I Should Be Napping

April 23, 2007

I just put PJ down for an unnecessary morning nap, just so I could try to catch up on some of the sleep I lost this weekend.  And instead I’m blogging.  I’m going to regret this later this afternoon when PJ is in Energizer-bunny mode and I’m fighting to keep up with him.

One of those many feelings that suddenly washed over me yesterday that I refused to go into at the time has become more developed since it happened.  I can’t ignore it anymore, especially now that I’m starting to identify better what it was I felt.  It happened while I was getting PJ resituated in the nursery at church.  More babies were being dropped off, so the woman in charge of the nursery for the morning went in search of more nursery workers.  I was kneeling down on the floor next to PJ, trying to entice him to play with some of the new toys, when the woman returned with a couple of teenage girls.  That’s when the weird feeling hit, the one I couldn’t interpret at the time.

I remember back in my high school days.  I was thrilled whenever the lady running the nursery would come retrieve some of us high schoolers from the back row of the wing to help her out.  It meant I got to miss the boring parts of church (the sermon) and play with babies at the same time.  I always begged my mom to let me help her when it was her turn to serve in the nursery.  I completely identified with those teenagers who showed up to help in the nursery yesterday.

I remember how I saw the moms of the kids I watched in the nursery, too.  I always viewed them with a bit of awe.  They were so much older than me, so much more mature.  They had some magic touch with their kids, knowing exactly how to be a parent and how best to take care of their kids.  I was insecure about what I was doing to take care of their kids because I worried it might not be the way they did things.  I worried about messing up their kids in that one hour I had them.

Now I’m one of those moms.  I’m that well-settled mom even, the one with a little grown-up toddler and a new baby on the way.  All of a sudden when those teenage girls walked in, I saw myself through their eyes.  And that scared me.  I’m not that mom, the one I pictured moms to be when I was a teen.  I don’t know what the heck I’m doing to take care of my own kid.  Even after a year and a half of being a parent, I haven’t figured out how to do this job.  Yet I’m doing it all over again.

Did those girls yesterday look at me with a bit of awe, the way I used to see experienced moms?  I don’t know whether to envy them or pity them for having no idea what exactly is in store for them when they make the decision to become parents.  I want to tell them being a mom is nothing at all like what they think it is now.  It’s so much better and so much worse.  Most importantly, I want them to know that despite all my experience as a mother, I don’t know everything about how to care for little kids, sometimes not even my own.

I know it sounds like I’m a little depressed this morning and questioning my own abilities as a mother.  I don’t mean for my feelings to come across that way.  It’s just unsettling to realize you have not turned into the ideal you imagined for yourself as a teenager.  It’s also unsettling to not know quite how to see yourself.  I know I’m not who I would be if I saw myself through my teenage eyes.  There’s so much more depth to me than that.  I feel like I want to get to know myself all over again because I’m not seeing what other people see, both strangers and close friends and family.  Could it be I’m having an identity crisis, now that I’m suddenly faced with the idea of being a mother of two?  I wouldn’t think it would be much different from being a mother at all–that was enough of a shift in my own identity–but I don’t remember struggling like this last time around.

Sigh.  I don’t think I’ve even begun to vocalize what I’m really feeling.  I don’t think I even really understand myself what it is that I’m feeling.  If you can make any sense of these ramblings at all, then please clarify for me.  Maybe some of you have gone through something similar yourself and can tell me what you finally figured out about it.

Okay, already updating it.  I think it has more to do with how I relate to others.  I struggle with seeing myself as a mother, especially a mother of two, so I can’t really relate to other mothers, especially ones I don’t already know (like from pre-mom days).  I don’t feel old enough or mature enough to fit into that group.  I still see myself as that teenager or single woman and feel like I identify with one of those groups.  But obviously I’m not one of them, as I found out yesterday as I saw myself through their eyes.  I know who I am, but I don’t feel like that.  Even more I’m convinced I need to reach out and find a group of moms to socialize with, moms I will have only known as moms.  Maybe then I’ll feel more comfortable in my role as a mother.