Archive for September, 2009

Today I had a doctor’s appointment in Fredericton, our province’s capital, and spent the rest of the day shopping with my seven month old son.  As a young mother and son that live in the country, we don’t usually have exposure to that many people and things in the run of a few hours so, when we do, it’s fun to note the odd and unusual. 

Here are a few notes to some of the people (and things) that we ran into today. 


To Michael’s … I heart you.  I do.  Every aisle  – the overpriced baskets that scream “fill me”; the undecorated wreaths that beg to be adorned with something special; the unpainted wooden and ceramic items that are just dying for a shiny coat of paint; the multitude of fake flowers that are more expensive than the real thing; and, my latest artsy inclination, the cutters and colors and cake pans that are ready for the next savvy baker with a fancy cake in mind.  Yes, every aisle beams with crafty potential and makes me giddy.  (I will admit to your one downfall, though – much of you is bloody expensive.  I can’t believe people spend $30 on a package of scrapbooking paper – thank goodness I haven’t been sucked into that crazy vortex).


To Winners – I visit you often and am very fond of you (don’t get me wrong) but I always leave you wanting to spend a month’s salary on lottery tickets.  I look longingly at your fancy decorations and clothes but usually leave with a couple of items from the clearance rack.  C’est la vie when you’re working with maternity benefits, I guess. 


To every woman (and the couple of men) who stopped me to talk to Oliver – blonde, brunette, blue haired, young, old, walking, running, sitting, shuffling, shopping – he attracts you all like cheesy magnets to a refrigerator.  And yes… he is adorable, isn’t he? 


To the hospital  – I wish I had known that 2 pm was the absolute worst time to enter the parking lot (due to lack of spaces) and that 3 pm is the absolute worst time to leave the hospital (due to lineup to leave the parking lot).  Now I know. 


To the lady in Admitting wearing the banana clip – come on!  That went out of style at least 15 years ago – you’re not even pretending to try!  Maybe I should have checked your pants for stirrups. 




To the doctor I saw today – You’re friendly and all.  And I know it’s a distraction to have my son in the room with us so thanks for appeasing us young mothers travelling to your hospital.  But using my stirruped legs to hide behind during a game of peek-a-boo with him … well, I’m not sure I even have the words.  Oh wait, yes I do – what the hell?!  (I wish I was kidding.  Sadly, I was distracted enough by why I was there that it didn’t occur to me how out-of-a-sitcom this was until after I left.)


To the man that pressed the elevator’s “Down” button even though he saw me push it and even though he saw that it was lit up – I’m truly sorry that you touching the button a second time didn’t magically make the frigging elevator appear frigging faster!  It seems you don’t have some sort of Midas-like connection with the Otis gods. 


To the used clothing stores – Well… thank goodness for you.  I’m not opposed to buying new things for my son but will never understand why some people insist on having everything brand new.  Why pay $30 when you can pay $6 for something that was worn twice? 


To anyone who saw me breastfeeding publicly today – thank you to those who smile sweetly and get it.  I know we like to think our society is progressive enough not make a big deal out of it, but it is still a head turner for some (hell, it’s a grimace/sneer/aggravation for a few).  Don’t you worry, though, because we breastfeeders are on it.


To my baby boy – you’re so much fun to shop with.  I know many would shudder at the thought of schlepping their infant son to malls and big box stores all day long but not me.  I love that you are so smiley and good natured and happy most of the time.  And I love even more that people seem to be so attracted to your smiley good nature. 

It makes me smile and makes for an awesome day out and about.

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Why is it that I only ever think of a good idea for a blog post when I am nowhere near my computer? That and vacation and life with a 6 month old has kept me from writing in recent months. Of course, this is just one of the so many things in my life that are different since having my son (like sleeping patterns and the time it takes to get ready to leave the house).

I saw an interview with Edie Falco a few months ago. I wish I had an exact quote but she said the one thing about having a family that she wasn’t prepared for was the selflessness that is involved. This really hit a chord with me.

You’re prepared for this complete shift in priorities in some ways, of course… like the middle-of-the-night feedings and working around the baby’s sleep patterns. These are things people can prepare you for. These are things that people talk about. You know they’re coming and when they do, you just whip your breast out or rub your tired eyes and you do what you have to do.

And there are always the jokes about how you won’t matter when the baby gets here and that you’ll always come second to this little person. You laugh … ha ha … and then you lay awake at night and start to really think about all the ways your life will change and wonder if you’re ready for your focus to take such a left turn.

But you really cannot begin to grasp the concept until you’re living it.

It’s more than planning your day around naps and breastfeeds. It’s more than feeling sleepy for months (years?) on end because you’re awake when the baby is. It’s more than ordering iced tea at a restaurant instead of the three beer that you really want. It’s this whole shift of ‘self’.

The past six months I am feeling like I’m not even sure who I am anymore. So much of me has changed… many of my daily activities have changed, either because I can’t do them (like having a few casual drinks) or they don’t fit into my routine anymore (like getting in a good workout). I don’t have time for hobbies that I enjoy. When I get half an hour to myself, it’s not to take a nice bubble bath with a glass of wine but to do a load of laundry. I’ve gone four days without a shower (more than once) because I chose to have a nap instead of clean myself when a spare hour came along. Anyway, my point is that a lot of those little things that made me ‘me’ before becoming pregnant are gone; they just don’t fit into my life anymore.

So what makes me the new ‘me’ then?  I’m a woman and a wife and a friend and I know they’re in there but it’s suddenly really hard to see past the breast feeds and diapers and put my finger on this new identity. It’s even harder to see past the piles of laundry that never end and the three household chores that I do over and over again. Suddenly, I’m ‘mother’ and it’s really easy to get to the end of the day and think, “All I’ve done all day is clean up puke and change poop and where am I in all of that?”. 

Yes, I expect that I will get back to some of those old things… some day. But in the meantime, I feel a little lost. Becoming a mother sometimes feels like you’re taking bits of yourself, chucking them to the side, and inserting these new unfamiliar (and sometimes uncomfortable) “mommy bits”.  I won’t say the other parts of you die because that sounds morbid and regretful but you really do have to do some tweaking and massaging to get those “mommy bits” to fit into your idea of you.

So yeah, some days I feel a little lost and confused and am not sure where my ‘self’ is headed. But other days I feel like I’m sliding into that mommy role easily and doing it well. I guess I just keep hanging onto those days, the ones where I think I might actually be doing something right, and hope the ‘me’ that comes out the other side might just be ‘new and improved’ after all.

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