I've been surprised to find that I've been nagged by a strange sense of anxiety since becoming a mom. Not enough to take away from the doting moments I've been sharing with the little guy, but enough to make me wonder what the hell is going on. Hormones? Definitely. The control freak in me rearing its enormous head in the midst of all the changes? Probably. Some unexamined fear creeping out? Hmmm...
You'd think after all the waiting and anticipating, I should just sit back and enjoy motherhood. That's what I expected. And most of the time, that's how it is. I hold the little guy tight across my chest and soak him in. But at random times throughout the day, the anxiety seeps out. When I find myself unshowered and undressed at 11 in the morning. When the feeding has been going on for over an hour, and I haven't yet crossed off any of the items on my to do list. When I realize that I have just a couple of hours left before it is bedtime again.
I sometimes feel like I should be somewhere else. As if there should be two of me -- one running around as I am used to doing and the other cuddling with the baby. I feel somewhat desperate and unproductive. And almost always, like I'm trying to catch up.
The anxiety was the worst about a month after delivery. When my parents had already left and we were trying to handle our new life on our own. We were starting to settle into a routine that was meant to give us time to get some sleep, to do all the tasks that needed to be done, and also to find some time for each other and ourselves. And discovered in the process that there isn't time to fit them all in.
I generally have a lot of anxiety about time. Probably from watching my parents work away for decades doing meaningless, repetitive labor -- only for the sake of making a living for the family. And because I so fear that such a big chunk of their lives had been wasted, I feel like I have to have something to show for my day -- something concrete that I can point to and assure myself that the day had been productive.
Being a mother is forcing me to let go of my desperate hold on time. I feel like I have to take some lessons in Zen Buddhism -- and learn how to focus on the moment at hand instead of keeping a part of me always speeding ahead. And to be ok with not being able to account for it by the tenth of a billable hour. And letting some things go.
But that would mean giving up my sense of control. Another thing I like to latch onto.
One of these days, I will learn these lessons.