The reasons for which it has been almost a year since I last wrote are mostly irrelevant. Except for these: I’m pregnant, I’ve started doing some consulting work, and my daughter – seemingly overnight – turned into a toddler (this happened on the day she turned 2, and now she is almost 3).
Here’s a statement for the Book of Obvious: Raising a toddler is not like raising a baby. Suddenly you go from providing basic survival needs and general world awareness, to engaging in delicate discussions and laying the foundation for complicated social interactions. I found that it took a lot of energy and time to recalibrate and learn the new parenting skills required to face this new phase of childhood, so I turned my attention away from certain things for a while, and focused almost solely on mothering.
This is the first lesson you learn as a mother: that since nothing matters more to you than your child, things that took priority in the past are quickly put aside if they are preventing you from being the parent you want to be. So you sacrifice things off your own list of needs in order to provide the time and attention needed for your child. But just when you have this part figured out you realize that there’s a catch: if you sacrifice too much of your Self, you’re not going to be a good parent. So parenting is really all about the balance between ourselves and our children, and the family unit which is one whole. This could be true for anything in life. You can never sacrifice what makes you you, for the sake of something you care deeply about. Just when you think you are doing the right thing by devoting time to that project, person, or cause, you realize that what you are losing in your self is actually detracting from the passion and energy you need to give your best.
This has been my favorite Mother’s Day so far, perhaps because it has taken me three years to figure out what I really want. Today I got lots of extra sleep (there is never enough if you’re a mother, but especially a pregnant one), received homemade cards from my family, went on a brisk walk (alone), played with my daughter, went out to dinner, and wrote. Today felt like my own personal New Year’s Day. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what kind of mother I’ve wanted to be, have been, and want to be. I resolve to be better at taking care of myself, so that I can do my best at taking care of my children. I thought a good way to start was to write again. My posts might be shorter in the future (that might be a good thing), but I will try to make them more frequent. Thank you to the friends who have asked about my blog and asked me to start writing again. Blogging makes me feel good because it gives me clarity, but also because of the positive feedback I’ve received in helping others find clarity as well. Here’s to all the mothers who know what it means to sacrifice your all, and to everyone who seeks to find balance between dedication and self-preservation.