|Newborn Jack, April 2009|
|Newborn Cora, February 2012|
A new mama e-mailed me today. She's a wonderful musician, and like me, she's also married to a touring musician. She said that of course she was thrilled with her new baby, but she finds she is lonely and that this new life is quite an identity change.
It's funny. In my mind, I've rewritten my motherhood. I remember mostly the great parts. When I remember having my first newborn, I think about sitting in the glider, nursing and singing lullabies. I think about snuggling with the baby. I think about dressing him up and taking pictures. I think about flying to Telluride and enjoying the music and mountains, while Jack was snuggled up against me in the sling.
But my friend's e-mail brought back old feelings. I remember feeling lonely, because my husband was on tour for six weeks when Jack was six weeks old. I remember going on long walks, feeling a little awkward in my bloated post-partum body. I remember the feeling that I couldn't "do anything," because I was new at being a mom--I didn't realize that newborns are actually the most flexible species, and you can go everywhere with them!
I especially remember feeling like my "life was over." Not in a bad way, but a different way. Musicians get used to a very social lifestyle. You play music onstage with your band; you hang out with promoters and fans after the show; then you have the camaraderie of your band while you travel. At home, you go to picking parties and hang out with music friends at shows.
Becoming a new mom is a drastic change. I was alone in the house, responsible for a small being who couldn't even smile at me. He kept me up throughout the night; he stayed up late and woke up early. The funny part, as I look back...I wish I'd known then what I know now. Newborns are EASY compared to 2 year olds.
Luckily I used that realization to my advantage when I had Cora. I took her everywhere. I played guitar constantly, letting her enjoy her toys and practice trying to roll over and crawl. I considered her "easy." And she was.
People say, "Little babies, little problems." So now, I have friends saying, "You won't believe the headaches that teenagers put you through. Enjoy this phase now, while you can." Wait--really? I thought this was the hard part. A baby and a 3 year old. You mean it gets harder?
I guess I'll need to take my own advice here. I tell people to consider newborns "easy," because it just gets harder when the baby becomes a toddler. (They don't believe me). Now, I need to convince myself that a baby and a 3 year old is "easy." Wish me luck.