Sunday, May 10, 2009

My (very personal) adjustment to motherhood

Today is my first mother's day. I have been thinking lately about myself, about motherhood, and about adjustment and how much I have changed in the last 10 or so years. At the concert last night a friend put his hand over my head and said "this girl is not the same girl I used to know". I keep thinking about what he meant by that. I know I have changed, in many ways, but I have mostly changed things that I do that affect my baby, and that affect my life as a mom. Even when I was pregnant I thought I knew how I would be as a mom. The lady I share an office with jokes with me because I when I was pregnant I would say things like "that baby is going in a crib. That's what cribs are for." Well, BBZ spent 8 weeks in my room and before that 8 week mark I could not let him be that far away from me. I guess my point is that I thought I knew what I would be like as a mom, but even I have surprised myself.

If you asked the me from 5 years ago if I thought I would ever give up 1 day of work each week to be at home with my baby, I know the answer would have been no. Another thing this friend confided in me was that my blog can come across as judgemental. He will probably not be happy about my writing about this, but I have come to accept that while I began this blog as a way to keep in touch with family, it has also become a place where I can just put it all out there. A place to think (or type) out loud and try to organize my thoughts and work through personal struggles. I guess I didn't really think about the way the things I say here would be perceived.

People are judgemental. People pass judgements. I believe it is a natural human response that in history has been a survival technique, but in our modern times has turned into prejudice, bias, and driven wedges between races, groups and sometimes friends. Not being judgemental, to me, is almost impossible. It's recognizing this and deciding what to do about it that makes the difference. I think this becomes even more in the forefront when people have children. Comments about people's children are taken very personally, even if the commenter didn't mean it personally. My very good real-life friend and fellow blogger Laura and I were talking on the phone a few weeks ago about breast pumps. She is pregnant and said she does not want to use a second-hand breast pump because she read that bacteria can get into the motor. I use a second-hand breast pump and have since BBZ was born, does this mean I am not as good of a mom because I chose to buy a second-hand breast pump?

Of course not.

But as a mom, I constantly question myself. Is this ok, is that ok, this mom does this and this mom does that, should I do this, should I do that. It is often confusing and never ending and I don't think there is an answer. But I feel the need to say that while voicing the way I decide to do things and the things that have worked out for me as a mother and for our family, I choose not pass judgements on how others decide to raise their children or their families. Even if I compare myself to other moms, I do not pretend to know what that mom goes through, or why she decides one thing while I may decide another. I cannot know what a person thinks, or feels, or know that my way is better or their way is worse. I do what works for me, and at times feel lucky just to get by!

I think about other countries who are not as technologically advanced as America. Americans think our way of life with television and technology is so much better, we try to make everyone realize that and conform to our way of living. Well guess what? People living all over the world do things differently and that doesn't necessarily make our way the right way, or our way any better. I hope that those who read my blog understand what I am saying, and I really do apologize if anyone misunderstood what I have written. I admit that when Laura and I were talking, I wondered if I am not as responsible as her by using this second-hand pump, but that was my own perception and I take responsibility for it. I know Laura was not insinuating something about me as a mom. I know she was talking with me, her best friend, about something she was trying to decide about what she as a mom is going to do. I know her and trust her and know that while she looks at me as a mom and might agree with some of the things I do, she is her own person and will do what works for her and her family. And quite honestly, that has nothing to do with me. Just as what I write in this blog has nothing to do with other moms or the readers. It is my journey filled with struggles and triumphs and those who read are along for the ride. I cannot take responsibility for how it is perceived, although I do care.

I feel better getting that off of my chest. On to other news, I had a great time this weekend at the concerts! I will say though that I had a lot more fun on Friday than I did on Saturday. I think I am just over getting drunk. It is just not that fun for me anymore. The idea sounded good, but in actuality, I would have preferred to come home to my baby and have him here with me this morning. I woke up at 6am anyway! I appreciate the time my hubby and I had together so much. This weekend rekindled something for us and we talked about things we really needed to talk about. Overall, it was a great weekend. I am really looking forward to my first mother's day. BBZ and I will be reunited at N's mom's house this morning and I cannot wait to see him. I think about his little smile and his sweet smell and so look forward to holding and cuddling with him. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! I wish peace for you as you deal with your own struggles as moms and while I know I can't get it all right, I hope to get as close as I can.

