we had an awesome mother’s day weekend and as i’ve reflected on that in the few days since, i’ve decided to post about becoming a mama. not the nitty gritty how it happened, but about accepting the fact that i am a mama. its who i am, although its taken awhile to embrace. one of the reasons for writing this post is that on two occasions over the weekend i met people i didn’t know and in the course of those meetings, people asked zach what he did for a living, but not me. my sweet husband chimed in to say what i did, but that didn’t really matter to those folks. what they presumed is i am zelda’s mama. in the past i’d have been hurt by that and probably would have chimed in on my own about what i do, but in the past 20 months i’ve come to embrace the fact that i am mama first. it hasn’t always been this way. before becoming zelda’s mama i was (and continue to be) a lawyer. being a lawyer was a huge part of my identity, so much so i assumed people could just tell that’s who i was even without me saying so. after zelda was born, i tried desperately to hold on to that identity, afraid to fully give over to being a mama 100% of the time. partly i didn’t want to loose my prior identity, one that took years of hard work to create. it was hard to shift to working only part time and having to be flexible when we were short on childcare. in holding so tightly to my prior identity i think i needlessly created frustration for myself and zach and missed out on truly enjoying those first six to nine months with zelda because i was trying so hard to be the old me and not giving in to the experience of motherhood.
i remember being at my mother in law’s house about a year ago and talking about things generally and telling her i was feeling overwhelmed that i didn’t get enough time for work. at the time she said my job was to be zelda’s mama. honestly, i dismissed her comment as old fashioned gender stereotypes, more along the lines of zach works, you take care of the baby. now, note my mother in law isn’t conservative or old fashioned, but i thought maybe she was with regard to child rearing. really she was right. i just needed to be a mama and everything else would fall into place. in fact since embracing motherhood, things did fall into place. while i sometimes feel time crunched rushing from work to home to relive the sitter or having to work from home when i should be in the office because we don’t have a sitter or wishing i had a few more hours at the office, when i’m with zelda, i’m exactly where i’m supposed to be and nothing else is more important.
why share this? first because its another piece of the story of our family and this space is our family’s story – the good, the growing pains and of course the cute. second, through talking with other new mamas, i’ve found this identity struggle isn’t unique to me. in fact, it seems common for lots of mamas who strongly identified with being something else before motherhood. and finally, now that zelda is becoming more independent and i’m getting more of a chance to do my own thing again, i find its all through the lens of being a mama. but even in pursuit of my interests, career goals, etc. none of it really matters without being a mama first and loving this family of mine.