On Monday I took a foggy walk and the mental fog lifted somewhat. I decided that I love talking about my kid. He’s adorable. I love being home with him. And I’m glad I made that choice. Plus I love LOVE reading books with him and I’m proud of what he just accomplished. BUT...I started thinking about being that mom who talks about how many books we have in our home and how we do this and do that – ugh. Is that really me now? And does that mean I've become that one-dimensional mom whose sole focus is indoor soccer on Mondays and preschool pick-up precisely at 12:20, and so on?
Uh-oh. Here we go.
Then I thought about what else happened that Saturday that could possibly turn a harmless blog post idea into a minor freak-out. Well, duh. I had only just sent out a jaunty “save the date” email about my 40th birthday party. My birthday isn’t until August but I know my busy Bay Area friends and they really needed that much warning, even if I’m bringing the party to them.
Yup. 40. Every time I think about it I think about a whole new decade starting and what will define it, especially now that my son is the big 0-4, easier to manage, and usually sleeping at night. Usually. And I need to admit that it’s triggered a bit of any identity crisis. (If I say “a bit of” an identity crisis maybe it won’t sound so cliché. Worth a try. )
With just a hair more REM sleep and a few mornings of preschool a week, my eyes are able to refocus on my own reality a little. But the ideas are all over the place and it’s still really blurry, sounding something like this:
Oh yeah, I moved to Portland to afford a house a couple years ago. That explains all the rain. I wonder how I get to someplace besides the zoo, the children’s museum, and the grocery store?...Maybe I can take a little more freelance work? Do I have time?…How do I grow that? How do I can that? Where do I recycle that?...What does my iPad do besides play kiddie games?...What did I used to do for fun (and can I still do that before I fall asleep at 9:30 so I can get up at 6)?...What kind of music do I like again? I’m sure it sounds nothing like Raffi.
And most importantly: What overblown writing ideas did I have in my head before I stopped journaling every day because I was too new-mama tired to keep it up? Where did that too-short screenplay go that I seemed to get jazzed about every May for years? (Not sure why it was only in May.) Where did I stash that short story I shared with my book group that was supposed to turn into a bunch of soul-searching travel essays? Can I even write about those things anymore?
And the biggest, foggiest question of all: Is there a bridge back to that creative, quirky 20- and early 30-something writing person, post-mamahood? Or better yet, a fresher more confident take on her? Say, the fabulous 40s version?
Like the whole idea of turning 40, coming out of early motherhood brain fog is far too much to process at once. But at least I figured out why writing a simple Mom blog post pushed my buttons. I like mom blogs a lot, but I've got to reach out and find my real voice again so I’m not afraid it’s lost. To write as myself, in the first person, for the first time in years and have it come out in momspeak – it scared me into that process of refocusing. It scared me into coming out of the mom fog when I’m not at soccer or picking up my son from preschool or picking out books he can practice reading. My son is reading! He’s all grown out of toddler clothes. He’s gotten big and independent so fast. It’s time for me to make more of an effort to expand my horizons too – and please let it be before I finally turn 40 and really freak out.
Carrie R. Wheadon is a stay-at-home proud mama of a new reader. She reviews lots of books, apps, and DVDs for Common Sense Media (commonsense.org; check it out parents – good site!). She only just discovered this week that she fears mom blogging. Follow her on twitter: carrierobinw