As a new mom I get asked “How’s Mommyhood?” or “How are you doing it?”
I’m gonna break it down for y’all.
1) I choose art over housework.
2) I choose my family over other people and the opportunity to hang out with Ashton Kutcher.
3) I choose my child over art.
4) I choose my child over myself.
5) And then every now and then I choose myself and my art over my child when I know he’s taken cared of and is being played with and I thus have the freedom to make that decision.
Oh yeah and my husband is somewhere in the mix. Poor guy. And my poor dogs are at the bottom. And the cats are below that. And sleep got voted off the island.
Becoming a parent is like getting a swift kick to the ass. There is no time, but you still get things done because there’s a newly appointed drill sargent known as (in big booming voice:) YOUR CHILD AND ALL HIS/HER NEEDS.
Or… maybe it’s more like a switch getting flipped on. You suddenly have a real purpose. Not oh-la-la philosophical pondering ‘purpose.’ But live-or-die, eat-or-be-eaten, survival purpose. You MUST take care of this person. It has to eat and be changed and it’s crying needs to be shushed. And it will die without you. And there are no take backs, no days off, no work stoppages or strikes.
Because you aren’t teaching this creature tricks. You must teach him about what you think is important and valuable and good even tho you often haven’t the slightest idea (except for a vague set of gut reaction parameters that answers: “Is it safe?” “Is it acceptably disgusting or beyond civility disgusting?” “Will my child be forever traumatized and require years of therapy?”
Honestly? How do I do it? It’s like a light has been turned on in the recesses of my being that I never even knew existed. And it powers and illuminates every decision I make, shining a light of perspective and providing an engine of CAN DO IT-NESS. I see everything with new eyes — literally through the eyes of a new being. His life shines light into mine, giving meaning to the phrase “you light up my life” and I catch myself being exquisitely, sometimes painfully, “I-can’t-believe-I-could-feel-this-way” happy.