On Identity

Why hello there darlings! It’s been a little bit (if you don’t know why I’ve been MIA go here)….but I’m still here…a little more sleep deprived, absent-minded and I’m pretty sure I have baby spitup in my hair from last night (don’t judge…it’s hard to get a damn shower when your 11 week old is on a nap strike).

It’s been quite the wild 11 weeks, as you know. I’m in a MUCH better place than even my last post and really am loving being Riley’s mom and watching her grow. Seriously…she laughs at me all the time now and it’s delightful because SOMEONE FINALLY THINKS I’M FUNNY. I pretty much alternate all day between OMG MY BABY IS THE CUTEST AND BEST AND OH I JUST LOVE HER and WHERE DID THIS SPAWN OF SATAN COME FROM? Which I think is pretty much normal life with a newborn. I’m glad I reached out to my OB and friends and family and got help to treat the PPD. I feel MYSELF again.

Almost…

I’ve worn a lot of hats in life — a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, a student, an employee, a reader,Β  a blogger etc. etc. But now I’ve put on this bewildering hat that is Mom. I’ve had a hard time with my identity these days because it’s just so all encompassing. It’s this awkward dance trying to embrace momhood but desperately want to cling to who I was BEFORE. I love momhood but there’s so much I miss — free time, really good sleep, spit-up free clothing, a long shower, going out with my friends whenever, leisurely hours of reading on the couch being lazy and having a creative outlet in blogging.

It’s a hard thing to reconcile. I’m a reader but I rarely read (I’ve literally finished one book, The Girl From Everywhere, which was excellent). I’m a blogger but I’ve posted one post since having Riley. I’m a friend but I’ve only seen my friends a handful of times. I used to have a lot of things to talk about but pretty much all I have going on in my life is baby sleep, baby feeding, baby pooping, baby playing etc etc. Which at times is wonderful…but other times it is so hard to feel like a completely different person and fully embrace this identity.

I know it’s still early and I’m probably being too hard on myself. I’ve been making it a point to do some things that remind me of who I am or was…I finished reading The Girl From Everywhere, I met friends for brunch and I’m sitting down writing this post while Riley naps (even though I know I should be eating or sleeping or attempting a shower).

There are so many transitions I’ve endured identity-wise: student to graduate, girlfriend to wife, just to name two of the biggest that comes to mind but I don’t remember either of them making me feel so off kilter.

Anyways, that’s where I’m at — trying to figure out this new identity of mine. ALWAYS here for tips and encouragement or whatever. My goal going forward is to carve out time for at least ONE new post on the blog per week. BABY STEPS.

And now for some baby spam:

 

 

 

Hope you all are well! I miss you guys so much!!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’m glad you are feeling better and your little girl is beautiful! I’m not a parent but I think you are being a little hard on yourself. It took me a lot longer than 11 weeks to master being a blogger or a student. Go at your own pace and it sounds like you are taking good steps to rebalance your world. Best of luck finding your way of being a mom.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Julie <3 You are right...new things take time! I need to be more gentle with myself!

  2. I used to put Molly in a laundry basket and put it outside the shower. Do what you gotta to make yourself feel at least a little normal!

    • Lately I’ve been pulling her bouncy into the bathroom so I can shower which normally works except when she is super overtired from her little nap strike shes been doing. BLAH. Babies are cray.

      • I used to do this with my boys or would just brake down and put them in the shower with me. At least I’d get sort of clean and they loved the water.

  3. I can tell you that you’re being too hard on yourself, but I also know that doesn’t change how you feel. I’m continually reminding myself that as a newish library director – this is a marathon and not a sprint. I don’t have to have all the answers right now and all my answers may not always be the right ones. You’re doing an amazing job and your little peanut is lucky to have you! Take one day at a time and if you miss your blog post during the week, don’t worry too much and try again the following week!

  4. She’s LOVELY!! And you are absolutely amazing!! You’ll figure it out. Let it take time, and just keep doing the best you can.
    😊😍

  5. What a cutie! She’s so sweet. But I know the frustration of NO NAPS and feeling overwhelmed by all baby, all the time. I promise it gets better. It can take some time, but it does! (I mean, until they turn three. Then all bets are off.)

