Writing and motherhood are bound together in my life. I wouldn’t be a writer if I weren’t a mother and I’m slowly finding I wouldn’t be as whole as a mother if I gave up writing. All the pieces fit together to build a whole better than each piece on it’s own.
These past couple months I’ve been holding a little secret close to my heart, because it felt precious and precarious. And the path I’ve been processing along the way to this stronger place was murky and confusing.
But I’m here now.
A little more me and less of other people.
But also with another little person journeying and growing right along with me.
In January, we found out we were expecting our third little baby to add to our clan. (<—–Squeee! There’s the announcement, people! Don’t miss it!)
Along with the undercurrent of joy, I felt confused, disappointed, let down. I had just signed up for a grad level literature class thinking I would get a good writing sample to apply to grad school later. I begged my way into it, even, since it turns out it is hard to get permission when you are not admitted into a degree seeking program.
I signed up for a few days, took a pregnancy test, and then dropped it.
I couldn’t imagine being pregnant and tired all while caring for my kids and trying to fit my homework in around the edges. Writing around the edges works for blogging, but it felt really overwhelming when considering an 18-20 page paper and all the rest.
I realize now it was a way of adding purpose, repurposing, looking for validity, stealing time alone, paying money to be myself, lining up credentials to prove myself as a whole person instead of a dependent of my husband and longtime unpaid servant of two toddlers. Purposelessness grabbed at the core of who I was. I resented being pregnant and always being the one to be pregnant. Nothing felt like mine.
Eventually, I was able to exchange that attitude for one with a little more purpose, personal validation, and direction. Somewhere (or a variety of somewheres) I learned to choose and that it was mine to choose.
I get to bear the babies. My husband can’t, even if he wanted to. Choice.
Someday I might go to grad school. Someday I might get more credentialed and have a job with a paycheck, but for now I simply mother. And write. Choice.
And I will take it seriously. Choice.
Writing is mine. Choice.
So I’m learning to take the time to write. To be a little more serious about this little piece where I can think thoughts outloud. And take the time to say the words that bring more life to my life.
When I acknowledge my own need for a pursuit outside of motherhood I am a better mother.
As the years have gone by my mothering and my writing have become intertwined. I think through things, envision, revision, live and relive all portions and pieces of who I am and who we are and the little ones we are raising, in my writing.
This little baby, twirling and stretching inside of me, has somehow helped me to engage my ability to choose a little more. And this tiny companion in
arms womb has spurred me on to a better understanding of myself and just how the things I am already doing and might want to do are mine to choose (or not) and to choose to do well.
That is how it seems to go with mothering and parenthood: you learn and learn, and are surprised by things you never knew all while carefully and hopefully guarding your little ones as they grow for the encountering the world later one. We come into parenthood thinking the teaching is ours to do, when it’s more completely the other way around.
I’m beginning to feel like I’m coming into who I am as a mother.
I’m beginning to feel like I’m coming into who I am as a writer.
I am choosing to be my whole self a little more and the lesser version of me a little less.
I’m beginning to realize that being a mother as me means being me.
And I can choose to define it.
PS – For those of you windering about the math: this one is due in September. Ali will be two and Ranger will be three and a half. We are so excited I can hardly wait to meet a little one who is just as wonderful as Ranger and Ali and yet still completely their own litle person! It is hard to imagine at this point, but I am beginning to know it from the littlest wiggles.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the rest of you this weekend!