Parenting That Gives & Takes
The greatest challenge as a parent also happens to be the most beneficial part of it, at least for me. What gives and takes equally? Time.
I had 29-something years of time, mostly to myself. During those years, I shared my time between family, friends, romantic relationships, and even strangers. The amount of time I'll end up spending with my child throughout my life will be incomparable. Nothing could prepare me for what that was going to be like except selfless love.
Me, Myself, & I
Some time during pregnancy, you begin to lose your singular sense of identity, especially to everyone else. Growing another human becomes the central focus of your life. It's marked by people calling you some variation of "mom" or "mama" long before your baby does. If you have a name, let it go. You are now Mama. This is good prep for how much of your life will become all about your baby.
During the first few weeks of giving birth, I honestly didn't feel like there was a me anymore. The human that came from me became everything I thought, breathed, dreamed, and lived. In a sense, I did become all Mama.
While this immersion was great for the first few weeks, the relationship between myself and my partner suffered from a lack of balance. We now had to learn how to split our timebank with our baby, who demanded far more attention and care than we were used to giving to each other and ourselves.
Though it's been nearly 16 months, it is still sometimes a struggle to find the balance of time between all three of us. It became easier on some levels, but others are still tough to push through. In our situation, we don't have any nearby family, but we have friends, albeit working ones. Our child has gotten used to mom and dad so much that leaving him with a friend would never work, not for another few months.
Me, You, & You, Too
Finding regular "me time" is still a work in progress. Nap and sleeping hours aren't enough some days. Those are the moments I use to take care of my hygiene, clean up, bills, make food, and work. It takes some balancing almost every day to find time to do more holistic practices such as meditation, exercise, and other deeply personal self-loving developmental practices.
I don't know what the future will bring as far as time and how it balances out with having a child, but I know it's something I will always be working on because it is worthwhile. The time I spend with my son is epic. I already miss the days of babywearing. I'm always learning when I'm with him, even if the lesson is in patience. I can both enjoy spending time with my son and miss spending time by myself. It doesn't make anyone a bad parent for desiring or missing some of that time they spent decades giving to themselves.
It's early in the parenting game to ponder empty nest syndrome, but it's crossed my mind. The whiplash of going from decades of me to decades of focusing on my child and then back again is an intense time prompting deep reflection about the value of time.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.