One of the things I’ve struggled with since becoming a mom is the changing face of my identity and what it is that makes me who I am. I went from an introverted, flexitarian, yoga novice with a penchant for novels and blogging to a frazzled mom who rarely wears makeup, wonders why she used to knock socks with sandals, and has to plan shaving her legs around when the baby is sleeping (which is never). I’m lucky now if I find time to get online once or twice a week to blog. My socializing has been curtailed to friends with babies because nothing is worse than being out with a single, non-mommy friend when your antsy four-month-old decides she’s going full-on Chernobyl in a coffee shop just because the other patrons looked too relaxed.
The first couple of months, I fought to maintain those parts of me, refusing to admit that things had to change and it stressed me out. I had thought I would have all this time when she magically napped, but I learned quickly that that wouldn’t be the case. Nap? What nap? Nap is a four letter word!
Instead, I’ve been learning to embrace my new identity, which has increasing become that of a hippie stay at home mom. Allow me to explain:
1. I babywear. Squeaker has to be held constantly and when she’s not being held, she must be tricked into believing that she is being held, hence the babywearing. Many times strangers come up to me in the street not to say ‘hi’ to her, but to ask me how I’m wearing her. I’m a fan of the Moby Wrap and the ErgoBaby and those are not very common sights on the streets of Santiago. When I took her to get her four-month vaccinations in the Ergo, an elderly gentleman waiting for his flu shot asked me how much she weighed and where I had purchased my baby carrier because he wanted to buy the same one.
Now, instead of daily yoga, we do our daily walk in the wrap or the carrier and she snoozes against my chest, or she tries to eat my headphones–one or the other.
2. I breastfeed. So my relationship with breastfeeding was one of apprehension and misunderstanding in the beginning, but now that she’s not so colicky and I see how much she enjoys it, I’ve learned to cherish our time together–especially when she stares up at me, smiling and dribbling milk down her cheeks. A few days ago someone mentioned to me that it will be hard to wean her in a few months. In a few months! We started giving her boiled pears this week as per the doctor’s instructions to improve her regularity. (Yes, I did type that. Parents think more about their offsprings’ poop than just about any other indicator of health. Quantity? Texture? Color? Smell? We have entire phone calls with the relatives back home about this.) But, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to give it up. It’s still a great multi-vitamin and the best, most-digestible protein she can eat. In the beginning, my goal was at least six months. Now, who knows?
3. We co-sleep. I fully admit that this is controversial, but weeks of struggling to get her to sleep in her crib and the screams of agony that sounded like we were leaving her on a mountaintop in an Incan ritual, not giving her a safe night’s rest, wore us out and made us mad–at each other and those lucky liars who say they babies who sleep through the night. Finally, one day, my husband asked, “And if she just sleeps with us?” WHAT? Don’t they have Geneva Conventions about that? I balked. Eventually sleep deprivation won and now the three of us sleep almost peacefully. When she gets her own room at our new place, we might have to try again.
4. This happened:
Black yoga pants are formal wear at this point.
5. Coming to the realization that nothing is permanent and soon she won’t want to be held constantly and I need to enjoy every minute while I can.