    One of the best things I did for myself as a new mom was buy an e-reader with a clip-on book light and a cover that could stand like an easel, so I could set it on the arm of a chair. I read a LOT of books while nursing or holding a baby who refused to sleep anywhere but my arms. I checked out one at a time from the library, so there was no pile taunting me.

    Don’t feel bad if you’re not “treasuring every minute.” Of course you adore your baby. But sometimes you just want some sleep, a shower, and to read a book. It’s okay!

  6. I definitely think what you’re feeling is normal! Caleb is 2.5 years old now and I STILL feel like this a lot. I miss a lot of things about my pre-baby life: napping when I want, going where I want when I want, getting to be more selfish, spending my money on me, reading and exercising much more, etc. Having a child changes everything about life as you/we knew it. It really does and it’s all encompassing. We signed up for this, I understand, but I don’t think anyone realizes how hard it is until after the fact, ya know? There is no way to really prepare for how it feels to have a child. My life is much more stressful and difficult than it used to be but I love him so much it hurts. That’s the contradiction. I try really hard to retain my own identity though. Some mothers… that’s all they want and all they are and they are rockstars at it. I envy them because it seems natural to them and it’s never been natural for me. I work FT out of the house and have my own career. I have a lot of hobbies and interests and I still try to see my friends. Some moms would look down on me for all of those things but I need it for my sanity. I would do anything in the world for my child without question, but I am not JUST a mom. It’s the most important role I have, but I am also a librarian, wife, reader, blogger, writer, aunt, daughter, friend, and more. Just remember that there is no shame in taking time for you. I leave Caleb with family at least a couple of evenings a month so I can go out and do things, just me or just me and my friends or husband. You can do the same, and don’t feel bad about it! You are still Jamie… you’re just a mom now in addition to that!

  7. Chelsea Smith says:

    She is seriously the cutest! I have been thinking of you and I am so happy to hear you are doing better. I hope the little one will start napping again soon!

  8. Jamie, she is adorable! It is HARD to transition to parenthood. But one day you’ll wake up and embrace your “new normal.” And before you know it, they are leaving for college, then you’ll be back where you started (sort of) except you’ll be wondering what to do with all your time! (My son just left for college, so yeah)

  9. Kimberly Jensen says:

    Have you read The Wonder Weeks? (It’s not a parenting book. I’d never recommend one to another parent!) But the basic summary is that babies go through mental growth spurts all roughly at the same ages. 5 weeks, 8 weeks, 11 1/2 weeks… When they hit those spurts sometimes they’re more fussy, or their sleeping habits change. It’s kind of an instructional manual of why babies do some of the things they do. It’s really interesting!

    Also, you’re so fabulous! Way to go at surviving this mom thing, it’s a crazy life! Good thing they’re cute. Even if they have the nerve to look exactly like their dad…

    • YES I’m obsessed with the Wonder Weeks book and app! Riley, I’m pretty sure, hit that 11 week leap a week early last week bc she was even worse. I think the WW is hte best thing I ever did for my parenting game. It’s so helpful to KNOW what’s going on with her plus I love learning about what’s going on developmental with her. Amazing I can always see exactly the things they say she will do after the leap.

  10. I’ll keep reading no matter how frequently you post. I know how hard it is to think with a tiny baby!

    I’m so glad you are feeling more like your new self. I will tell you that for me, it took a couple years to get back to reading regularly.

  11. Totally missed that you had a baby. That pregnancy seemed to go by SO FAST! What a gorgeous lil darling. <3

  12. Totally feel you on this. I have spent a lot of time thinking about who the hell I am since having my daughter (she is turning 6 in February HOW THE FUCK?!). It took me over 4 years to get to a place where I felt like I existed again. What a trip it all is and probably will continue to be. As you don’t sound like you have time for much reading, this probably isn’t a thing for you now (but maybe in a few years it could help with the continuing journey), but lately I’ve basically been mainlining memoirs written by women who are also parents like what. Especially if they are women, parents, feminists, and artists. It has been very helpful for me in figuring out the whole identity change thing. Esp as I reeeeally don’t relate to the title Mom. I mean, I am a mom, but it doesn’t feature hugely in my identity, and I have had a very hard time finding folks whose perspectives I can relate to because of that. I embrace my daughter, but not this weird ass role people seem to think having kids should push you into.

