First, I wanted to be an attachment parent. I wanted to babywear, breastfeed, have a natural vaginal birth and have those 1st bonding moments, I wanted to bedshare.. all those "B"s of attachment parenting that would lead me to be a mother who seamlessly understood her baby's cues and needs and we would be this One of Baby and Mother like a tootsie roll pop.
I wanted to embody Mindful Motherhood, present in every moment, letting experiences wash in and out without labeling them "good" or "bad. I wanted to attain that serenity that apparently, all I had to do was choose to step into and it could be mine. So simple. No work. Serenity now.
I did both pretty half-assed but got what I needed and was left feeling like a not-good-enough peace parent, like I did something wrong because my baby didn't LOVE the baby wearing and I had a C-section and missed those first bonding moments and in fact, didn't even name my kid nor do I remember most of the 1st night with her.
Then I managed to reach some semblance of "balance" when I worked part time and was home part time. My mom was kind enough to watch her, so I knew she was in good hands. I got to be a pretty lady some days for work and I got to let it all hang out some days at home. A perfect tightrope act for someone walking the thin wire of post-partum depression.
Fast forward, I work full time again. We have gently kicked DD out of the bed. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I don't make perfectly organic meals and my kid eats dairy, which I'd always hoped to avoid. She's still a vegetarian at least. Most of what I thought life would look like is not true. I work beyond full time. Sometimes my time with my kid isn't "quality". Oftentimes I put myself first before everyone else in the family. We don't have a proper television but she spends plenty of time with Netflix.
Depression sometimes tries to rear its ugly head and to that I say, bring it. I've been through the worst you have to offer me. I've seen the insides of your big ugly demonic black cloud and I've farted rainbows all over it like a really tired but determined Care Bear.
Sometimes a cleaning lady comes. Sometimes, my house is not fit for a feral cat to live in.
Sometimes, I make a lot of money on a side biz. Sometimes, I completely ignore it for months.
You know what I have now? I have awesome. I have messy, gorgeous, temperamental, day-to-day, ceiling-falling-down, forsythia-are-bursting, moonlight-on-the-lake, ugly-rug, and unapologetic life.
"Did you see the latest episode of..."
"You have to watch it because you'll love it because ..."
"I bet! I don't have cable".
"What? How can you not? Won't DD feel like she doesn't know what the other kids are talking about?"
"I just don't".
"Why are you so tired?"
"DD was in our bed last night".
"You've got to get her out of there! Kids shouldn't sleep in their parents' beds. She'll be an insomniac!"
I'm not sorry we do how we do in my little family. I'm not sorry that I turned out to be me, just amplified, and that I wasn't replaced by a floating cloud of serenity and grace. I'm not sorry that I worked so much, left her in day care so much, didn't fulfill my vision of motherhood or my vision of working part time.
In fact, today, despite that I failed at every different school of parenting there is out there...
I say, welcome to my rock star life.
Welcome to the loud, the furious, the fast, the barely getting it done. My inner rebel drives this motorcycle and honestly, we're not quite sure where we're going at any given moment.
But we're going loud, and fast, and thinking on our feet.
Is it exhausting, relentless, and demanding?
That's one way to look at it.
Or is it invigorating, rebellious, and wild to say:
I am having it all. I leaned in, I leaned out, I lean whatever the hell direction I want to lean today.
I lean into living.
I lean into whatever is happening today.
I lean into creation, creativity, art, love, and madness.
Yes, the madness too. I lean into it.
I am having it all because I choose to pay the bills, I choose to nourish my family, I choose to prioritize myself too.
This isn't exhaustion, it's having-it-all hangover from the wild days of drinking 180 proof, flaming energy of living a life with each moment packed with the real stuff.