Monday, March 7, 2011

Not all mom blogs and playdates

When I was pregnant with Abby, I found great comfort in trolling across the web-universe for answers, tips, prophecies about parenting. It made me feel secure to know I'd absorbed another piece of pregnancy or parenting information, arming me against being a crummy mom. Let's face it, being pregnant and without a job living in an isolated northern community, I was consumed with the task of preparing for a new baby. What else was there to do but stain my antique cedar chest and watch Oprah?
When Abby was born, I had a lot more questions than answers. I quizzed all the moms I knew. I spent fruitless hours looking up variations of the answer to, "how do I make her stop crying?" on the Internet. Most of my conversations, whether with friends, acquaintances, family or neighbours centered around new motherhood. I think it must be similar for most first-time moms. It's a huge identity shift, and it's only natural for such a change to be all-consuming when trying to re-establish one's footing.
For Abby's first year, most "play dates" (which means babies rolling on blankets on the floor while moms have tea), or going out for a walk, the conversation floated in and out of baby topics. Comparing notes, offering helpful hints or great web resources, which products work well, what sleep training guide you're using. Parenting is a steep learning curve, and I admit, it was the centre of my universe. I still fostered relationships with Rich, my non-mom friends, family, and it wasn't like every waking moment I was on my mom game, but it was the largest driving force in my life.
The further away I get from Abby's infancy, though, the closer I feel pulled back toward a me-centric universe. Maybe it's because in conversations, people are more interested now in what I'm doing separate from motherhood. I feel a ton more confidant in the parenting arena, and now that I know how to hold my own, I have the time to re-visit questions of identity and self. Now, in my free time, I don't nervously leaf through every parenting manual available. Now, I have returned to fiction titles I enjoy, reading up on cookbooks that don't involve pureed baby food, reading blogs that find beauty and rhythm in all aspects of home life.
I went to work for a week to fill in, and that was all about me. I still identify myself as a writer, but it is further down the list under wife and mother. I won't return full-time, and it's personally empowering to be able to make that choice without succumbing to identifying myself "solely" as a stay-at-home mom.
I'm Sarah, a wife, mother and writer, with fabulous girlfriends back home and wonderful mama-friends up here. But this isn't a stagnant place I'm in.
There are little changes I can notice that tell me maybe I'm getting closer to finding out what kind of wife-mother-writer I'll grow into. My Facebook profile picture is no longer all-Abby shots. My recreational activities aren't geared towards improving my toddler's dexterity or her verbal progression, but rather my sense of balance, physical fitness, mental expansion.
It's as though for two years I have rejoiced in the uniting force that is motherhood, and now I am able to step back and see that motherhood is but one club in which I am a member.
It's a nice feeling, kind of like coming home, returning to the familiar life I knew before motherhood. But returning as though after a trip, where the scenery may look the same, but I am the changed woman standing in it.


  1. Same feelings here too. I love that I am expanding my sewing knowledge and business, but am still a stay at home mom! Having some me time has saved what little was left of my sanity.


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