transitioning to working momma terrified me. I was itching for adult conversation, a reason to get dressed, and getting out and felt so guilty for it. Mike was fantastic about helping and checking in, but there is only so much time a momma can spend alone with a baby before she climbs walls. Within a few weeks, we were all in a routine. In April, I realized Liam had been in daycare half his life.

Fast forward a year. This past summer was amazing. If the economy would allow me to take a five year career hiatus and winter never arrived, I would live on peanut butter sandwiches and stay home with the Boo in a heartbeat. I say that now but will admit that there is a part of staying home that I always feel guilty for admitting: it can get very lonely. I love Liam. I love him more than I ever imagined I could love a toddler. I love everything about him. That being said, he has a twenty word volcabulary. Poor Mike comes home and I cling to him for any touch of adult interaction. I wonder if Liam feels the same way about me. I know he loves me, but he also loves his friends. He didn't want to leave daycare yesterday. He's gone two days this summer while I have PD.

I find that the journey to motherhood has been interesting. Mike and I feared that it would alienate us from our friends. We worried that we would have no time to ourselves and our relationship would suffer. We made a point of making each other a priority. I make sure he has time for his hobbies or even time to play video games. He is always offering to watch Liam so I can go out. If anything, he and I have made a better effort regarding each other than we did before Liam's arrival. In spite of the fact that our last date out was April 2, we are not feeling too too overwhelmed.

In a lot of ways, motherhood alienated me from the rest of the world. Going out at 7:30 is no longer an option. The word "babysitter" is not in our list of possibilities. There are people who have offered that I would trust to watch him, but I feel like a bad mother asking someone to watch Liam for a few hours so Mike and I can go drink at a bar and watch a Sox game or something along those lines. He and watch games in the basement or have a drink together after Liam goes to bed. We catch up on each other. I'd rather take a walk to the park, play on the slides, read Goodnight Moon three times, and have a glass of wine with Mike after Liam goes to bed.

When Liam was first born, everyone who called, emailed, or stopped by had an opinion. To a new mother, these "helpful hints" came across as "You're doing it wrong. Your child will grow up to rob 7-11's and it will be all your fault." People have the best of intentions. They really do. I shyed away from a lot of those people whose visits had the feel of a CPS meeting where I had to defend not giving Liam cereal in his formula, not putting rum on his gums, using a Moby wrap, not having another baby, and refusing to let a one month old cry it out. When Mike's step grandmother commented,"It's ok, we all have our bad mother moments," when I refused to let her put cereal in Liam's bottle, I almost snapped. When a friend of mine told me she thought it was selfish to be induced just because of gestational diabetes, I also cried the entire ride home. I was prepared for a lot of things before Liam came. Defending your parenting choices came out of left field.

I was very niave about a lot of things about motherhood. I pretty much skipped over the C-section parts of pregnancy books assuming I didn't have to be familiar with them. I was right about that but it was close towards the end of my pregnancy. I assumed that breastfeeding would be natural to me because I was determined to do it. No such luck thanks to a thyroid issue. Poor Mike had to keep watching Liam and I cry as I tried to get him to latch to get nothing.

I have a few people I can talk to and make plans to go out with. I get out without Liam maybe once every six to eight weeks. Sometimes, I feel like the world has moved on while I was changing diapers. I don't expect the world to stop because Mike and I decided to have a child, but I feel like I have such a hard time finding my place in the rest of the world. Like other aspects of motherhood, I was very niave about the loneliness. When we do get together in social situations, I feel like I have very little to contribute to conversations. My life revolves around teaching and being part of a family.

I love my life and know I am beyond blessed. Mike is the best friend and husband a wife would wish for. I know this is the only time I will ever be the mother of a toddler and cherish every moment of it.


  1. I'm on the other side of the fence and feel the same loneliness and sometimes alienation, because the majority of my friends now have babies/children and I don't. I feel left out of conversations and the like, because (and I've actually been told this) I wouldn't understand because I do not have children. Maybe so, but I sometimes feel like my friends with children hold themselves above me a little because of this fact. It hurts because I DO want children. I just haven't found the right person yet. AND! YES! I am freaking out, because I am heading into my mid-30's and am still single. It'd be nice if those same friends could pause and try to see it from my point of view as I TRY to see it from theirs.

    It sucks that you had to go through the "helpful" mom advice. I've heard that from other friends too.

  2. Jess, I wish you lived closer! I have some great friends who come sit in our back yard, grill, and play with Liam. When I am with my friends who don't have kids, I love being able to talk about what is going in their lives. I am so lucky for that. There are a few that I feel I am growing apart from and, while it stinks, it is what it is. I am making a point of getting together next summer. Hugs!

  3. I wish I lived closer too (or had a second place down there...when I win the lottery)! I'd love to hang out around the grill in your backyard and play with Liam! It'd be great if you guys could come and see the farm too! We have an awesome camping area out in the back property complete with fire pit and outhouse. It is so gorgeous up here (as you know), but it is on the lonely side too. I've made some good friends up here, but because it is so vast we live eons away from each other. When I hear my 'southern' friends complain about having to drive a half hour to get somewhere, I chuckle to myself! A half hour! That's a short ride up here!
    Miss you lady! I can't believe how big Liam is! He's not the tiny baby I once met!