Messy, Magical Motherhood
Just like that, my son Dhruv has turned 1! As of this writing, he is almost 14 months. Wow!
I am trying to find a good metaphor for the last 11 months of being a full-time employee and full- time mom. A Roller Coaster ride seems appropriate, so does a stretched elastic band and being lost on an island. But I digress. Here, I reflect on my motherhood journey in the past 11 months.
First and foremost, it does take a village. I am forever indebted to my army of advisors (yoga teacher, doula, lactation consultant) and my girlfriends who helped me have child birth, breastfeeding and early parenting experiences I dreamt of. It was incredibly hard, both physically and emotionally, but having my village made me not quit. Paradoxically, being an immigrant living miles away from my real family and old friends by choice, I constantly question my choices and the implication of my choices on me and my husband as parents, and on my son. Questioning yourself becomes an intrinsic and unavoidable part of parenting. Goes something like this- Is he happy at day care? Should he be in daycare? Should I reduce my hours at work and stay home with him longer? You get the picture. It ebbs and flows – it has taken me some quiet time to realize that there is no absolute and there is no one right way of parenting and by extension of living life. I’ve also learned babies are amazingly malleable and resilient, and transitions are much harder on me as an adult than they are on him as a baby.
Welcoming the unsure messy parts is what makes parenting such a learning experience. I struggled less with the significantly increased volume of work (chores etc.) but rather with the unpredictability of a baby’s schedule. Learning to give up control is probably my biggest learning.
On its heels follows learning to compromise. It took me some time to be okay with not being able to “do it all”. I have reduced time for my spouse, family and friends, to exercise, to read, to focus on my career- to do all the things that I did before I had an infant. However, by not doing one thing also means I am choosing to do something, often related to the baby. And in the grand scheme of things, I am glad I made those choices. I chose to spend the time with my infant, because he is already a toddler!
Lastly, I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned to champion for myself. In sleep deprived, guilt- laced moments, it is easy to get delusional about one’s own capacity and not pause to get a reality check. That is a dangerous slippery slope that I often remind myself to not get on. Having honest conversations with my spouse, my nanny, my manager at work has (I hope) helped them help me.
Motherhood is messy and magical. I am grateful to have had this wonderful experience and this adorable child that I call mine!
Blog post by WHCM Steering Committee Member Dhana Kotwal