I'm on the far left, as Peter Pan. That's a bar.
Did you ever see the movie “Hook”? It’s where Peter Pan grows up to become Robin Williams, and is living life in the real world. The premise is that there’s some reason he has to remember that he was once Peter Pan, the boy who would always be a boy, leader of the lost boys in never-never land. Anyway, what I’m talking about is actually nothing like that, but there’s a point in the movie when Robin Williams has this moment of realization, and he says, “I remember” with the widest eyes you’ve ever seen. It suddenly dawns on him who he was in a past life. He actually reverts back to being a boy in a grown man’s body for a time. I have no intention of reverting back to my former, pre-mom self, but I’ve I’ve had a few moments of realizations lately.
The most poignant moment came when I saw an old colleague of mine as DH, Zeke, and I were shopping downtown. I immediately recognized her, looked her straight in the face, but there was narry a sign of recognition on her part. Sure, it was outside of work, and she was busy, perhaps not wanting to be bothered by work connections in her personal life. And we were passing her by. When I was working, this lady really had no reason to know I existed as she was pretty high up on the food chain and she worked for a partner agency. And yet, she did know who I was, and I’m pretty sure I impressed her a few times in large meetings. Yes, I’ll take bragging rights as I sit typing this in a pair of old maternity pants, noshing on chocolate chips, waiting for baby to rouse from his nap. Anyhow, this lady did not even give me a double-take. She didn’t recognize me in my momhood. It struck me, and I had several hours of self-doubt which, unfortunately for DH, came tumbling onto him in the form of grouchiness. The real question is, do I recognize myself?
I have been a feminist since the second grade. There was a little boy who used to tease me by calling me “the feminist” all the time, as though it were some kind of insult. But I owned it, and I haven’t looked back since. My dad saved a drawing that I once did of myself in the “future”. Well, actually, in my little-girl handwriting and misspelling, the title of the drawing came out to resemble the word “fucker”. I think I spelled future as “f-u-c-h-e-r”. Needless to say, the drawing has become a bit of a joke in my family. Anyway, there I was in the “fuchur” wearing glasses and a business suit. For some reason, I had it in my head that working women were powerful as opposed to nonworking women. As I grew, I came to believe that there was more value in contributing to the secular, working world than there was to “staying-at-home” raising kids. (Sorry, Mom). I know I’m not alone in this way of thinking. I thought I would have it all- work, kids, etc.
And then I grew up. I made some conscious decisions in life and here I am. A stay-at-home-mom. When I took Zeke to the doctor last week the young nurse asked, “are you employed?” I replied, “yes, my employer’s name is Ezekiel.”
Do I recognize myself? Here I am doing this thing that I never thought I would do.
I reply with a resounding, yes. Recognize isn’t even the word for it. Better words are, realization, actualization. When I stumble into Zeke’s room in the morning after five or six hours of broken sleep and see his beautiful, cheery face, when I hear him make the best noises I have ever heard in my life, when I muster the energy to get through one more long day, this amazing, growing being depending fully on my ability to nourish him physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, well, those are the times when I recognize myself and I understand my purpose. Yes, some days are confining and not exactly intellectually stimulating. We have to be home at certain precise times to ensure that Zeke gets his naps, and if I hear the words “brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” one more time I might go postal. But that’s neither here nor there because I am experiencing a profound sense of fulfillment. This void that I used to feel, a sense of emptiness that used to creep up on me has vanished.
I am no longer waiting for my career to fulfill me in ways that are just not possible. If I am certain of anything it is that what I am doing, what I’ve thrown myself into on a day-to-day basis is making a true and real difference.
So, for now, spending my days with LO, being the main person that ensures on a moment-to-moment basis his needs are met, is enough for me. As a side note, I get that I am very lucky to be in a financial situation where I have the liberating choice to work or not work. HA. Not work? As though taking care of LO 24-7 isn’t work.
I was going to add a little caveat about working moms as I have several Mama friends who work, but I am confident that those moms understand that I am just talking about what feels right for me. Sure, I’ll definitely be a mom in the “working world” some day, but for the moment, I’d like stay right where I am in my momhood, eating chocolate chips, waiting to see what my little guy needs next.
I've included a little snippet of our day-to-day activities for your viewing enjoyment. I am aware of the fact that this may only be cute to me and DH- I have no ability to tell what's cute and what's not when it comes to my own LO because to me everything he does is gold. Also, not every moment is this joyful. Like now, for instance, he's on the floor, writhing around, making noises that are not cute-he's an unhappy, fussy camper.
Thanks for tuning in. Wishing you and yours happiness now.