The last 8 weeks have been all about Audrey. They've been about nursing, crying (her and me), pacifiers, figuring out the diaper genie, poop, spit-up, snot, laundry, walks with a stroller, the moby wrap, the car seat, 3am feedings, having full hands and having my hands full. The weeks before that were all about the bump, the ultrasound, the heartbeat, the maternity jeans, the gear, the morning sickness, the nursery, the sex, the name, the epidural, and the due date. And the weeks before that were all about deciding we were ready to have children, some sad complications, waiting, anticipating, peeing on a stick, and keeping a secret that I almost didn't believe I was keeping.
So actually, the last year (and then some) of my life has been about Audrey. I expect that the next 18 years (and then some) of my life will be about Audrey, too.
I'm pretty much okay with my life being redefined and reorganized by this little person who, for the time being, is so dependant on me for everything. I in fact love it 99% of the time. But, sometimes, during that 1% of time when I'm not loving it - like yesterday when I forwent a simple errand I've been wanting to run for weeks and then took the long way home to avoid stop lights and keep the car moving because Audrey is crying in the backseat and refuses to be calmed by the likes of a pacifier, my singing, her toys, talk radio, the Wicked soundtrack, or lullaby renditions of No Doubt songs - I can't help but to think back about what it was like to be alone and the freedom that not being a mom afforded me... I know that I took it for granted.
Though I'm not really looking forward to going back to work in a few weeks, I'm hoping to embrace it as a chance to have a little bit of me back. Work is a place where I don't have to be a mom, a daughter, a sister, a wife, or even a friend - it's a place where I can just be myself, accrue self-worth through productivity, and solve problems that are not my own. I'm going to do my best to make the most of being a working mom... readers, any advice on this point is appreciated!
Granted, while I'm at work, I'll always still be thinking of Audrey and wondering how she's doing at day care. I'll still spend many minutes a day engaging in activities geared towards feeding her. I'll be working more efficiently so I can get back to her quicker. I'll spend more time in the car so that she can go to the best daycare. I'll be doing whatever I can to ensure that that my time away from her is well spent and not a waste (no more leisurely lunches, walks to Starbucks mid-morning, facebooking and Internet shopping, afternoon hikes to the 28th floor for no reason). It will be hard to balance work and Audrey, especially in the beginning. But, going back to work will be made a little easier knowing that SAHM's don't necessarily have it any better... see for example: http://ginandjuiceboxes.com/2011/07/13/i-got-to-thinking/.
Now that I'm about ready to wrap up this post, I see that the content has strayed from the title. But I don't want to change the title because I'm trying to stick with this alphabet theme and can't think of a title that would otherwise fit and start with the letter "i"... so, I'll end where I tried to start...
My life has been taken over by Audrey. I think about her all day and night long. I think about me when I'm brushing my teeth (4 minutes a day?) But, I am still me. A different, mommier rendition of me, but still me no doubt. I think also a better me. A more patient me. A kinder me. A more tender me. I more tired me. A stronger me. I think I am getting closer to the me that I was always meant to be, meaning that before, I wasn't really all me yet anyways. So, rather than mourning the loss of the old me, I'm going to do my best to celebrate this new, fuller version.