Say it with me: “m-m-m-other.” While I may have graduated with a minor in English, I didn’t really study the origins of words and what they mean. But, can we just stop for one minute and look at that?
“Mother” is mostly made up of the word “other,” and that’s basically what it feels like.
In the fall, I entered into a new life that I’d like to go ahead and now call “otherhood” (but let’s be real, it really started the moment I got pregnant regardless of what the world says). My life revolves around another now. A little guy who just has constant needs. Then there’s the revolving door of guests and well-wishers, family, and, oh yeah, my husband. All people I love and care about, but all others that need or want something from me.
Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of supportive people around who have offered help. But a lot of times it still requires so much on my part, be it planning, packing or pumping. Even now, I type this slowly between patting the back of the fussy infant lying on my chest.
Not long ago, my husband talked about his want to hold onto his individuality, and then said he hoped I could do the same. A simple, well-meaning comment but all I could respond with was, “I didn’t even have time to eat lunch today. How am I supposed to have time for individuality?”
Needless to say, finding the balance between being selfish and saving a sense of self is difficult.
Are children a blessing? Yes. Do I love my kid? Yes. Do I want to be a good mom? Yes. Do I want a vacation already? Yes.
I miss running to the grocery store for just one thing without it being a huge ordeal. I miss planning jam-packed trips to new places. I miss sleeping whenever I want for as long as I want. I miss accomplishing the one thing I set out to do in a given day. I miss not needing to know what time it is and calculating how much time before this baby next needs to eat/sleep. I miss writing whenever inspiration hits.
This isn’t one big list of complaints. I never knew how much one kid’s smile could change the entire feel of the day. Or how many stories I could possibly tell about poop. Or how hard I would fight for quality time with my husband, even if just for a 10 minute conversation in the car.
It’s an honor to be a mom, but I’d be lying if I said I loved every minute of it.
There are more moments than I care to admit when I wonder when I’ll feel like myself again or daydream of going and doing whatever I please. I love my little family and am so grateful for them, but I think it’s OK to admit that the transition into motherhood is a lot to take on. That both holding onto who I was and embracing who I must become is a challenge. Finding the right balance between what I want and need while fulfilling my duties as a wife, mom and friend is not always easy.
These are worthwhile struggles, though, ones I’m sure I’ll be wrestling with for the foreseeable future. While the word “other” is prominent in “motherhood,” the word “me” is in there too—once you piece it together.
This article originally appeared on Moving Peaces.