Happy birthday to Me.
Wow folks - I have just enjoyed 48 hours of pure solitude. This is an incredible achievement for me because as you may or may not know, I have two little girls and have found it quite hard to separate away from them since they were born. Whether it was a lack of effort on my part, not knowing how to insist on the time off or not knowing how to let go of the control I cling on to, I’m not sure how it got to be this long. I know of plenty of other mums that literally have no problem at all with kissing their little babes goodbye for a well-deserved, self-care weekend or week long break well before their little ones are five and half. Well, that was not the case for me and I know other mums find it hard to separate too. I also know we all have different agendas. Different pursuits and life situations. Some go to work shortly after the little one is born. Some stay at home through all the years. Many now seem to be doing what I see as the ‘mamapreneur’ thing. Women have firmly placed themselves in the working world. We are educated. We are worldly. We are wanting more and more than what has been offered to us for much of humanity’s existence so far. For the most part (at least in the Western world, from what I see), we no longer fit into what was once the clearly defined role of ‘childcarer’ and ‘homemaker.’ We are a mix of things. And everyone’s kind of scrounging to figure out their place here and there. Men too of course. Challenging and interesting I find it.
I personally consider myself, hmmm, a modern traditionalist I think. I just came up with that. Is that a thing already? I’m sure it is. A modern traditionalist in the way that, well, let me tell you what I’ve done so far.
I see this criteria as a combination of what has been over centuries prior to how things are changing today. I’m curious to know what the dynamics are in other households. I’m not sure if what I describe above is a healthy situation. However, I will be the first to admit - I actively and willingly take on the role as main 'caregiver' and 'homemaker.' That is where my 'traditionalist' traits come in. I knew if/when I was going to have children I'd do the stay-at-home thing for as long as I could. That's how I was brought up and I guess it stuck with me. I was also taken by attachment parenting, the Continuum Concept and Adelaide Hoodless for a while too.
So those things combined with, as I’ve said before and will continue to say, my unwavering grip on control, I found it very hard to part with the girls. I’m getting better at it now but my girls are also older, not exactly latched on 24/7 milkaholics as they used to be. Formula and bottle feeding were not an option for me. First, I produced milk and my nipples eventually got used to the sucking. Second, I did try pumping. I found the process inconvenient and more of a bother to me then just giving them the boob because it did not fit into my brain that I could leave my baby with someone else (yes - even the dad or grandma) so I could go off to do what? Shopping or partying? Hmmm, maybe I should’ve tried harder. I do hear that tad of bitterness in my words but what can you do? We all have a different journey and this has been mine. To be clear, I do not judge or look down upon other people’s decisions. The contrary. It all fascinates me and I have a genuine curiosity to know how others come to make their own choices. Albeit, I do maintain certain feelings on choosing unnatural ways of baby/child rearing just for blatant self-convenience but that is a slippery slope too and I’m not wanting to ruffle feathers, lose friends or readers. One thing that motherhood has gifted me with is an ever expanding feeling of empathy. Goodness, the shit we all go through.
The point is - happy birthday to me. Ha. Yup, my girls are older, more independent. I mean, my husband adores them of course and he is the best with them. Better than me I’d say which is hilariously ironic. So there you go. It’s been nice to have my head entirely above water for a good couple of days. Catching up on many things. That’s the other part about me - what do I do for a whole weekend all to myself?? Independent getaway? A whole weekend with a good friend? Nope and nope. I sent the family out of the house so I could have it all to myself. I cleaned floors, did laundry, changed sheets, built a website, wrote a lot, did yoga, went for forest walks, watched two movies, ate what I wanted, when I wanted, took a bath, thought a lot, listened to loud music, soft music, silence. Silence.
Ohh it’s felt so good. How are the other mamas doing out there? Or perhaps folks without little ‘un’s but those that feel captive by work or other commitments? Do you find it hard or impossible to break away? Do you see any possibility of breaking away even for a bit? Do you think you could find a way to speak with your partner or whomever is dependent on you to find a way to get a break?
This is the other thing. I often put it on myself to figure out the entire, best strategy to get away or to accomplish something, when I do have a support system out there that can help brainstorm ideas too. At one point it was looking like this weekend was not going to happen for me in the way that I fantasized about it but my partner figured out a way. I’m grateful for that. And I share this with you in case anyone else struggles with reaching out for help and support. Maybe it’s not your partner you feel like you can ask straight away, maybe it’s a FB community you haven’t discovered yet or a friend who might be able to help you think of something that you haven’t even thought to ask. And if not any of that, then reach out to me. Maybe we can think of something together. Maybe it’s just a few moments of unapologetic blubbering you need to do and that is totally welcome and encouraged.
And finally, the point is - happy birthday to moi. It’s my birthday tomorrow, that’s why I keep saying that. I’ll be 37. That’s silly. Doesn’t seem real at all. That means I’ve been alive for 13,505 days. 324,120 hours. Half of those hours makes 162,060. That means that I’ve got a good 162,060 waking hours to make a whole bunch of good shit happen for the next 37 years at least. How exciting! Must get cracking. Or perhaps I’ll take another bath before the troop returns.
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