I've been feeling down lately. It's because I haven't been blogging. Well, it's because I haven't been writing at all. Writing has always been one of the few things that reminded me of who I am. I know that probably sounds strange, but in each phase of my life, writing centered me. If I was ever confused, stressed, or upset, writing was a megaphone into my brain allowing me to flesh out my concerns and thoughts while reminding me of my idiosyncrasies and individuality. Entering motherhood was no exception. I could have a million thoughts, stories, and words bottled up within. I would sit at my computer not knowing what I would write, but as soon as my fingers touched the keyboard it's like the words had a life of their own. Afterwards I would feel relieved.
With the craziness of having baby #3 and all that comes with the daily motherhood grind, I honestly lose my sense of self. Between the sleepless nights, tired days, constant wiping the floor, nursing, cooking, picking up toys, or stepping on them... I lose myself. What makes me an individual and not a domesticated convention? What makes me a person and not a human burp cloth? What makes me a woman and not a baby food dispenser? When you enter motherhood, you get a truckload of identities poured on you. You become a caretaker, a nurturer, and a family's cornerstone etc. I welcome those identities with open arms, but in the midst of that massive pile, I wonder which of these qualities are distinctive to me?
These are the thoughts I've been thinking. I recently found a pair of pearl earrings as I was cleaning our dresser. As I held it, my clothes felt extra raggedy in contrast to the iridescent bauble. Over a year ago I got a gift card to a clothing store. Every time I go to the mall and think I might use it, I look around at all the trendy neat pressed clothes and imagine what they would look like with spit up on it, which is what happens to every garment I wear these days. So I sigh and I walk right out. Don't even get me started on makeup. There's not enough concealer in all of Sephora to cover up the dark rings under my eyes. Jewelry, nice clothes, and makeup, are out of the question right now. As I cast these things to the wayside, I can't help but feel parts of what made me a woman go with it. Being tired, with a limited brain capacity and time, keeps me from writing, something that I really like and enjoy. I know that consistently engaging in my hobbies and interests are out of the question right now, but that too makes me feel like less of a person. What makes me, me? I'm a mother. It's apparent in what I wear, the bags under my eyes, my postpartum gut, my barely functional brain ... lately I feel like that's all I am.
As the blazing bright torch of motherhood gets passed from one generation to the next, does the light overexpose you like a washed-out image? Or does the brightness reveal you? Does the flame like a crucible enable you to me molded, stretched, and strengthened beyond what you were formally capable of? Like a burgeoning butterfly from its cocoon, does the pain and strife of it all allow you to discover yourself in a way you never would have, had motherhood not granted you the opportunity?
The latter has definitely been true for me. I'm certainly stronger than I thought I was in the many different ways that motherhood strengthens every woman. At the end of the day, when I think I'll just lock myself in a room, put on my earphones and drown it all out to some Jesus Culture "We Cry Out" but ... instead I make dinner, clean it up, wash the dishes, get the kids ready for bed and feed a newborn, and on good days I read my son a bedtime story. Granted, dinner might be pasta for the 4th night in a row, cleaning might mean a quick wipe down of the table and floors, Mr. Clean is not seeing his reflection on our dining floor, believe me...but if you're a mother, you know finishing a long hard day with your children fed, washed, and feeling loved is a true blue miracle. When the night is still and I watch my babies sleep, a sense of pride fills my chest. I made it through another day.
In our adjusting to a new kind of normal, as I talked about in my last post, with a new baby, and all the craziness that goes with it, I'm hoping motherhood will continue to stretch and strengthen me not only as a mother but as a person. Motherhood in so many ways has offered me the ability to use my gifts in ways that would be dormant otherwise. I'm hoping I can continue to find myself through my interests and talents while being a mother too. Now that I got that off my chest, I feel like Bruce Banner waking up from the after affects of the gamma bomb. Human again.
I'm off to cuddle with this one...