Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why life isn't over once there's a baby

Ok, first off, let me just tell you now.  I don't  have an answer.  I don't know why.  All I know, or believe, is surely it doesn't. It can't.  Just because you have a baby doesn't mean you are no longer an individual person. It doesn't mean you have been wiped clean of all goals and aspirations you once had.  It doesn't mean that you lose yourself in motherhood (or it shouldn't).

Just this morning I was talking (texting) a girlfriend who recently left everything here, picking up to move to New York for a Job opportunity at an art gallery.  I have another girlfriend who has a job interview this weeks at a very credible, magazine for photography.  Yet another girlfriend just sold everything she owned to move out to the west coast.  You get the picture.

I had plans too.  I was in my last year of college when I got pregnant.  I was going to take a year off to move to San Francisco to make big art.  A bicycle operated ferris wheel to be exact.  I was going to go to burning man and prance (dance?) around the desert scantily dressed.  I was going to travel to portland and ride bikes.  I was going to join the circus. I was going to ... (fill in the blank here).  Most importantly though, I was going to apply to grad school (in some far-away-and-very-cool-land).

Now, let me just say here, that in NO WAY do I regret the way things 'went down',  I am madly in love with my son and believe the universe brought everything together at the most perfect time for me. I truly believe that.  With all my heart.
However, with that being said, I am not signing over my life for the sake of 'Motherhood'.   I am not going to move to the suburbs, buy a minivan and start baking muffins for the jr league of austin (assuming we even have a jr. league).  (if this is what you do, I am not telling you it's wrong ... unless of course, it's not what you want to be doing. then, well, let's talk).


I think (know) I just need a little more excitement in my life than that.  Perhaps it's time to build a plan- like every week, do something to work towards applying to school.
Then for excitement, maybe try something new every week (or, who am I fooling? ... let's try every month).
For example, Tuesday night I went rollerskating (HOLY COW. IT. WAS. SO. FUN).  And, you know what I discovered? That I need my fun to be involving my body (i.e cycling, skating, dancing etc).  It is important for me to get physically worn out ... get the endorphins pumping.
(and remember: "working out gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands")
What do you need? I think it's time to figure it out! (this does not apply to only mothers! We all need to take care of ourselves!)


Geez, ok, this post was all over the place.
But, what I'm saying is this:
I need to know that parents are still leading an exciting life (outside of the 'holy shit! he just rolled over!' excitement).
I need to know that parents are still making and accomplishing goals for themselves (and not their children).

So, please, share with me your experience!
thanks for the listening ear. It is always so appreciated
<3
andrea



23 comments:

  1. Oh, there's a whole world of not getting consumed by parenthood. Personally, things got pretty quiet for me...although I do go to grad school. Mostly I make weekend excursions sans kid from time to time, festivals, staying with friends in another town, etc. But other people do much more interesting things with many more kids. Like these guys: http://www.livinontheroad.com.au/about/
    And you can take kids to festivals (well, maybe not Burning Man?):http://offbeatmama.com/2012/06/bringing-young-kids-to-bonnaroo
    And the older the little one gets the easier it will be to just get away for awhile.

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    1. oh my goodness, I seriously got chills while reading the 'about' section from the Living on the Road blog. WOW! that's totally my dream. I love to know others are doing it. And you know what? I think all those adventures will be so much more fulfilling with a kiddo (well, family) to share them with!
      Thanks!

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  2. It gets a whoooole lot better to do that once the kid gets to be about 2ish. I am a single mom. Jude is almost 3. I pretty much just drag him wherever I want to go. Luckily he likes music, so he is into stuff like that. You have to be more creative about it, but its totally doable. And find a good sitter for back up. But by all means, enjoy being you and what you love!

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    1. I love that you said 'more creative', because it's totally true isn't it? You probably have to think things through a little more, which, who am I kidding? my life could use that :)

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  3. I loved your post. I've been really struggling with trying to get myself out of my mommy self again. I found that Roller Derby is the answer. You're blog is very inspiring to me . Thanks for the read

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    1. WHAT!??? Roller Derby!? that's so awesome! The other night while rollerskating, I was having big dreams about elbow, knee and chin pads ... (well, and throwing some shoulders and hips) :)

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  4. My husband just started going to school again and that got me thinking wow I need to go to. So I applied to a college and I am slowly going though the process leading up to actually going to classes

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    1. Congratulations! That's so exciting. Honestly, I love school. When I went back to finish my undergrad once in my later twenties, I found that I enjoyed it so much more. I also became one of those annoying students who sit in the front row, asking too many questions and making it so class didn't get out on time. haha. ENJOY! wooo!
      (actually I was thinking about enrolling in a spanish class in the fall at a local community college. I could definitely use some spanish!) :)

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  5. I really enjoyed this post. While I'm not a mother and will likely not be one for some time, i've always been put off by people's assumptions that a mother's life comes to a halt after children. I think it is super important to maintain a personal identity and individual life in order to be a healthy person and parent! Glad you went roller skating--sounds like a blast!

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  6. Couldn't agree more with everything! I am in the process of doing this right now. Literally, selling the farm and movin on. Time for less work, more play!!

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    1. Whoa! melanie, that is such a big decision! I look forward to finding out what is next for you guys. We are actually in the process of buying a house here. (which isn't that big of a deal, since we plan on renting it out some while we travel in a few years). But still, these are big, grown up things we are doing!

