(No I’m not in labor writing a blog… haha) I’m already arguing with my child. Of course it’s pretty one sided. I say things like can you please go to sleep? And s/he pushes me around. And I say, no really, it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to go to get comfortable and sleep now. And Baby gives one swift punch for good measure. And then it’s quiet.
I love sleep. Absolutely one of my favorite things to do. Everyone tells me to get ready for the biggest change in life ever. People told me that when I got married at 39. People told me that when I moved to LA. People told me that when I moved from Denver to Williamsburg. People told me that when they found out my husband has 2 kids from a previous marriage. My life has had some change. Doesn’t everyone’s?
But the thing I keep coming back to is how people say things like you’ve been single and childless, as if to imply all I’ve done all my life is selfish, and now I’ll have other people to think about. It strikes me as, well, exactly the problem with most people.
It’s that modern trend of me v you, as if they are mutually exclusive. I can’t possibly be taking care of myself if I’m taking care of you and vice versa. It’s this idea that as a mom, I am either being self-centered and needing “me” time OR I am that woman who lives eats breathes and poops for her kids. Or doesn’t poop because she doesn’t have time for that. We all know the type.
As with most of life, the balance seems to be always tipping in one direction. Yes, moms absolutely need down time, some more than others, and it isn’t a right or wrong amount of time. Moms also need to put their kids’ well being pretty darn high on their priority list when it comes to making choices about their time and energy. We also know those moms who actually truly deeply (madly) think that they CAN have it all and try their darnedest to do so. Something’s gotta give. Always. I don’t even know what “having it all” really means any way. There will always be something that just ain’t gonna work out.
And on the flip side, we watch TV and movies and read Oprah articles that tell us that whatever we’re doing is ok. That we have to do what’s best and right for us and it’s this moving target at any given time and that’s ok. I’m ok. You’re ok. Just do your best. And there is a small amount of good in that but not nearly as much as you want to think there is. But it isn’t healthy to despair and think I can always do better and I have to try harder. You find yourself in this never ending cycle of defeat.
And once again, the pendulum swings the other way, and as a Christian who has been called to lay down her life, to look to the interests of others, to be humble and sacrificially love at whatever cost it takes, I can’t help but think that maybe it really isn’t about balance at all. It’s about giving freely and keeping no accounts of who owes what. It’s about knowing that this life is not just for me to make my way and make a name for myself or achieve great things – even if that is to be mom of the year. But that this life is a collective – a family – we’re all in this together, helping each other, giving each other a step up even at great cost, so that someone else gets their day in the sun. I really believe it has never been all about me. There is no “me.”
I want my kid to know that. I want The Kid to know that it isn’t about me, and it isn’t about him/her either. It’s about US. together. We’re a family and we’re in life together. It’s always about push and pull, give and take, joy and sorrow, weeping and rejoicing, together.
So even in tossing and turning, I remind myself that this is love. And I’m going to hold this baby in my arms soon and all the sleeplessness and the discomfort of a bloated belly, and the anxious thoughts of “is everything ok” will all come together in the end. But it will only be just beginning. Because then the lifetime of service, mixed with gratitude and thanksgiving will start. It will start over and over with each new morning. Just like God’s mercies. Which is a good thing cause we’ll all need it.
So c’mon, Baby!! Let’s do this.