Sometimes I am so busy, I don't even know where to begin. I feel pulled in eight thousand directions: three papers due, test on friday, read books with Liam, seriously I have to read a 300 page novel in one week, play train set with Liam, outline written, dishes done, make corn bread with Liam, laundry not done, bills to pay, play blocks with Liam, yardwork needs to be done, go on long walk and find leaves with Liam, trash out, buy more stamps, cuddle Liam, go grocery shopping, make menu, have big bubbly bathtime with Liam, edit photos, order pictures, catch up on emails, shit I haven't talked to any of my friends in two weeks, call friends, work on letters with Liam, try to go out or watch one movie a week so I can get a break, that movie ends up being Cars with Liam, oh my gosh my entire website crashed, spend four hours on the phone with host company, laugh and wear hats with Liam, and everything is due RIGHT NOW. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. I get the feeling that a family isn't supposed to have one person attend grad school full time and teach three sections of a film class and have the other person going to school full time with a busy photography business AND have a kid at the same time. It's almost masochistic, when you think about it. You know what we should do? Have twins and get a puppy.
But my life has changed in these crazy days, as well as my days with Liam. When we have a free afternoon, and I mean completely free where we don't have to run to Target or the grocery store, I don't want to go anywhere lately. I love and miss my friends and playgroups, but all I want at that moment and all I think Liam needs is to connect and enjoy the slowness of the moment. Granted, it's super fun to run the Children's Museum, but right now, at the end of the semester when things are heating up and I can't even breathe, eat, or sleep out of the craziness, all I want to do with Liam is curl up with a cup of tea and read together.
It's hard being a parent, a good parent, while focusing on these other responsibilities. Honestly, I feel guilty most of the time. I feel like I have the rest of my life, why can't I go to school later? This is his time to be two and I should take advantage of it. He should know all of his letters and numbers, we should have exhausted all of our Madison kid resources by now... but he doesn't and we don't. All I've wanted to do is be a mother, soak in every minute... you may joke, but the idea of a 1950's housewife sounded pretty good. And not in a subordinate, 'I'm going to look pretty with my pearls and gloss over all the details of the hard day, because when you come home from work you will want a happy wife" kind of thing... but a I stay home and have a lot of babies kind of thing.
But honestly, I had unrealistic expectations of both... when I was a stay at home Mom, I fantasized how I would go to school, work at a coffee shop - so fancy with my little americano and muffin, read my book out on the porch in the autumn sunlight, write my papers without any difficulty, respond and collaborate with students, and become the student that I never was. Also, relatively stress free. Because, in my dream world, I would have all the time to do it. Now, I fantasize how I would be THE BEST stay at home Mom. Oh goodness would I be good! We would go out everyday - the Children's Museum, the Zoo, Playgrounds, Playgroups, or attend one of the many kid activities that are in town. We would sit on the ground for HOURS and do puzzles, make cookies or bread together every day, and we would both be happy all the time.
I love being a mother, love it more than anything I have ever done. But when I was doing that, I needed more. It sounds terrible to say - I need more than you, Liam. But I do. I need to be Liam's Mother AND Mallory. I need to have something more than that to be a stronger and better Mother. I need something more to connect with myself, to make myself stronger, to keep myself busy and focused on a goal, so that I can connect, be stronger, and be focused with Liam.
What I do know is that parenting is hard. The most amazing thing I have ever done, but the hardest thing I have ever done. And now I feel very conflicted.
This isn't new... many parents before me have felt this and many will after me. The balance between keeping yourself as an individual and being a parent is hard. Respecting yourself and respecting your child and finding the time to do anything but respond to all of the needs that each of you has is hard.
I'm not sure if this post is meant for sharing, for me, or for Liam years down the line to explain... I'm not sure. And I am not complaining... this is the path I chose and am choosing to follow every day. Just wanted to extend a little love out there to all the parents. Parenthood is hard. And I hope I'm doing a good job. I hope you're doing a good job. It's impossible to tell with anyone.
Some of you may be thinking, you have a free hour... go and do this work! But, I have to do this for me. I have to stop. Stop what I am doing. Stop the housework and the school work and reflect. I have to write. I miss the posts when Liam was first born and all I could write about what his smell and how his beautiful face looks and my amazing, overpowering love for him. But this is my life now. And it's okay. So, forgive me. My pictures and recollections of Liam are missing this week. I was with my boy. I was experiencing. I was soaking it all in.
I am a mother. I am Mallory. And I am grateful for all of it.