I've been having difficulty writing my posts these days. It's hard to find the time to sit down and write some coherent thoughts. And when you've spent the day singing nursery rhymes and making googly faces, it's difficult to switch gears. When I sit down to write, I find my mind becoming vacant. I've tried to write in the past few days, and I write out a sentence or two and then peeter off. I've been thinking about this, and I am starting to wonder if it is partly because I find it difficult to write honestly without playing into some stereotyped role of motherhood.
As a new mom, I've had a lot of complicated and confused thoughts about the changes we've been experiencing since our little guy's arrival. I absolutely adore our little guy and feel so grateful that he's here with us. But with the bliss comes a host of changes, some of which I anticipated and others that I didn't -- and I find myself reacting to some of them with a lot of intense emotions and anxiety that seem to bubble up from a well I hadn't drawn from in years.
Writing about all of those, however, doesn't seem so easy. When I start writing about any of these topics, I feel compelled to start out with disclaimers about how much I love our little baby. Perhaps to fend off any criticism that I'm complaining, especially when we had been waiting for our little guy with such anticipation. Instead of writing, I've been mulling over these issues in my head, which tends to create a never-ending spiral of aimless thoughts that lead to loose associations that lead to more aimless thoughts. When I try to talk about it, I feel a little guilty, as if I'm failing to measure up. And I scrutinize the listener to try to measure whether she understands.
I'm now starting to understand how much social pressure women have as moms. To be loving. To be devoted. To be motherly. To live up to an image of motherhood that I can't seem to meet.
I'm realizing that being a mom is complicated business. Hormones have taken over my body, and I can't seem to shake them. Then there are all those other issues, running the gamut from life decisions to the mundane. Like whether I'd rather stay at home or work, how to be ok with being a slave to housework, how to stimulate the little guy just enough to help him with his development, but not too much as to overstimulate him and push him over the edge, how to schedule my days so that I don't feel overly disconnected from the world but still manage to get things done around the house, how to find some time for myself and still do all that I need to do for the baby, how not to feel guilty about everything, and a host of other concerns that I can't seem to keep track of in my head.
Just in the last few days, I discovered the general parenting forum on the Golden Gate Mom's Group's website, and I've been pouring over some of the topics. I had browsed other websites before, but they were mostly for topics related to the baby's well-being, like how often should he be pooping, how do you ensure he is napping enough, etc. Those topics are on this website too, but I'm also finding threads of conversations between moms about being women and mothers. And they are a godsend.
Thank goddness for the women who are honest on that site, even if they do it anonymously. When I read that some other mom worries about being selfish because she is thinking about going back to work or that another mom no longer feels like her confident self after having a baby, I want to call her up and ask her to meet up for lunch. To these posts, I write in my comments with effusive words of empathy. I want to give them a hug because we need each other.