I’ve realized in the past few months, another reason why writing has been such a salve for me in my first years of motherhood and I’m inclined to share – for myself, for others who have had or are having a similar experience, and for those who have noticed some curious tendencies in new moms.
New moms can be rather demanding of attention. Has anybody else noticed this? They can keep on talking beyond the standard social cues that would have previously silenced them. They keep on writing in the same fashion. They keep on pushing forward against obstacles that would in other circumstances be considered significant enough to alter their course. Why?
I think that it’s because becoming a parent has the effect of simultaneously making us the most relevant person in the life of our child and the least relevant person on the broader playing field of our life. Parents tend to disappear from the public view. Some of us take this in stride and simply abandon whatever endeavors interested us before becoming parents.
I wish that I could be that person, because it seems like it would be a lot easier to maintain a state of grace with that approach to parenting.
Others of us keep trying, keep pushing, keep talking, keep writing. We probably have different reasons for doing so, but I’d guess that some of it has to do with how much we’ve married our identities to our work. Those of us who have invested a tremendous amount of our energy in our work will find it very difficult to relinquish those ties in exchange for the fulfilling intimacy that we have with our children. We just can’t quite imagine that it will be enough for our hearts and minds, because we thrive on the sense of accomplishment that we get from our work.
What we get for trying to have all-that-and-heaven-too is a nearly constant state of trying to-do-the-impossible. Eventually we come to accept that we are going to do pretty much everything half-baked and not really look our best in the meanwhile. I’ve spoken to enough working moms to have a sense that this is the norm within my little sphere.
I’m learning to have compassion for myself and constantly working to strike that perfect balance between all the aspects of myself that I feel are important to my happiness. My life is a constant work in progress.
In that practice I’m also learning to have compassion for others. It’s easiest to have compassion for others who are having a similar experience to me and in doing so I find some portion of healing for myself and I hope for those others as well.
Please share this post if you are a working mom, or you care about one. A little compassionate understanding goes a long way.