At six months, here are some of the things on my mind, diary-style:
I ran my first half-marathon!
Around E's six months of life, I ran my first half marathon, which is a huge point of pride, but I also felt self-conscious about it due to some of the reactions I received. Looks of "um, you just had a baby 6 months ago, why did you choose to run a race?" I could have bailed on the race, and I'm so glad I didn't, because I felt empowered and strong at the finish line, and it turned into amazing bonding time with my sister. Funny enough (or maybe not), I thought about labor the whole thirteen miles, all the moments when I thought "I can't do this" and then I did. In some ways, it was easier than other hard things in my life, because there was a beginning and an end, and while the physical sensations were uncomfortable and even painful at points, the struggle was more mental. I was pleased to notice that mentally, I did okay. I'm proud of myself.
Social media is hard.
I have friends who share pictures constantly of their little ones, friends who refuse to post out of respect for their children's future lives and individual selves and friends who fall somewhere in between, like me.
I see all the mommy bloggers who feel comfortable sharing the intimate day-in, day-out details of lives with their small loves, and it doesn't feel quite right for me. Good for them, probably not for me.
I read this article about a writer who felt she crossed a line writing about her son's puberty experiences, and she realized that his life is not hers to dissect and then spill those musings to the world. His life is his own. That resonates with me, but I get the appeal to share, especially in an age where most of us don't live close to family and friends, especially when the pleasing high from a "like" is so intense, especially when, well, most everybody else is doing it.
I don't know where I draw the line yet. I like to share here and there, but I primarily write about motherhood rather than about my son. There is a difference. I'll reserve his baby book to remember the minute, fleeting moments of his personality and preferences.
Nothing will feel like 100%.
A hundred balls in the air, and you can't devote 100% to them all at once. You pick, and focus, and let the others crash or hover, and then you trade one out for the other.
I don't mind leaving my kid.
Gasp! I know. When we were in Vancouver this summer, I met a mom who hadn't been away for her child for more than an hour. The kid was 20 months. I respect her choice; that is her life and what she wants to do. But I cringe at the thought of never leaving. I need breaks, and I'm "supposed" to feel guilty about that, I guess.
I'm still practicing selflessness.
I cried the other night to my husband about this process of carving out more space to be at home and be with my family, and then feeling like that time slips through my fingers like sand. And I'm not talking about time flying in the fun way, more so the feeling of everything being a rush. For example, we get home from work and by the time we chat about our days, play with E for a bit, feed him, bathe him, nurse him, make dinner, put dishes and laundry away, put E to bed (which involved an hour of a little crying, a little rocking) . . . it was 9 p.m. and I didn't feel calm or connected or collected in the least. I had wanted to put E to bed and watch a movie with my husband or talk about plans for our next trip and instead, my intentions were thrown out the window because newsflash, continual reminder: it's not about me and what I want. I can have lists, I can have goals, but part of being a parent is realizing that you are not in control. If things you want to happen happen, cool. But make peace with the fact that it probably won't.
I miss my friends.
I've been feeling like the stereotypical person who had a baby and dropped off the face of the earth from her friends and community. It is true, and it isn't. I caught up with two dear friends recently, one of whom I hadn't talked to on the phone in like, 2 years (crazy). She is so special to me, and yet, life got in our way of staying in touch. When we took literally 25 minutes to chat, it filled up my heart in the best way, hearing her voice and her laugh and noticing how we could dive back into any subject without hesitation. Anyway, she voiced that she felt that since she didn't have kids, she often erred on the side of "not wanting to bother" friends with children. Another friend echoed that sentiment, by saying, "How can i complain about something dumb when you're trying to raise a person over there?" I appreciate those words, very much, because yeah -- finding time to stay connected to friends is super hard lately and it often doesn't make the top of my priority list, and yeah, this work feels important and meaningful in a particular way, but the other half of me is like: tell me your dumb stuff! text me when you think of me! keep our connection going strong because right now, I'm dropping it, and I need you.
I'm so grateful for a community of local mothers.
I brought a friend dinner this week who had her second baby. By friend, I mean fellow yoga teacher and acquaintance. I could tell that she was surprised by my gesture, happily so, because we don't know each other all that well. And what I wanted to say to her, but didn't, was that I need a community of mothers here and I don't know how to find one except to do nice things for the moms I know. I work full-time and I can't do the daytime music classes and playdates or whatever and sometimes i feel like I am sinking in the waves of multiple identities. Luckily my coworkers are in the same boat, and I am crazy grateful for them each and every day.