Monday, July 12, 2010


Last week Janssen, who is about to have her first baby (or maybe has already and just hasn’t emailed me, the person who introduced her to craigslist, to let me know) wrote a post about seeing, and it has been on my mind a lot since I read it.

I can relate, in a lot of real ways, to her questions about how her children will see her and about how she will see herself once she morphs into “MOM”.

I remember being in a similar place: desperately wanting to be a mother, but at the same time not wanting to give up my identity—who I was before motherhood—and forget how to live as me. I still wanted to be able to lie on the couch and read all afternoon. I still wanted to travel. I wanted to go on walks through under-construction homes with Somebody. I still wanted to bake and craft and sing and laugh. I was determined not to lose me.

Perhaps that is what made my actual transition into motherhood so extremely difficult. Perhaps my knowledge of life on the outside made those first three months of sleep deprivation so painful. Perhaps I wouldn’t have wondered so often, “why did I want this? I hate this,” if I hadn’t felt so acutely the loss of me. It made me angry, for a long time, to look around the room and see the laundry not folded, the quilt not sewn, the book not read, the nap not taken. I, the I that existed in the time before baby, would never have let that happen.

So, here I am, 15 months later, and I can tell you for certain that Gulliver doesn’t see a college educated, determined, wannabe-professional cookie decorator when he looks at me. He doesn’t care when I’m tired or hungry. He doesn’t notice if I really don’t want to spend time outside right now because dang it’s hot. He never responds when I tell him to just shush up and listen to me because I have a masters degree and know A LOT of things that he doesn’t. What he sees, though, or at least what I hope he sees, when he looks at me is comfort. And security. And love. Hugs and kisses. Cookies and yellow balloons. I hope he forgets that he sees impatience and anger. I hope he can’t remember the times I was annoyed to have to drop what I was doing and sit on the floor to stack the blocks eighteen more times. It has become enough, right now, that he looks at me and sees just Mom. Mom. Who will pick him up and kiss his neck a million times. Who will fetch the ball and change the diaper and quack like a duck. Who had to give up parts of who she was, for now, for this short time, to teach him to climb the stairs and then rock him to sleep.

It’s a kick in the pants, this mother job. And if the only point of all my life experiences up to this point were to prepare me to be “just mom” for just him, then they were all worth it.


Janssen said...

Not to worry - still sitting here pregnant.

Last night we put together a list of all the people to email when we have the baby and you were most certainly on it. So, you will be among the first to know. After all, you told me about Craigslist.

Lauralee, Dean and Camden said...

I agree, it is a very different life and at times I miss being the old me but totally worth it when your kid gives you a big hug and says I love you mommy or you look into the eyes of your baby!

housewife said...

Wow, that is a good post. It really echos a lot of what I've been feeling lately as more and more of "me" and "me time" vanishes. What an awesome way to put it into words.

The Wendler Family said...

Oh Jen, that was beautifully written. I is worth it. Like you said, its a kick in the pants, quite a swift kick if you ask me.
I feel like the church puts such an emphasis on women getting an education in large part because we ARE the mothers. It is important. (And one day, you will be able to tell him your opinion is important because you have a master's degree and knows much more than he does.)
I really feel that the atonement is there in all aspects of mothering, even to take away some memories (if they exist) of impatient moms from our kids when we have our moments. As long as we are trying, and are doing all we can, the Lord steps in and makes up the difference.

Daisie said...

Wow Jennifer! I thorougly enjoyed this post! I love the way you put that! Something I totally needed to hear! Your so awesome! I'm so glad we're friends!

Original Ping Family said...

Wow, Jennifer. Amazing post!! Getting married at 18, all I ever wanted to do was to be a mom. It was never difficult or a challenge until I went to work after my youngest went to Kindergarten and I was juggling the different hats I was wearing. Love the perspective you have gained - nothing matters more than the MOM hat - NOTHING! Love and miss you!! - Karen

Heidi Hallam said...

I am in tears now. Well said. I am far enough into motherhood now that I don't miss the old me anymore. I don't miss my personal time quite as much. But I think you'll find that parts of you will just shift into new ways of expression. Like your creative self will enjoy finding projects simple enough for toddlers, but creative enough to satisfy you. Or the chef in you will enjoy teaching your kids to cook when they are old enough. The quilter may have to wait longer. The house cleaner in you may have to wait, too!
Isn't it nice that our church does praise womanhood and motherhood often? And that our children do give us hugs and kisses?

byufish said...

I have the ME....have had it for 48 years now....and you just made me pine for the MOM part of your life. It's worth it. The grass...well...for some reason when there's more than ONE on your side of the fence it really is GREENER!! Love you.

Rachel Mohat said...

Awwww what an amazing post Jen! LOVE it! Love you!