Paradoxes of Motherhood
Soon after becoming a mother, I found that I was living out 3 paradoxes that would have made no
sense before entering into this phase of my life. Perhaps they resonate with others so I will share
them here as I did in my book.
I was extremely busy but never got anything done—Outside of my motherhood career, I am a goal-oriented list-maker and always have been. Now, suddenly, there was no point making a list because it would have seemed pretty pathetic. Feed child, clean up, dress child, provide stimulating activity, prepare food, clean up, repeat. These little creatures could keep me occupied all day, but at the end of it, I did not feel like I had accomplished anything. When Dave returned home after work, he would inquire what I had done that day. I don’t think his intent was malicious. He was likely just curious. I had no response beyond that I had kept the kids alive, and this may have been relayed with a hint of annoyance and a dash of sarcasm. He eventually learned not to ask this question.
At times, I felt isolated and lonely, although I never had a moment to myself. To the extent possible, the kids and I would set off on field trips and visit mom groups, friends and family. However, much of our time was spent at home, especially when they were very young. For the most part I reveled in this opportunity, but there were times when I missed the bigger world that existed beyond our property lines. After a challenging day, Dave would generously offer to stay with the children so I could leave and get some time to myself. Again, his intentions were completely honourable, and once again clueless. The last thing I wanted was to be alone, even if it seemed like I wanted to be left alone. I realize that makes no logical sense. No wonder he was confused!
The best part was that someone needed me all the time. The most challenging part was that someone needed me all the time. The idea of being responsible for another’s life 24/7 was daunting yet more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. Logically I knew that this would happen once we eventually had children. It didn’t really hit me what it meant until it became a reality.
When we brought the twins home from the hospital as newborns, my sister and niece arrived
in Montreal that day to help for a few weeks. The day after they returned home, my parents
arrived for one week which was also a big support. Then, the day my parents were leaving,
Dave was also leaving on a business trip. This was the first time I would be alone for one week
with 5-year old Katja and one-month old twins Matt and Nick. I remember breaking down into
tears as I wasn’t sure that I could do it! Apparently I figured it out and had a wonderful … and
busy … week!