(writing start: new beginnings)
The house is quiet. Unbelievably, the house is quiet. I have soup stock boiling on the stove and the kitchen fan hums above it. Our ancient dog is snoring and his paws brush the hardwood as he races like a puppy in his sleep. The dishwasher is running. But the kids. Are. Asleep.
This won’t last long. My five month-old will stir at the rumblings of his little tummy, and I may end up writing some part of this as I nurse him. My beautiful little guy.
For now, though, the house is quiet, and this page is my oyster. I savoured the thought of putting pen to paper all day, as I changed another diaper, blotted the bloody lip and teary eyes of my two year-old monkey of a son, spooned the baby’s first serving of real food into his welcoming mouth.
My days are so dominated by my family’s needs right now that I can barely see straight. I realized as we headed out the door for play time this afternoon that I hadn’t actually looked in a mirror once today. I am, as they say, “in it,” I don’t resent “it,” but “it” does take “it’s” toll. I am tired. I want more for myself. I want more of myself.
As someone who has always has strong beliefs about the proper guidance of children, I can get a bit heated – sure, maybe even downright preachy – if asked to discuss the responsibilities of parenthood. I do think, though, that we owe it to those around us to do what it takes to be happy. That could mean demanding that our partner watch the kids after they’ve had a long day themselves so that we can take a bath. It could mean we use nap time to do the workout we are sooo not into doing, because we want to wear our pre-pregnancy jeans again.
I don’t have a lot of patience for those women who blab on and on, proudly talking about the sacrifices they make for others and how little they do for themselves. They are doing everyone a disservice. When we deny ourselves these little rituals of self care and respect, we are teaching our children to do the same. We carry resentment as a result. Do our kids really need to take that on?
Still, I understand how a woman can get to that run-down place. It’s a precarious climb back to ourselves, after we’ve created and spawned forth these whole, new little people. It’s something that truly knocks us over, no matter how “ready” we think we are. It’s a beginning we didn’t know how to expect; the start of something we couldn’t possibly really plan for.
Sure, the crib has been assembled. Booties are all in a row. But do you have your seat-belt on?
I’m on this ride and I can’t get off. I wouldn’t if I could. Still, the challenge now is this: how do I begin to process and pull myself – I mean, my self – out of something that is going by so fast?
The house is quiet. The kids. Are. Asleep.
The page is my oyster.
– Samantha Jeffers Agar is a teacher and mother of two who resides in Victoria, BC. Originally published and reprinted with permission from The Momoir Project.