Motherhood (finding balance) Womanhood
Being a mother isn’t easy but being a woman isn’t easy either.
For over 12 years I have been mother of a fantastic boy, and I wouldn’t trade a second of those years for anything else in this world. However, the road through motherhood has not been easy for me at all. Before I became a mother, I would “ooh and awe” at mothers who crossed my path, I would make faces while coddling someone else’s little bundle of joy, and at around 28 years old, I had those awful depressed moments when I thought my “biological clock was running out”. I am a late bloomer in the baby making realm, the odd woman out around my childless friends, almost always the oldest mom in my son’s classes, and forever exhausted in the romance department, and I find myself feeling out-of-place on every end of the spectrum. So while my little boy is growing into a young man, I am struggling as a single mother while trying to keep my balance when things don’t go as planned (which is almost always). My struggle for balance affects my personal relationships as well. Through blogging and poetry, I am renewing myself, and this post is as much for me as it is for anyone else who may have lost themselves along the path through motherhood.
Twelve years ago, when I looked at mothers (anywhere/everywhere) I thought, “I can do that”. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t look easy, but it didn’t look hard either. Actually, it just looked natural. So, at 34 years old, I held my 8 pound bundle of joy and reality set in – I’m it. I wanted to be the best mother I could be, but as the days passed, I found myself struggling to “do all and be all”, and I kept waiting for things to come to me “naturally”. I remember standing in the middle of a Mommy & Me class looking at every mother in the room, and I asked myself, “How do they make it look so easy?” I was too embarrassed to ask anyone how they did it, so I just made up my mind to try harder and to do more.
Months passed and then years and I still found it difficult to be the mother that I thought my son needed me to be while maintaining the woman I use to be. I had no idea that I would be a single parent trying to raise a boy, and at times the sole responsibility of dropping off, picking up, and being the only one, was overwhelming. Why was this so hard for me?
Although I am more adapted to motherhood, when my 9 to 5 work duty is over, mommy duty kicks in. After all the prayers, tucking, hugging, and kissing, I quickly shift to house duty (ironing, cleaning, etc.), and when I finally lay my head down at night and close my eyes, it feels more like a blink and then it starts all over again. The woman in me never gets a chance to experience other aspects of life outside of being a mom.
My inability to “fly by the seat of my pants” and my need for structure, schedules, and advanced notice is my hindrance. Having little to no spontaneity makes it hard to squeeze others into my circle, and, over time, I have managed to push everyone and everything (that does not pertain to my son) to the “back burner”. When friends want to get together for dinner and drinks, I always say, “I don’t have time.” When friends try to set me up on dates, my reply is, “I don’t have time.” Exactly, honestly, and truly, “I don’t have time.” It is a running joke amongst those who know me and they quote me with ease before I utter a single word, “I DON’T HAVE TIME.” The way I see it, to add anything else to my plate feels like strapping a ton of bricks to my back, and I find myself struggling for balance yet again. My friends tell me that men are afraid to ask me out because I have, “I don’t have time” oozing out of my pores. I know they are telling the truth because in my mind, adding things that I “want to do” to my schedule may disturb the things that I “need to do” in my schedule. As for the men who aren’t afraid to ask, I have mastered the art of making simple friendships the only option.
Do I miss hanging out with friends or being dazzled by a compassionate man? Indeed I do, but my personality keeps me weighing every step of my life and for me, one thing always outweighs the other – my purpose is my son. I often wish that there were just a few more hours in a day so that I could enjoy entertaining with friends or an intimate evening being wined and dined, but I just can’t find the time to separate the woman from the mother.
It’s hard to recall my life before giving birth to my son, but a couple of years ago I found pieces of a novel that I never finished writing, and I found some of my old poems. I felt a vague recollection (a small tug in my belly) that reminded me of how much I enjoy writing. Poetry has helped me rekindle my womanhood and has me contemplating ways to find time to date again, and blogging, venting, raving, or whatever you would like to call it, has been very therapeutic for me also, and knowing that my son is older and self-sufficient eases my mind and lessens the stress.
Motherhood has been life altering, amazing, awesome, and a blessing on so many levels, and while my “back burner” is filling up, I know that no one can ever say that I didn’t give it my all. Even knowing what I know about my personality limitations, I’ve learned so much about myself, and though it does not come “naturally” for me, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Regardless of how the grass looks on the other side, it’s not easy, but it’s invaluable and rewarding. Balance is my new goal. I am “finding” myself again, and I am remembering who I was, revamping who I am, and working on being both a mother and a woman for my son and for myself.
Peace & Blessings