I stopped in to see some coworkers recently, and one asked if I was ready to return to work in a few weeks. I nicely said, "not so much," with a smile and then mentioned some positivity about how it'd be just fine but tough, too, returning to work after a long but SO not long enough maternity leave. She responded with that I look so happy in my pictures that I post, that I seem to be really enjoying my time home with my baby.
She said, "you're just very much in motherhood right now…" explaining how hard that is to leave and return to work, and it stuck with me all day long.
I kept coming back to that phrase, that I'm just very much IN motherhood right now. And isn't that a wonderful feeling? And yet it's so overwhelming also.
I'm in it. Fully enthralled with motherhood and all it has to offer. I'm soaking it all in, taking it in moment by moment, even as it's fleeting by me way too fast.
All that I think about and do is focused on being a good mother right now. It's based on making sure my kids have everything they need, and a piece of my heart along with them as they head on their own adventures and growth spurts.
I'm covered in spit up and wearing nursing tanks. I am washing bottles and pumping and measuring out ounces of breastmilk, along with trying to recall which side he last nursed on during the previous feeding. Sometimes I forget what my kids' birthdays are, it takes me a second to remember because my brain is so full right now with a zillion little details of their lives.
I'm making sure the basketball shirt is washed and put into the drawstring bag so he can change into it after school, and that she has the exact color tights she needs for the ballet performance. I'm reminding myself to change their bed sheets, and picking up extra bath soap at the store because we ran out again. I'm RSVPing to the birthday party and picking up another Christmas gift for preschool teachers.
I'm taking inventory of the snack drawer and making a list on my phone for the next Target run I'll enjoy by myself with a sleeping baby instead of rushing after work and before big kid pickup time. I'm cleaning out my son's first grade backpack, loving every little piece of artwork that comes home, listening to every word he reads to me in the mornings when we're doing the homework totally last minute but at least we're doing it. I'm marking on the white board which day is pajama day for him and then which day she has preschool show n' tell so that we don't forget to bring a stuffed animal or doll to share.
I'm forgetting things… oh man, do I even have a brain some days? There's just no way to remember it all. And I'm forgiving myself for those mistakes, because as many of them that there are, I KNOW there are way more things I DID do. I show up every day ready to be their mother, regardless of how hard the day before actually was.
I'm holding him up long enough to get a second burp out. I'm trying to remember to shower every day because it wakes me up a bit, and yet I'm down for the count at nap time every afternoon because I can't focus without that rest time. I'm taking pictures, posting thoughts and scrolling Facebook like it's my job, as I sit and feed a growing baby a zillion times a day. I make myself sit and rest and take a moment, because these times will go by way too fast and I know this to be true.
Sometimes I'm cleaning the bathroom, other times I'm ignoring the cobwebs and dust bunnies and rugs that need vacuuming. I'm picking up takeout and divvying it out in the car because I'm driving to practice and rehearsal and everything in between. Other nights I'm making something quick for dinner on the stove because the baby is napping OK this evening.
I am very much in motherhood. I'm so in it that sometimes I wonder if it's all I've become these days. A mother.
I'm still a wife, but we haven't had a date night in months and we fall asleep every night on the couch while watching a show before the next feeding. I'm still a daughter, but I hang up the phone when the baby is crying or the big kids are fighting, so much that I don't know the last real conversation my mom and I actually had. I'm still a friend and thank goodness my friends have patience with me, as it's hard to get back to them and we connect solely by random text messages these days it seems. I'm still a coworker, but I have no clue what I've missed the last few months and I'm sure when I return my Mom Brain fog won't have lifted and I won't be as efficient as I was before.
My eyes are tired. My body aches. My mind races and then is empty, searching for words and forgetting simple things like if I took the trash out or where I put my keys or phone.
I'm just very much in motherhood right now.
And somehow, that's enough. It's monumental and exhilarating. It's crazy, chaotic and even boring sometimes. Motherhood is everything to me. It's all encompassing. It's suffocating some days, if I'm being honest. And yet it's everything I've ever wanted, dreamed about, and planned for.
I'm very much in motherhood and very, very sad that my maternity leave is ending, the time period where I'm allowed to forget ALL else in my world except being a mother to a helpless, growing, needy little being that I created. I'm sad to leave our silent days behind. I'm scared that the busy world of working mom is going to be way too exhausting for my own good.
But I know that no matter if I'm home nursing on the couch or doing the school drop off or the grocery shopping or meal planning, cleaning or ignoring laundry piles… I'm still very much in motherhood. They are always on my mind and in my heart.
Very much in motherhood… it's a nice place to be. Even if it's the most exhausting thing I've ever done. It's still a nice place to be.