I became a first-time, stay-at-home mom in my 30’s. I never really envisioned what my life would be like after becoming a mom, I simply went with the flow and did whatever felt right. While I knowingly and willingly took steps to change my life in a way that I felt was best for my family, I also came to realize that there is a lot of “me” that has been left behind as I entered the “motherhood” chapter of my life. Now, I totally get why my parents would always tell me stories about themselves in the good, ol’ days.
The Roaring 20’s – There’s Never Enough Time
In my 20’s, I started to notice that time seemed to fly by faster and faster as I grew another year old. On the eve of my 28th birthday, I would catch myself reminiscing about how quickly my mid-20’s went by, and I was suddenly pushing 30’s. On one hand, I understood that a lot has transpired through the years – with marriage, with work, with travels, with self-growth – but I could no longer get the feeling back I once had in the first 2 decades of my life, which came with the ability to remember months, weeks, and even days in amplified details. Gone were the days when being friends with someone 2 years older than me was a BIG deal, and gone were the days when a week-long vacation seemed oddly longer than it lasted. Instead, there never seemed to be enough time in a day to do all that I wanted to achieve, and there were never enough vacation days to travel and discover the world.
On the other hand, I was free. I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. If I wanted to go bodyboarding, I would. If I wanted to take a day off, I could. If I felt like going out, I could round up a friend or two on a whim. I didn’t need to stick to a routine outside of work, and there were endless possibilities of which direction I could take my life in. I planned for the future with multiple routes, with the flexibility to not only pick and choose but to change my mind as well. I could try out something new whenever an opportunity arose, without much of a thought before or after the deed.
The Dynamic 30’s – Time Standing Still and Flying By Simultaneously
Enter the 30’s, the age of DGAF, according to popular opinion. While I no longer distress over certain things that used to eat me up, I find that I have simply placed more importance on prioritizing things in my life. Motherhood was the catalyst in this paradigm shift, and I find myself shifting in and out of a twilight zone of contradictions.
I am fearless, yet fearful – brave in the face of new changes and uncertainty, yet super anxious about all things that involve my baby. What is happening to me? I used to be the girl who will not back down from a dare, now I’m whimpering at the thought of the thousand possible ways my baby could crack his head open or break his neck. Time somehow can stand still and fly by simultaneously, as I cradle my infant son in my arms at 12am, 1:30am, 2am, 3am, 3:40am, 3:55am, 4:05am, 4:30am – you get the point. The waking hours have extended significantly, and the nights feel extra long. Yet, if I so much as blink, I would feel like I could be missing something. One day can feel like a month, and a week can feel like an hour.
I need to be adaptive, yet bound by routine – children need familiarity in procedures and constant repetitiveness. Even though I set a lot of the routines, I always seem to be playing catch up. I am tireless, yet completed exhausted. My body is still recovering, my energy is dwindling, but the demands are increasing. I feel physically worn out, yet I haven’t exercised in months. I no longer strive to live up to other people’s expectations, but rather my own expectations for myself. There is no such thing as taking a break from mom duties, and being a mom is not something that I can give up on.
I am Secure as a Woman, Yet Completely Clueless as a Mother.
I know who I am and am comfortable with my own skin, yet at a complete loss as to how that shapes me as a mother. I’m still learning, or coping rather, with myself as a mom. I dare not benchmark myself against other moms, and certainly not my own, otherwise, I’d risk driving myself mad. All I can do is try my best to be present for my child, show that I care in every possible way, and avoid repeating mistakes.
On the eve of my 30-something birthday this year, I thought about all that I was, all that I am, and all that I may be. Despite all the “what-ifs” and “what-could-have-been”, I wouldn’t trade what I have now – in my dynamic 30’s – for what I have had in my roarin’ 20’s (even that fab metabolism). With motherhood, I have entered into a new chapter of womanhood. The addition of the everlasting “mom” title has given me a different dimension of self, and I know that I am not losing myself or giving myself away in this new definition – because the only way I can truly dive into motherhood is when I am already whole.