After realizing that the other mothers weren’t lying about enjoying their days at home with their babies, I came to the conclusion that I was overdoing it a bit.
While my friends sat on their sofas yawning with their babies in their arms, and piles of unfolded laundry and dishes in the sink, I was out washing my car with my baby in her car seat. I even bought a lawn mower, assembled it myself, and mowed the lawn, so my husband didn’t have to do it.
I made my own fresh baby food. See the hand grinder on the table in the photo above? A handy invention, but I also made it in bulk in my food processor and froze it in ice cube trays.
If I had to do it again, I would do less and enjoy it more. I thought of what I was doing as a duty and turned it into a job. Motherhood is not a job, it’s not even the toughest job in the world as people often say. Motherhood is a spiritual activity. It takes from you nothing short of everything, and changes you in ways that can not be described. Even if you have a second child, and think it will be the same, it is a completely different experience the second time around.
My friend, Jennifer, used to say to me, you’re almost out of the woods: almost out of diapers, almost into preschool, almost into high school, almost able to drive, and now almost into college.
I did a guided meditation of walking through the woods. In this meditation I was in an alpine forest. This was no surprise, as I’ve spent so much time in recent years in the Tahoe basin. In my mind, I could see the pine trees covered and sparkling in snow. I find a stream and follow it down the mountain.
Had I just done this sooner, things would have been decidedly different and much more pleasant. But, I thought motherhood was more of a lesson in sacrifice than love. I spent a good deal of time wondering aimlessly in the forest, focusing on things that didn’t matter (although I still believe keeping a comfortable and well ordered home is worth doing).
However, we don’t know what we don’t know and once these lessons are learned, we are past the point of benefiting from our own, hard won, wisdom.
Once in a while, in a flash of nostalgia, I will remember holding one of my infant daughters in my arms. People often talk about how babies smell, but what I remember most is how they felt. The weight and warmth of their bodies. What I would give to have just one more day with my precious baby again.
We can’t go back in time, we can only look at the woman we raised and remember the innocent girl, and the tiny baby, she once was.
Love and blessings.