    Well there are some ramblings for you. Best of luck figuring out the way that makes it all work and feel good for you!! *solidarity fist*

  13. She’s so cute! Love all the smiles. I’m not a parent, but just from watching my sister become a mother, I sort of understand how you feel. It’s just so much to take in and learn and get used to in a very short period of time, and I don’t know how you prepare yourself for something like that. My niece is about 18 months old now, and my sister seems to have gotten a good handle on things and feel like she has a life again. She has actually been reading a ton of books, too! Which gives me hope, if I ever become a mom someday!

  14. Oh, this whole post resonates with me — I felt the same way after I had Unabridged Toddler. I had, I realized later, some post-partum depression, too, which didn’t help the overall exhaustion and brain/body mush I was experiencing. I appreciate your sharing with us how you’re feeling (and photos of that baby! ohemgee, what a doll!) and I hope you’ll keep sharing, whether you finish a book or not.

  15. Phh I missed your posts so much πŸ˜€ And Riley is so cute. I seriously drool over her pics πŸ˜€

  16. Jamie, I’ve loved following your blog for the last while and I love seeing pictures of your adorable baby girl. Riley looks happy and healthy – which means you’re rocking it as a mom! Thank you for being so honest on your blog, I think it’s probably helpful for you to have this place to write/process but it’s also really helpful to so many of us other women. I’m not a mom yet – but hearing from moms like you about the great stuff AND the hard stuff is really helpful for me as my husband and I think about our future and start preparing for what might come our way one day. So, thank you, for being honest and vulnerable. <3

  17. I remember that feeling so well! It feels so overwhelming, that all of a sudden your whole life is focused on this little tiny baby who you love so much. And it does feel like you’ll never get to do anything by yourself ever again. The main thing I can recommend is be easy on yourself and know that it does get easier. Take friends offers to watch or hold her for even half an hour so you can take a shower. Never feel bad about accepting help and if you have the opportunity to get out of the house, even for a couple hours, take it, because it will make you feel so much more connected and less alone. Even if it takes an hour to get ready to leave! Get outside, get some fresh air and relax if you can. And join a local moms group! It’s great for having people to vent to who are going through the same thing you are! Before you know it, you’ll be back in a routine that will help you feel more normal.

  18. I’m not a mom, but I have taken child psychology courses and babysat A LOT, and the one piece of information that totally blew my mind was: Just remember when they scream and cry, they are not doing it to piss you off. I know that it can seem really personal at times when they cry, like they are telling you that you are an awful mom, but they aren’t, it is just that it is the only way they know how to communicate and they are probably as frustrated as you at not being able to tell you what is wrong or what they want. I am glad you got help for the PPD and that you are feeling a bit better. Have fun with Riley and give her a hug for me. πŸ™‚

  19. first off, SO glad you’re in a better place. that is just so lovely to hear. secondly, the girl from everywhere is on my list so also glad to hear you liked it. i don’t have kids (yet) but i can imagine the transition to this new identity is hard on everyone so perhaps you are being too hard on yourself, but also perhaps we need that to make sure we don’t lose who we used to be? i hope you’re able to find a balance, i’m sure things will calm down as she grows! the reading thing is definitely something i think i will struggle with, that’s who i’ve been for like 25 years. i’m not ready to let it go!

  20. OMG! Those pictures made my heart explode.

  21. How adorable!!

    I’m not a mom but I think what you’re describing sounds really natural and it would probably be normal for those feelings of ambivilance about your identity, to continue. And I think that’s OK. And that you’re brave for talking about it. The idea that motherhood is one thing -endless joy and love- is putting so much stress on women and it completely dehumanises them. Thru are forced to be happy mom or they’re automatically BAD MOMS. We need to kill that whole concept and remember that moms are complex women with lots of thoughts and feelings!

