WARNING: This has nothing to do with food. This is simply a random collection of thoughts
There’s nothing like having a baby to disrupt to time-space continuum. Today, I built purple snowmen out of Play-Doh and had to explain property law to a princess-dress wearing five-year-old who ripped a toy waffle iron out of my 21 month-old daughter’s hands. I feel frazzled, tired and I’m not ever sure what I did most of the day. I do know that the day ended with fishing bZ’s slippers from the toilet. That’s what happens when you sneak into the corner of the kitchen for five minutes to check The News when you think your child is watching Pooh Bear.
As a 21st century woman, most of my girlfriends, like myself, are just beginning to have babies. We’re in our late twenties to mid-thirties and we’ve got it going on. Many of us have degrees, some post-graduate work, powerful tribes of female friends and we’re filled with ambition. We’ve spent our twenties working towards Big Things. For many of us, we didn’t actively “work” towards motherhood – it’s a choice that happened along the way. Somehow, I was trained to not expect it, even when it was what I wanted. In my experience, it would have been socially unacceptable to “only” want to be mother. As a 21st century women, you are expected to do it all.
During pregnancy, I anticipated the life-changing adventure I had chosen. I understood my life would never be the same. People tell you that, but I’d always imagined the emotional transformation – the profound love of motherhood, the joy of seeing your child for the first time, etc. Having bZ has been all of that, but it’s also been something more. Becoming a mom has required me to completely redefine myself.
Motherhood came at a time when I felt like I was really getting in the groove of things. In my personal life, I had solid relationships and in my career, I no longer felt like a kid. I’d had my first pastry chef job, I’d worked abroad, I’d published some articles, I bought a house and I knew who I was. That’s the trick about your late twenties and early thirties, though, isn’t it? That’s the age when careers really start to define themselves. As a woman, the timing of that whole thing is really the pits because these tiny creatures comes into your life and every priority, relationship, and expectation is redefined at the moment you began to figure life out. I think Jessica Alba and Beyoncé have got it figured out, but personally, I’m still working on it.
So, where does that leave me? I’m not fully my own human. I belong, in part, to her. I’m okay with that. I’m writing this in between trying to convince her to go to sleep (…That I’m less okay with. She needs to just go to sleep for Paté’s sake…She’s obsessed with Frosty the Snowman and yells “Frosty!” anytime I stop singing the song. So, if my writing is incoherent, it’s because I’m half in a world of magic hats and the North Pole). While, some parts of me have become more silent over the past 21 months, other parts have been awakened with a sense of purpose. I’ve never felt more like more of an activist than I do right now.
I’ve gone radio silent over the course of the election. I’ve been conserving all my political energy and fueling the reserves. I’ll tell you something – it’s been an interesting time to have a baby. When you have a baby, you look at the future differently. The sad feels sadder, remote violence becomes almost palpable and inequality becomes personal. Everything feels personal. On the flip side, joy is heightened and if you slow down, some days feel like that childhood Christmas that you never want to end.
I feel like somewhere, in some attainable future, women can have it all. One day, we’re all going to nail it like Diane Keaton, Baby Boom style. I have a daughter. She will have it all. I am here to blaze her trail.