4 comments:

  1. I read your blog religiously (seriously, if I see you have posted something, it's in my top 5 I read first)...and not once have I ever thought you posted anything even remotely judgemental. I think you notice things, and remark on them, but do not judge, at least not in a negative manner.

    Everyone has to do what is right for them as a mommy. I have had several people comment on the fact that I am going back to work full-time next year but they don't understand that it is because I am thinking only of L's long-term future because we have to move in order to get him a better education.

    And for the record, I lent out my breast pump to three people! And I'll use it again with the next baby! :)

    You are an amazing mother. And you'll keep changing and keep growing as one for the rest of your life.

    Happy Mother's Day!!

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  2. I love you Banana! I think you are a wonderful mommy! I am not sure why anyone would think your blog is judgemental. Seriously... I love your blog, and hearing all about Isaac and what is going on with you. Never once, did I ever think anything could be even remotely picked up as being negatively judgemental.

    And I am glad that you used our conversation as an example, although I am sorry that it even caused the thought to cross your mind for a second that you were not being totally responsible. Using a second hand pump is a purely personal choice, one that I honestly didn't even know that you had made prior to that conversation. You know that I am a germ-a-phobe, and because of that, I have to go with what I feel comfortable with.

    You are right though, everyone is different and everyone has to do what they feel is right for them in their situation. Just because people make different choices and they are not right for us, does not mean that one judges them. It just means they are taking a different path.

    Many people keep telling me that it is safe to have a drink here and there while they are pregnant. Maybe it is totally fine. But I don't feel comfortable doing that, so I am choosing not too. I still love my friends dearly that do, and still respect them and their decisions as mothers, it's just not a choice that is right for me.

    I am also pretty sure that others will think I am being silly when I follow all the rules and guidelines for what you should or shouldn't do while you are pregnant. Like not eating deli meat or chicken salad... among countless others. They may think I am being paranoid and none of this really matters. Maybe it doesn't, but I feel more comfortable doing it then not, and I don't mind giving these things up.

    Everyone is different. Everyone will do things differently. That is our right and our choice. We should all be celebrating each others strengths and learning from each other what we can, and realizing that we all make different choices.

    Personally, I feel lucky and very blessed to have you in my life. To have your opinion and guidance in whatever way I choose to take it. We will not always agree on everything, but we will still love each other and respect each other through it all. That is why we have been best friends for 15+ years!

    So rest easy, dear friend, you are a wonderful mommy (as you know), and you are doing exactly what you feel is right for you and your baby. He couldn't ask for anything more. He is a very lucky little man!

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  3. Ahhh, the honesty. I too read your blog and appreciate your stories of how you have chosen navigate motherhood. I don't now, nor have I ever found you the least bit judgmental (just the opposite actually). I am not a mommy. I try very hard not to judge because I too think that when/if I do have kids what I say I will do now and what will actually happen will be 2 totally different things.

    As far as your not "being the same girl" certain people used to know, I have known you for the better part of the past 20 years. You sure are not the same person you were in 2nd grade. Can you imagine manuvering BBZ and learning cursive? LOL! Nor were you that person in 6th grade or in high school. People grow and change. That is what life is about. Are we better or worse for it? Probably a little of both. You are not single, carefree Anna anymore. You are N's wife and BBZ's mom. You are an advocate for disabled people and an excellent roll model. You didn't start out that way, you grew into it. At the core, you are still the same Anna Bananna from 6th grade chorus. You are just a more grown up, more educated and more rounded you.

    I have learned recently that sometimes friends put you into a catagory and try to make you fit into a specific box to suit them. When you don't fit their mold anymore it becomes hard for them to identify with you. That is why they say some people are here for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And as we are living proof, sometimes friendships come full circle. You are a great mom. I hope you had a fantastic 1st mother's day!

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  4. I am just reading this now. I have to add simply Anna Banana ...the woman you grew up to be is no surprise to me...amazing,kind,and tender hearted. Amazing.

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