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  7. Oh Andrea, life isn't over when you have children, it only just begins! My career moved faster between babies 2 and 3 than it ever has. I've just had number 3 and I'm about to apply for an scholarship to complete an MBA. I'm growing as a person. I have fun with my friends. I remember that there is a ME that exists, who was around long before before I became Mum. And the fact that I have 3 precious little gems to share the journey with just makes it all the more special x

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    1. Thank you so much for this. You know, it's true now that I am finally coming out of the postpartum stage, I am figuring more out about who andrea is. And, I am growing in many many positive ways now that I'm a mama. BUT, thank you for this, because it is very encouraging to hear that you are not only a devoted mom, but also A business woman! Roar! :)

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  8. Once upon a time I was a 24yr old law school graduate who had nothing but time on my hands. I did the yuppy social circle thing...with my boyfriend (who became a husband who is now an ex-husband) and I thought that the only life for me was one of ambition and cocktails. I had great clothes, great shoes and great plans.

    We bought an old funky house, we traveled throughout ALOT of the world (like for instance, did the Trans Siberian for our honeymoon) and spent lots of money on wine and food. And it was fun, and satisfying and probably everything it needed to be at that time.

    And then I turned 30 and got pregnant...and I thought the world would come to an end.

    Only it didn't....

    I learned that a cafe, crayons and construction paper is a fine place to entertain both myself AND a 2yr old on a rainy day. I learned that the Courthouse steps are almost as fun as any playground if you bring dinky cars and juice-boxes. I learned that I could easily hike the woods on the University ground with a baby in an ergo carrier. I learned that I can bring my kid to my roller derby practice (yes, you read that correctly, I've been skating for 2 years and absolutely love it, who knew you could learn roller derby in your 30s?!?), I learned that traveling overseas was a different kind of adventure when you throw a blond 2.5yr in the mix. I learned to be ok with the fact htat while I was once impressed by the Eiffel tower....his greatest memory of his first time in Europe would be an aquarium in a small town Spain and the friendship he struck with a white-haired cook at a restaurant on the beach.

    I exist outside of him. I set goals for myself outside of being his mother.

    BUT....He makes me want to think bigger...think bolder...and think broader. I am happy and honoured to provide him with that experience...the experience of a mother who is not afraid to LIVE....and do big things.

    I didn't plan it this way....but he influences the person I continue to become.

    I learned...with un-waivering certainty that seeing and experiencing the world with my son....WAS an adventure and an accomplishment. I still do lots of stuff without him. I still travel (when time and money permits). I go out with friends. I do photography as a side business. I now skate with a roller derby team....and although I am happy to have the space to breath and be myself...I find myself often wishing that he was with me so that I could see what he sees. It's always better and richer and more exciting when seen through his eyes.

    He is my greatest accomplishment so far.

    You know, I struggled with how to properly identify myself...much like what I seem to be reading above...for at least a year after Felix was born....I thought that I couldn't properly be ME and still be Felix's Mom. The tension seemed impossible to reconcile...and when I stopped struggling, I found that these two things not only peacefully co-existed....but they were a rich combination of something pretty powerful.

    I'm not saying my old life was bad...it was great...and I'm not saying my new life is perfect...it's not...but I've found that adventures, big and small...with a child or with the consideration of having a child...are among the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.

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    1. natalie, thank you so much. I enjoyed reading this immensely- tingles and tears and everything. You've really made me look forward to when Redding will be a little older. Thank you! I hope to hear more from you soon.

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  9. Preach, sista! I've been doing Tae Kwon Do since after my first baby was born three years ago and I need my two hours a week to get out, wear my pjs, kick and yell and run around. Otherwise I'm a cranky human being. Everyone is waiting for me at the door and there is usually no transition - I get out of the car and I'm back on duty - but I'm smiling.

    Also, rollerskating is awesome. And school is awesome.

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  10. You go, girl! Seriously. Awesome. It shows so much strength and character to release the past, embrace your present and make big dreams for the future.
    We're not parents, yet (hoping to be within a year or so . . . time will tell) but one of my biggest fears was that, once I had kids, life would stop. Just STOP. And I would never leave my house again. But that's silliness. Really, it is.
    You're awesome. Love reading your blog :]
    Have an awesome weekend!

    P.S. Legally Blonde quote? LOVE ;]

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    1. hahaha, I am so glad you got the quote, I was afraid it would just go over most peoples heads! Thanks for reading and commenting lady!

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  11. Those early months of parenting felt so all-consuming. I'm a part-time graduate student with a full-time job, but I still felt like parenting was taking up every bit of everything I had.

    Now that my daughter's older (20 months), I've found ways to balance myself out a lot more evenly. Whether it's going to conferences to present a paper, going on a camping trip with friends, or even just a ladies night out over some margaritas, I have a lot more opportunities to explore the parts of my identity that aren't fully centered on "mother."

    I also have to say that toddlerhood has brought opportunities for me to bring more of myself into mothering, too. Now that my daughter is older and more interactive, everything from playing with finger paints to running through sprinklers to reading books has become more fun.

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  12. Hi! I just found your blog and had to comment on this! When I was pregnant this was my biggest fear. This was my biggest worry. Now that I am approaching my one year mark as a mother, I couldn't be happier. It was a huge adjustment and I no longer have 4am nights but I do have better more meaningful days. I tote my baby around with me wherever I feel appropriate. He gets to learn from the world around us. I make a point to do things with him so he feels comfortable in new situations. We travel. We hike. We go to the beach. I will admit the first few months are the hardest and most isolating but once they are more tolerable of the world, it gets better. I just get more creative with the things we do. I seek out new experiences that he would enjoy. I realize that a day at the beach eating mangoes and playing in the sand can be just as fun as a night out bar hopping. You are amazing as is your blog and I am glad I found it!

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    1. missi! thanks so much for leaving a comment lady! seriously, each and every thing other moms say are so encouraging to me. Redding is 6 months and we are finally out doing things (no longer as worried about that little immune system). And he is able to entertain himself and play with toys some, which is a nice break during the day. I love that you had to get more creative... I always love a little push!
      hope to hear from you again!
      <3

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