‘me & baby’ or ‘me vs. baby’: balancing the needs of mother and child

Since I have been back, I have really been reflecting on a difference I notice between the way Anya and I moved together in Portugal and how we move here. Looking back, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, while in Portugal it seemed like it was always ‘me and the baby’, what suited one suited the other. We did things – like visit friends, go for a ride on the train by the sea or go to the aquarium – which pleased both of us. People were happy to see us both. There wasn’t a sense of Anya’s activities (like a music class or baby-talk session) and mine (say going for a massage or watching TV) as two separate events. We were not pulling in different directions, instead we were moving like one.

Since I have got back I have been realising how much of my life here was ‘me vs. the baby’ in the sense that I seemed to be waiting for her to go to bed to do ‘my’ things and that I was bored when doing ‘her’ things (like just exploring the house, her toys or whatever). It is sad, I know, but the reflection has ben useful. It has made me more aware that I want more days and more time in those days where it is ‘me and Anya’ going to people’s houses and doing things together which we both enjoy. At the moment, many if not most of my activities, now back in California, are geared around her. I have only been a mom for a year and I have already lost myself. How did this happen?

I remember swearing I would never be the kind of mom that built their life around their kid so much that there was nothing of their old self left – the activities and pursuits, the work and hobbies that she thrives on, that she is passionate about and at which she excels. Don’t get me wrong, I still do my stuff: I blog, I do some photography, when I have time… but look at it, both of those ‘hobbies’ are still mostly centered on my baby. And hey over the last year I had my occasional Sunday treats (pedicures, massages and the like) and I went to a few dance classes, which was lovely – but again we are back to me separate from the baby and though that is important, that is not really what I am talking about here. I am talking about a yearning to find balance, to shoal, to move together if not as one, at least as two beings in harmony, neither more important than the other, both equal in the eyes of God.

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