I have to start this post by first explaining a bit why I am living in Germany and why I am a stay-at-home mom raising my son basically on my own. (with help from my parents of course). My husband is currently working for the United Nations and is stationed in Mali. We do live in Connecticut; however, my parents and I came to the conclusion that it is best for the baby and I to have some extra help and come “home” to Germany.
Being a stay-at-home mom was the loneliest kind of lonely, in which she was always and never by herself. Days and days, hours and hours within them, and days within weeks, at the end of which she might not ever have gotten completely dressed or read any word larger than Chex, any word not ending in -os, formed a sentence or brushed her teeth or left a single footprint outside the house. Just motherhood, with its routine costs of providing a largesse, that outstripped her physical dimensions. —from Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior
This quote I read a long time ago, but I think it fits for this post. I asked myself many times if I will ever be “young” again or will I ever be cool again? After a couple of months of constantly and solely breastfeeding my mom said once: “Hey, do you want to go to a Spa, sauna, massage…. the whole thing – and I take care of the baby?” (I believe I left the house in five minutes max and I must have looked like a complete mess). Once at the Spa I felt lighter and freer. I felt like me. On my way back home it started raining. Dark sky and silence as I was swallowed up by the rain and storm I suddenly felt angry about this insane responsibility I have created in my life. This lifelong responsibility for a child and probably for the first time it really hit me.
I was not aware that I inadvertently would eliminate all my “me and free time” from my life. At least for quite some time. Even though I am fortunate to have help in my life. But the feeling and thoughts like: “I hope he is ok, I hope he is not screaming his little head off, I hope my parents can handle him” will always be on my mind wherever I am and try to relax. It has gotten better now that he is 17 months old but these thoughts still do pop up obviously. In the beginning I cut out spontaneity for sure and I did not think that it would be all back at some point. Slowly but surely. I have to admit that I felt bad sometimes on how happy I was and still am when I have a small slice of time to myself but I love those times. There are days where I am grumpy (and try not to let it out on my husband), short-tempered and resentful. I was just sad of the loss of my freedom. Thinking back on the vacations I used to take with my husband, the dates, restaurant and even hangovers I used to sleep off. We had a lot of fun. It feels almost like one part of your life is over and another one begins.
I must also mention that I am crying around here but my son is a pretty easy child. He was this little colicky guy for three months as a newborn but this stopped. Of course the sleepless, teething nights but he is just easy to deal with. He is lovely, sweet and now a pretty good sleeper all things considered. I love him so much that sometimes I actually start crying a bit when he does something really sweet. Me and my weird self. I cannot wait to see who he will become, how he grows up.
Many times it hits me and I am just so overwhelmed by the responsibly I have for this little guy for forever. When he will become a teenager, tantrums, smoking, drinking, I find myself wanting to moan, “AAAAAAAAhhhhh, my live is sooooo O-V-E-R!”
And then of course there are moments like this:
A couple of nights ago, putting my son to bed, we curled up and snuggled and he folded his little arm around my neck and I felt his warm body. I told him: “I love you. Give mommy a kiss.” And he did it. With his little breath. And then my eyes got wet, and I hugged him tighter to me. I believe that motherhood is the most bittersweet thing I know. I love how carefree my son is, how content – I just try to be like him. Be a kid again inside. I just cannot let the weight of responsibility drag me down as it does sometimes. But we all live and learn. All I really have to do is try to live my life the way I used to, but include this little guy in everything. (well not the boozing in bars obviously – but since becoming a mom, this is not fun anymore). So I started traveling again, with him. Difficult at first but it does get easier and easier and it is a lot of fun. We do travel quite a lot due to my husbands situation and just because we love it. Road trips were and are our all-time favorite. My son loves sitting in his car seat so no complaints here.
Motherhood is challenging, exciting, difficult at times but in the end it is all worth it. My son makes my life complete. I cannot imagine life without him.