There are some things in my life now that are so familiar, I can recall the smells and sounds as if I’m standing there, ten or twenty years ago. Others are so new and wirey, I can barely choke down the change before time is up and new smells and sounds arrive.
This morning on my jog, I turned the corner to the downhill in front of our street and saw the Cascade Range. It exudes summertime right now with the blue shadows and dusts of snow. It is one of those familiar sights to me while running that make this place home. I’m nearly 19 again running in cross country or gearing up for the season the summer prior staring in earnest at the finish line.
The thing most unfamiliar is the stroller I push and what it carries.
For some reason, the mister and I have taken note, adjusting to the second child has been even more difficult than the first. Even without postpartum depression and all the new-parent anxiety, it still has been a hard change in our marriage and in our family. Our bodies are older. We aren’t as fit. We need sleep more. Our minds are engaged elsewhere.
I’ve joked about why being a teen parent is a good idea and I’m really only kidding. Except that I’m possibly wondering about that alternate reality where we had children a few years earlier, say at 25 instead of 30, and maybe we’re shuffling kids off to school and gymnastics instead of naptime.
The grass, it is always greener, isn’t it?
So this morning on my jog, the one place I feel the most in touch with the me that was Me before I was Mom, I thought perhaps instead of my body failing me, I’m failing my body. That instead of this whole parenting gig failing me, I’m failing the parenting gig. And maybe instead of trying to hold on to was I was, I should embrace the Who I Am Now.
And I would. If I knew who that was.
It’s funny (not funny ha-ha, more funny interesting) but I feel really similar. Wondering who I have become now that I have two kids and EVERYTHING seems different. I thought I was feeling that way because I’m a single mom. But I guess maybe that’s not it, if you’re in the same place too, huh.
One thing I have been finding truth in lately, though (besides Anne Lamott, where I always seem to find truth with a chuckle) is that grandmas often seem to reflect back and say that: 1) Those were the golden years and they flew by too fast, and 2) I thought I was doing it all wrong, but now I realize that I was just doing the best I could.
By syd on 2008 06 24
Syd, I love you. You and your Anne-Lamott-reading-wise-commenting ways. Seriously. Loved this.
By Mrs. Flinger on 2008 06 24
I loved this.
By Kerri Anne on 2008 06 24
I think no matter what the age, you lose some of your identity as the mother of young children. I also firmly believe it’s one of the reasons a lot of marriages DON’T make it past the 5 or 7 year mark. It’s WORK! But if you persevere, make time for yourself and your relationship, you can still catch a glimps of who you were. And it’s even better, because it’s who you ARE.
By Andrea's Sweet Life on 2008 06 24
Tell it, sistah.
Just last night, I was frazzled by a frustrating kid-meltdown scene; I commented afterward to my visiting MIL that no one teaches you how to be a parent. She said “your children teach you.”
I just took on a consulting project, and it felt so good sitting in a meeting where I felt like the “old” me.
By Marie on 2008 06 24
I don’t know who I am either. I mean, I play the QoSS online and Heather in real life, but WHO are they? The heck if I know.
By Queen of Shake Shake on 2008 06 24
Thanks for this. I am precisely in this place of trying to step up to the new me. I have no idea what’s taking me so long, as I’ve been a mama for nearly 3 1/2 years now, but at least I’m getting around to it. Maybe we can all figure this out together as we write and read. I know reading posts like this not only makes me feel less crazy and alone but also helps me find my way.
By Kaza on 2008 06 24
I’ve decided recently to give up trying to “be me” and accept my current role as “mom to two kids” and focus on little else. (I’m quitting my day job.)
In all honesty, if I have no ulterior agenda (is that the right term?), I’m so much happier in my Mom role. It doesn’t matter who I used to be, just what is now. It’s really forcing me to grow up and get over myself in So Many Ways.
Now, I need only to remember a bit of regular self-maintenance, so I don’t go completely insane.
By superherokaren on 2008 06 24
I know how you feel. You will come through this, and it will make you a stronger mom. None of us have a clue what we are doing, and you know what our kids don’t know that. We do what we can, and make the best of it. (Make fun of the rest.) I mean if you can’t laugh at it all, what can you laugh at?
By MommasTantrum on 2008 06 24
thank you for this, it is nice to know I am not alone. Just the other day I said to my hubby that I should just give up on being “me” and just focus on the kids for now. He looked at me like I had 2 heads.
