We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

May 8, 2008

Motherhooding

Halloween 2005 getting ready
Getting ready Halloween 2005

Meredith had a wonderful quote on her blog from Elizabeth Gilbert: "When you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt. This is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty and also your entitlement as a human being to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight."

To me this is what motherhood can seem like. Some days it seems as though life with A is just a series of actions that waiver from making him happy and getting stuff done. Those are the days where it is a struggle to find the balance of joy or contentment for both of us. I know and understand what I need to give him for happiness, the things to do with our days and minutes that will make him smile and be at peace. But there is a certain sense of unrest that I feel sometimes when there are things to get done or ideas I want to get down on paper or projects I want to start. Days like that I am not a good catch partner, I can not bring myself to love every dandelion he brings me.

I miss alone time when there wasn't a list of things to get done. I miss when the creative process was always the first on my to do list. But I am learning how to include him in my process, when I bake bread he has his own dough to knead and roll. He has his own drawing space, that he goes to when he wants to draw but he wants me there with him, not drawing my own things but sitting there just watching. I want to be him there, I would scribble and draw excitedly. Instead I watch as my linear son is more interested in lining the markers up and balancing the tops on the table.

So I am learning to search out the things to do that we both love to do. We go for long walks, throw sticks into streams, make mud, we bake and we sing silly songs. Still when we come home and we are sitting on the floor stacking jar lids I turn on the radio and occupy my mind with the world through public radio. I am engaged in both directions but I am also full of guilt that I can not love spending every minute in Alder's world.

What is the secret to entering that world? I know I go there sometimes, and the day goes by smoothly, we both get things done to fill our souls but it is a mystery how and why those day come together. Other days I rush to negotiate time alone to finish just a little of what needs to get done, never getting all the way through to creativity. This blog , most days, is my is my creative outlet.

Yet I agree that we need to holding onto happiness, because it is a fight that we are in. A fight with norms a fight with expectations and with loss of autonomy. So I try every night to look back and see what worked, where we were both happy, and I try to hold it close to me and try to live in it so that the next day I can bring these moments back and add more of them to our day. And maybe, just maybe, I'll have the energy to write a few pages or make something after he goes to bed tonight.

3 comments:

SpiderWomanKnits said...

Great post Stacey. You expressed what so many mommas feel. Oh that struggle is so hard. Sometimes I think guilt is what differentiates us from animal moms because on days when I am "absent", off in my own world rather than in Jorn's or Simonne's, it seems to be guilt that pulls me back in. But that really shouldn't be.

I have so much I want to say about this but so little of that precious time right now. What's your week like next week?

**camera shy momma** said...

i hear ya. you'll find your pockets of togetherness, i think in some ways it gets a bit easier as they get older while it gets more difficult in other aspects. but you'll find those pockets of time when you both are at peace together doing exactly what you love. and each day you'll remember and those pockets will grow deeper.

i love that photo of you. geisha, perhaps? i'm very curious! :)

Stacey said...

The photo is of a costume I was wearing to a macabre dinner, my take was to gesso my body white, wear my wedding dress and put gold powder in my hair and over my face. The effect was that I looked all cracked like I was old peeling paint. The down side to the costume was that I put on the dress before I let all the paint dry and I stuck to the dress in some spots and it hurt like hell to get out of it. Unfortunately I have not copies of the whole costume in a picture.