Dear Man at the Deli,

Your question the other day wondering if taking care of baby is all I do – has really messed with me again. Yes, right now that is all I do – but, but…. but!!!

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I used to think when I was expecting that I wasn’t going to let this new child take over my world and ‘be’ my life.  I was determined not to change but still be me and have time for what I did

IMG_1808 - Version 2before baby.  I didn’t want to be one if those moms that always and only talks about her kids.  Simply, I wanted to keep my identity as Jolynn and not surrender to mom, mommy or momma.  No matter how I fought it or pretended that he didn’t change me, he has; my identity has changed.  And, I struggled with this new way of living those first months.

Sometimes I wish I was still ‘out there’ in the business world.  I miss it and it pulls.  Because, I do have time for more.  I have countless times struggled with doing more.  Producing more.  Creating more.  All to no avail.  I do more laundry.  I produce more clean corners.  I create more foods.  Give me something else!  A challenge!  A paycheck at least!

I battle if I am I doing enough?  Should I be juggling more?  Part time job?  Work from home?  Start my own business?  I don’t know.  Honestly, some days stretch mundane, weeks span out wide and open before me and I dream of what else I could pursue.

If my reality was commuting to work throughout my week, it would be the arms of another who reached for my babe when he woke or cried or put stones in his mouth. Someone else.  Not me.  Someone for me to most likely compete with and share my motherhood with.

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Diaper duty, teething tantrums, and plastered potatoes do get wearisome. Those moments with another ‘mother’ to stand in the trenches would be relaxing some days, I will not lie, while I engaged in adult-y things and work.  Someone to entertain him when he climbs my legs, rescue him when he splashes in the toilette or undertake the long process of spooning cereal in his mouth.

This baby stage has clung to my shoulders and filled my arms.  My eyes have taken in growing changes.  When I settled with saying home, I recognized that I got to see Gavin when he first made eye contact with me, then smiled, eventually rolled over, first sat up, crawled and someday walk and talk.  So, there’s no guilt to hold for not being absent.

I can say – I was there when…
My child can say – mommy was at home with me when I was little.

Please, sir, don’t think am writing this to make those feel bad who work away with small ones in care of another, I have friends that do that and you quite possibly have friends and family that do as well.  I’m ok with those that do work away.  What I am trying to say is I’m ok with me, too.  With me as I stay at home.  Because I used to not be ok with me.

~

Today my dear little one wanted to be outside so I took my folding towels business outside to watch my fast, stone sucking, crawler.  Soon, job neglected, I grabbed my camera and was busy trying to freeze this moment in my toddlers life.  These days will soon be no more and he will be running.

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Sir, when you gave that snarky laugh, I submerged to that low place where I was not ok with me.  I don’t need you to be ok with me (though that would be nice) but I need to be ok me.  This may sound like I am trying to convince myself that I’m ok.  I probably am.  Your question raised all doubt again of what I ‘do’ and I spent the rest of the afternoon struggling that what I do is enough.  Then I realized that for me and what I really want with my life as a parent  is this:

I really want:
– to be present as my children as they are growing up
– to be their schedule, routine and security
– to enjoy and revel in them
– to study them, know them and ‘grow’ them in character and God chasers

Just being at home, I hope to get what I really want.  (Though, working away might sound easier to me….)

Therefore, I may talk about my child, his sleeping habits, eating habits and playing habits.  I might bore you with details at times.  I have become a mother.  It happened.  Yup.  It is my ‘work’.  Job title.  My 9-5  + overtime, grave shift and weekends.

Yes, I stay at home.  Yes, I take care of Gavin.  I take care of him, enjoy him, feed, bathe, snuggle, watch and rock him.  As much as it was difficult to get used to this job title, I am his momma.

So, in answer to your question, yes, all I do is take care of my son.

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Sincerely & warmly,

Momma Jolynn

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17 thoughts on “Dear Man at the Deli,

  1. You are struggling well, Jolynn! I know the haunting feelings/questions. God gave you a wonderful gift knowing you are the best guardian for Gavin. Relish the moments. They’re gone so quickly even though it doesn’t seem like it now.

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  2. Love this post. I always feel guilty when I get overwhelmed at home with the daily grind and immense responsibility to be a SAHM. At one time I was not able to do that. I longed and wished to but was not able to financially. Eventually, God answered my prayers and I was able to be home with my babies. I am thankful for every moment, like yours above, that I was able to watch and soak in, observe, enjoy, teach, experience.

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  3. i think every mom in the world can relate to this post – the guilt and never ending pull we feel of balancing motherhood with who we are as women. so much of our identity gets lost in our husband’s and kids and it’s not a bad thing- it’s a beautiful thing – but yes, at times we wonder, “where’s that girl gone that i used to be?” :)) God often reminds me life goes in ebbs and flows and there are seasons… i remember before reese was born feeling i was “finding” a bit of my old self again. the older three were independent enough and there was more freedom. but, entire little reesey girl and oh, my. she’s just one of those kids that takes so much time and energy and i’m often amazed that one so small can be so much work!! haha!! but i know it won’t be like this forever.. there is an end. and a season where i’ll have more time to pursue more of what i want. but as you said – – for now, this is what i do. this is who i am. and more than anything it’s ME that needs to be okay with that {loved that part}. so here’s to us embracing where God has us for now – – and besides, what do men that work at deli counters know anyway? i’ll take my job anyday over his!!! ;))))

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    1. Sometimes it’s hard to not be able to be me when I have a tired or hungry child. And that’s hard mentally. I feel judged for not being able to drop and run when the fun crowd does! That judgement is probably self inflicted and nobody else is probably even thinking what a loser I am for not hanging out or staying home or going where it’s quiet to lay the baby down.
      But, humm… You say you felt some of your old self coming back? So some day my party going, athletic, traveling self might reappear? Oh, joy!!

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  4. This sounds so familiar–the struggle between not wanting to lose myself as a woman, but wanting to be all there as a mom, too. You are doing so well and this post made me remember again that our worth doesn’t come from what we do. Very encouraging. I can’t wait to talk for real sometime soon. We’re going to be in Texas for a Smucker reunion this summer!! 🙂

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    1. Venting my struggle on the blog and reading others comments show me that I’m not alone. To you and others that commented feeling the same way at times, I wanna shockingly say, “You too???” Because I never would have guessed that you guys (esp you, Christy) struggle with this. Maybe I don’t know you well enough but I just thought you lived for being a mom. Am I weird??!! This may very well be a conversation in person this summer 🙂

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      1. I have actually learned to love and value being a mom since we moved to Atlanta and I had to be mom 100% 24/7. No going out with friends, no side job, no babysitters when I went to appointments. It was hard, but i had to do it and strangely I learned to love it. I think my old blog probably talked a lot more about the struggle part. For me it was a lot like marriage–it took a lot of time (several years) and struggle and thinking and talking and real life living to get my groove, you know?

        Even now marriage is still easier for me than motherhood–maybe because I get cared for in that relationship, too. 🙂 Still selfish and growing. Haha. Yes, I’d love to talk about this.

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