What Being a Mom Looks Like

I remember in the early days of motherhood feeling somewhat bewildered by the amount of free time I suddenly had and by my inability to do anything with it. Yes, I was home all day, and no, I didn’t have a lot to do (aside from feedings, naps, diaper changes), but when I got to the end of the day I would look back and say, “Okay, so he ate, slept, and pooped today. What did I do? Hmmmm. About the same.” How could that be? I was used being really productive and driven and having lists of things that I would gladly check off as soon as I could. And then suddenly I was incapable of even making a list.

I remember having conversations with friends as well. We were feeling each other out, I think. Making sure we weren’t doing something wrong.

“So, what do you do all day?”

“Nothing. I can’t seem to do anything these days. Even when the baby is napping, I can’t think of whatever it was I was planning to do when the baby was napping.”

“Yeah. Me too.”

It took me a while but I figured it out: I was tired. And unsure of what “taking care of a baby” looks like. I didn’t realize that so much of my day would be spent indoors simply because the baby was napping and I needed to be there. Instead of heading out at a moments notice to get something from the store, slipping my sandals on and grabbing my purse from the hook on my way out the door, I suddenly had to plan: would the baby need to eat? Do I have some extra diapers? A change of clothes? A few extra burp cloths? Books? Toys? Distractions? Blankets? Does the baby need a hat? Sunscreen? Two pairs of socks? Mittens? Should I wear him or put him in a stroller or is it close enough that I can carry him?

In the years since then, I’ve adjusted, my friends have adjusted. We are, for the most part, able to read or write or bake or quilt or sew or build or whatever in the moments we are able to sneak during naps or when the older kid is playing by himself. But I still feel, sometimes, like I did in the early days: “What do I do with my time? Why can’t I get anything done? Why on earth does it take me an hour to get out the door? And how does it happen that we seem to spend so much time inside when it’s so beautiful outside?” In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about that this week in particular. So I think it was serendipitous that a friend of mine (thanks Jolena!) posted this article from The Washington Post (run a couple of years ago) on her blog today.

I think sometimes, despite being a mom, I’m also my “friend” in Tacoma. Anyway, I enjoyed it and thought I would share it with you all, too.

Have a good weekend. Please.

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2 Comments

  1. Sometime during my first year of motherhood, I was talking to a married but child-free friend on the phone. She told me that she didn’t know what on earth she would do with herself if she were a stay-at-home mom like me. She said that she managed to accomplish all of her housewifery in about an hour in the evening, so what would anybody possibly have to do during the rest of the day? I wanted to hit her. But I didn’t because she was on the other side of the country. Where, exactly, all of those minutes and hours go is often a mystery, but I can promise that I didn’t spend them sitting on the couch.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    So true. It is hard to make an accounting of what I did during the day, but somehow I tire myself out sufficiently and definitely need some time to wind down and relax at the end of the day, so I figure whatever it was I did, it was important. 🙂

    [Reply]

  2. The article is so spot on I could cry. Whether the tears are from joy or exhaustion I can’t tell you right now – probably both in all the right kind of ways.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    It is, isn’t it? And exactly what I needed last week after I spent just about every day reminding myself how busy I used to be and now I don’t do anything. Except all that stuff of course. 🙂

    [Reply]

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