I have been contemplating balance quite a bit this past week. It really started last Saturday night. Arif invited some friends from pool league over to cook and hang out. It was difficult, at first, to balance tending to Kiran’s needs and socialize with everyone…but once I put Kiran to bed, I had a wonderful time!
I always said I wouldn’t be one of those moms that lost herself completely in the role of motherhood. I learned during my first marriage that I cannot be swallowed up in one identifier. I can’t be just Mother. I am so much more than that.
But, as most mothers know, having a newborn doesn’t leave room for much else. And added to that, having a newborn with all of the medical problems the K man has…well…forget about being anything but a mom, at least for awhile!
But last Saturday night offered me that glimpse into the parts of Holly I had forgotten about. I forgot how much I needed to be a person, too.
So I set out to find a bit more balance this week. Kiran is officially not a newborn, since he is in his third month of life. And things have settled into enough of a rhythm around here, I decided it was time. If I hadn’t gotten around to getting dressed or brushing my teeth before he woke up, I left him awake in his crib and did just that while talking to him. I found the time to shower (almost) daily – sometimes very quickly because his nap ended up being nonexistent – other times, able to slowly enjoy while the husband hung out with him. I asked my parents to babysit so Arif and I could have dinner out, something we hadn’t done in a few weeks due to life.
And – the big one – I started the process of finding a non-family babysitter for Kiran. I decided my comfort level for this task was finding a nursing student. It just so happens one of the students that came along on a home health nurse visit once is interested. We have our first meeting/interview/try-out Wednesday this week. I am nervous but also excited. I know it will give me the opportunity to tend to the other parts of Holly I have been missing.
We always wanted to just cart our kid around. By now, we thought we’d be toting him to restaurants and activities, friends’ houses and overnight trips. Due to his medical fragility (remember the cold in January that landed us in the hospital for a week?), it just isn’t smart to take him out and expose him to germs when it’s unnecessary. This means we are largely stuck in the house. And it does get stifling. I didn’t realize how much it was wearing on me until I had a taste of what I’ve been missing.
We also always said we wouldn’t be the parents to only use family for babysitting services. Nothing at all against those who do – but we want the freedom to attend events and go out to dinners even if my parents aren’t available – and we want to go out with them every once in awhile! Not to mention, we want Kiran to be exposed to other caregivers. It’s a little bit more work, since I wouldn’t just hire anyone to care for him, but I think it’s worth it.
I love being Kiran’s mom. It truly is a dream come to fruition. There is nothing else I would rather be doing with my days and nights. But I am realizing, for me, it is not healthy to lose myself inside that one identity. I am so much more than just his mom, and he will benefit from me nurturing those other parts of me: wife, daughter, friend, reader of books, singer of songs, writer of thoughts.
Of course, finding balance isn’t always exciting. This morning, balance meant getting out of bed after the 5 am bottle to handle the dishes and do laundry in peace. And – let’s be honest – to indulge in the cold remains of last night’s bad choices (pepperoni pizza – can it really be bad when it tastes so good?)
Tired as I may be, after taking this time for myself, I will be a much better mom when he wakes up.