Thursday, November 5, 2015

Identity Crisis

When I first became a mother, my world changed instantly. Gone were the days of sleeping in, or staying out late. Gone were the days of getting out of the house quickly and running a few errands. At first, I didn't mind at all. There was nothing I would have rather done than stay at home and stare at the baby. I would wake up in the middle of the night to stare at the sleeping baby. It was my entertainment, my socializing, my food. Cylas was all I needed.

And then he got older, and Eric went back to work and I started reading FB pages that weren't baby focused and I remembered that there was a whole world out there. A world I used to live in. A world that was hard to get to between naps and bedtime and a baby that really didn't like being in his car seat.

Sometimes, being a mom is lonely.

And this seems crazy because now we really fill our days with a lot of activities. We have classes and parks and play dates with new mom/baby friends. I have a great group of women who have babies around Cylas' age who I spend a couple of afternoons a week with. We chit chat as the babies parallel play and we text each other questions about potty training, nap schedules and food advice. I know a lot about their opinions on cloth vs. disposable diapers, and how much and where their children sleep at night, but ultimately, I know very little about them. We don't talk about ourselves much. Well no, we do. We talk about ourselves in the context of our newish identity...MOM. Most of us are currently some variation of the traditional "stay at home mom." Meaning that none of us goes to a 9-5 5 days a week and has to leave the baby with a caretaker. We're the main caretaker. Taking care is the Full Time Job. So, these new friends are kind of like work friends. We met because we work at the same "stay at home mom" job and we mostly talk about work.

I also have a few dear friends who I knew before Cylas was born (if there was such a time) and we happened to have babies around the same time. We talk about the babies A LOT too. But because we don't need to go through all the background small talk of getting to know each other "before baby" it makes it easier to slip into conversation about other things. Politics maybe, or music or....who am I kidding, we mostly talk about our babies. Wouldn't you? Look how cute they are.

And it makes sense. I spend about 95% of my time thinking about Cylas, so it makes sense that I would spend the majority of my time conversing about him as well. When Eric and I do get a night away from Cylas, or after he goes down for the night, we find ourselves talking about him, comparing notes on the amazing things he did that day. After we've exhausted the subject, we collapse on the couch with only the energy to watch Fresh Off The Boat. I try to always remember to ask Eric how his day was, and I try not to fall asleep before he's told me.

But then, later, as I lie in bed, scanning FaceBook or Instagram, or attempting to read a (non child-rearing related) book, I start to think about all the things I didn't give myself time to think about...or talk about. And sometimes...I feel lonely. I look at the events that so many of my childless friends are posting about, and I feel a bit envious. They are traveling, working, acting, shopping, eating out, going to spin class, (ok, I'm not envious of spin class, I'm just envious of her know who you are.) Most of my days revolve solely around Cylas right now. He is lucky. I am lucky that I get to spend so much time with him. And then I feel guilty for being envious of spin class. SPIN CLASS?!? But then I remember that the first (and sometimes only) question anyone asked me that day was "how's Cylas" as though I didn't exist outside of him. As though, Cylas  were the most interesting thing about me. Or, maybe, the only interesting thing about me.

And of course, I know this isn't true. And they know this isn't true. Even though it sometimes feels like it is true. I think it is easy, once you become a parent, especially a mom, especially a stay at home mom, to feel like you've been handed, not only, a new little life to love and take care of, but also a brand new identity. And it replaces your old identity...entirely! I've talked about this before, I know. I think about it a lot. And for now, it's fine. I'm envious sometimes, and lonely sometimes, but mostly so deeply in love with my little Czar that I don't remember that I'm lonely or envious. And, to top it all off, I want ANOTHER BABY! I want one bad. So, I better get working on creating a new, blended identity that makes me feel good, but hopefully doesn't have to involve a spin class.


  1. Addy, it's interesting how your experience taking care of Cylas has mirrored my care-taker experience helping my friend who had a stroke. So many new people but all "work friends" therapists, nurses, doctors, handicap access ride providers, la la la...the list goes on. As time is passing I am realizing, wait a sec! Why'd I stop singing or feel like I had to only squeeze it in? As I go through my files I am finding that there was prolific making but instead of songs it became ditties. Anyways, loooong story short, I LOVE YOU, you are interesting and having kids makes you MORE interesting also you have to remember that for the longest time you wanted to be a mother and married to the love of your life. These are plot points that have happened in the past two years, it's not the climax of life, it's not the point of life, it's just the structure and container of life expanding. Cylas is going to (hopefully literally) sing his praises when he gets old enough to appreciate how cool his mom is. I think about how lucky I am to have you as a friend all the time. Your kindness, creative spirit and beauty infuse everything you do. Love you, Strawberry

  2. ps: we aren't in hamlet so we don't need to have a "classic storyline" or a turning point