I really like what Syd’s (first comment)grandma had to say. I know someday i will look back and say it all went too fast, but when I’m in the middle of kid-screaming hell, it is hard to keep that in perspective!
By workout mommy on 2008 06 24
Wait. ON YOUR JOG? GO YOU!
Okay I was at this very place not 2 years ago…it gets easier as the kids get older, to find yourself, to find time for yourself, to find your brain and heart and body working together.
But I also think it’s a result of getting more sleep. Ha ha.
By Karen Sugarpants on 2008 06 24
Nicely put! I know what you mean about the second child. It’s not quite the novelty it once was and it’s hard to focus so exclusively on parenting and on being the awesome mommy.
By All Adither on 2008 06 24
Ahh, y’all. I wish I had something more to give you than a big pile o’ mushy Mrs. Flinger that is just so glad to have people to share this with. :: sniff ::
By Mrs. Flinger on 2008 06 24
The grass really is greener….I had my kids early. My first was born 2 months after my 18th birthday, my 4th when I was 23. I was so over my head! I look back on their younger days with a lot of regret, knowing that if I had been older and more stable I would have been a better mom. And of course now that they are growing up (my oldest is 19) I am coming to the realization that I will be a young grandmother. Sometimes I feel so old (at the ripe old age of 37)!
On the plus side, my youngest will graduate High School in a few years, and Hubs and I are totally planning on having the “honeymoon phase” that we didn’t get to have the first time around. Woo-Hoo, sex in the kitchen again!
By jennifer on 2008 06 25
I’ve sat here at my desk all morning, thinking about taking a jog simply to try to reawaken something, anything about the old me.
I know the old me, though - she was 30. Fifteen years ago.
The grass is not only always greener, sometimes it’s lusher, too.
By Ree on 2008 06 25
I am the mom of twin boys (14 months old). I thought I would want the identity of the “old” me back. Since that test came back with those pink lines, I haven’t looked back. I think of it as adding to my resume. I am an independant thinker, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, and a smartass. (I like to be kinda proud of that last one, it took me a long time to get there…hehe) I don’t think of motherhood as taking over, just adding to. Everyone who knows me, knew the “old” me and they know the “new” me and they embrace exactly who I am right now. No matter whether that person is chasing a toddler or sitting behind a desk. Every person sees a different side of you. You are a different person to every person you meet. Embrace all of the “yous” out there in the world because you’re only what you want to be in that exact moment. If you want to be your nineteen year old self, smile for a minute and bat your eyelashes at a passerby…you can totally pull it off.
By Vicki on 2008 06 25
I’m in this boat with ya sistah…been relying on coffee like its crack lately and I’ve paused to wonder if that’s such a good thing - I mean, its only since the first boy was born that I’ve NEEDED it every day like I do. And running? At least you run.
Not sure how old your little one is, but now that my 2nd is 16-mo-old I’ve gotten to a point where things have settled down a bit and I realize how much more I like being 30 than bein 18. I hope you get there, too.
By Colleen - Mommy Always Wins on 2008 06 25
What an amazing group of women here. Just…wow.
I think, as moms, we all find we feel like this sometimes. We get all wrapped up in the lives of our kids/family and forget about everything else. I know I do. I will admit to putting my marriage behind my kids and sometimes myself, but it’s such a dynamic mix of relationships, constantly shifting, changing. But I see my husband with my kids and I know that I have never loved him more. That counts for something.
I am a work-out-of-the-house mom, and there are lots of days where I hate it. I would give almost anything to stay home. Everybody’s balance is different, what works for them, what keeps them sane. While my kids don’t help my sanity, I know that work doesn’t either.
I kind of jumped around a bit here, but I hope that you can uncover the “me” you want to be, ‘cause she’s under there somewhere!
By carpot on 2008 06 25
I had my first at 25 and I still am having many of the same feelings. I finally felt like I had a sense about being a mom to one when along came the baby. And I feel the guilt of my exhaustion. After all, I’m only 27. I should be the young mom who takes her kids to the park and runs with them or says yes to every playdate. Instead, I, too, am shuttling off to a nap in the mid-afternoon.
By Bethiclaus on 2008 06 25
I so get it! I was 30 when I had my first and 33 when I had the second. Now at 41, I’m exhausted from working all day and running boys every night to practices, ballgames, or scouts. I just keep telling myself that it is keeping me young!
By Deanna on 2008 06 25