Saturday, March 26, 2011

a new mom at 35

A friend asked me today what motivated me to start the blog, and I talked about the early days as a mom, about feeling that no one had warned me how difficult being a parent is, and how moms don't talk about it; it's some kind of forbidden topic. At that time, when I talked to other moms of small babies, everyone pretended they were okay and not sleep deprived, that having a baby was just jolly all the time. I found that when I told the truth, when I said that actually, I have no idea what I'm doing, am holding it together only by sheer hope, and one more exploding diaper might send me over the edge completely, all the other moms widened their eyes and said, "Oh, you feel that way too? You seem so together, I was afraid to admit how I really feel."

So I started talking about it outloud. 

My friend, though, was interesting: she didn't find the first baby very hard. It was when the others (three total) came along that it started to look impossible to her. 

And here's what I think is the difference - she was twenty three when she had the first one, and I was thirty five. I could see how taking care of a baby at twenty three could be viewed as fun. But at thirty five, the reality is that a baby is a freedom-sucking-anxiety-producing upheaval. At thirty five what you've had is your own life, planned (possibly) and cultivated (hopefully); you've maybe had a career, the freedom to go from relationship to relationship, possibly city to city, and at least apartment to apartment. Freedom. Freedom to go to the movies, or not. To choose to go to work, or not. To eat in restaurants and travel and take hour long baths. At twenty-three, you don't have as much life or history to give up. 

The reason becoming a parent is so hard at thirty five is the resentment. Though the baby is amazing and you love it with every cell of your body, you also resent the little fucker for completely destroying the life you knew and replacing it with one covered in exploding diapers and clogged milk ducts and vomit. Plus, sleep deprivation is much more taxing on a thirty-something body and mind. The twenty-three year old rarely has solid regular sleep in the first place. I was probably more sleep deprived when I was 23 than I was with an infant. Okay, not quite. But it's close. 

I've taken to the ipod lately. One earbud in, my low music the soundtrack to this movie. It creates a little bit of distance for me, a little bit of space all my own, a little elbow room. Being an only child, I think, makes me less used to sharing my personal space, and makes me feel the resentment even more keenly. I've been lately feeling smothered, and just the ipod can bring me back to myself, make me remember that I still have my own internal life, even though I give and give and give. Though it sometimes feels like it, we never give it all away. 


Anna said...

yes, cali. yes. yes. yes! Love this

Anonymous said... call your little baby a "little fucker" ?? you should be ASHAMED of yourself for even thinking that, let alone posting that on the internet. some of these posts are pathetic. grow up. if you can't handle kids, you shouldn't be a mother. i know plenty of single working moms who don't bitch and moan about how hard their lives are and they don't have the luxury of being a stay at home mom while their husband provides everything. you need to get your priorities straight, and think a little more about your children, and the good things you do have in life. you may have been an only child and gotten your way all the time, but it's time to stop being the drama queen and focus on your children, white trash mama.

Cali Lovett said...

You can read my full response to the above comment here:

The more I think about it, the more I'm certain this commenter (who commented anonymously, you note) is not a parent. I've assumed it's a woman, but if it were a man, that'd be the icing, don't you think?