  22. I’m so glad you’re feeling better! Your blog was one of the very first I started following and also one that pushed me to blog myself. I love your posts about books and your posts about yourself. I am inspired by your honesty. I can’t wait to see your posts from here on! πŸ™‚

  23. She is PRECIOUS! And even though I haven’t experienced it yet, I doubt there’s a bigger change in life than becoming a parent. We all understand that you’ve got a tiny helpless human on your hands that needs your time and care and we’ll be happy to see you when you get back into the swing of things, no matter what that looks like!

  24. Happy to hear that things are better for you! Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous!

  25. I’m glad you’re feeling better. I wish I could give you some advice, but I’ve never gone through what you’re going through. I hope you get some advice from others and that you find something that works for you and your family. Good luck!

  26. Oh my gosh – the hand on chin; adorable!!

    I became a mummy almost four years ago now, and the thing that has helped me to maintain myself beyond being mummy is making time for myself, even something super simple like time to sit and have a cup of tea while little one is napping, just make that time for yourself.

    Happy to hear you are feeling better Jamie!

  27. Natasha Lewis says:

    I feel this post SO MUCH! I struggled a lot with my identity as a mom after I had my son and, like others, can safely say that I didn’t quite feel I had found an equilibrium til my son was 2. Maybe even 3 (he’s 3.5 now). The most important thing is you got help and are taking it one day at a time! Don’t

  28. Riley is such a cutie!! My son was not a napping baby. He napped as long as I was close by, but the moment I would tip toe out of the room he’d wake up again. And I think the majority of us struggle more with making the adjustment to becoming a mom. Raising a child is such a huge responsibility and it’s so time consuming. It’s really hard to prepare for something like that.

    Then there’s the whole PDD and emotional/hormonal roller coasters on top of everything else. My kids are almost preteens and there are still days when I feel like I’m still struggling to figure out who I am now. Having kids has changed me so much, but I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything. It’s been totally for worth everything for me.

  29. I recognize so much from this post. It is such a struggle to find the balance at the start. Creating you time is so important. I do not do housework during Merijn’s naps. That is me time. I read and blog during that time of the day. Or whatever else really. As long as it is for me. Scheduling also really helped because if I had a week where things didn’t go so great I’d still have something go up.

    It gets better. It gets worse. It will be an up and down thing. And that is okay. Hugs.

  30. You sound so much like I did about a year ago (and like so many other moms)! I know everyone says this, but it’s true: IT GETS BETTER. I suffered from PPD/A and it was so, so hard. My daughter is now 16 months old and even though we were up all night last night with a vomiting toddler who managed to vomit on every sheet, every sleeper, every sleep sack, and many other things and places around the house, even though I’m sick with a cold and am running on 4 hours of sleep, it’s not nearly as hard as it was those first few months. It gets better and better all the time, even when things don’t go as planned and you have to deal with crappy situations.

    Just remember to keep talking about it. Remember that every phase is a phase and will eventually be over and things will go back to normal – whatever comes up, just ride it out! Try to do one thing for yourself each day. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone. You will have my email once I post this comment – feel free to reach out to me if you need to talk. I’ve been there!

    Turning points for me so far where I just noticed that it got better than it was before: 2 months, 6 months, and 10 months. I’m thinking 18 months will be another big one!

    You will start to feel more and more like yourself again. You’ll never be the same as what you were, but a different, more complete, you. You will find a new groove and a new reason to be alive. Hang in there! You got this!!

  31. You are doing a wonderful job, Jamie!! You got help with your PPD. You are reaching out and making an effort to maintain those relationships that were important to you before she was born. You recognize that you are still the same person and yet so much more. Too often, mothers lose themselves to this idea of a mother. They forget their friends, their hobbies and interests, and focus solely on their children. Then these same women are completely lost when the kids are grown. You can be you AND a mother. In fact, I personally think it is healthier to do so. So, you are making huge leaps recognizing and striving to evolve your identity without the mother subsuming the old you. Take pride in that!

    Also, ditto on the bouncy seat as babysitter for showers and chores. Giving Riley a chance to amuse herself is one of the best things you can do for you both. She needs to the chance to learn that skill, and it gives you a much-needed break.

    Keep on hanging in there, Mama! She is a beauty!

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