It’s that song by Gomez, How We Operate. The song, the band, hadn’t even crossed my mind in years, but now I hear it and I’m instantly a new mom with a baby, barely minutes out of the colic stage, who must be kept on a napping schedule and I’m stuck at a red light on Zeigler Blvd. and he’s falling asleep in his carseat and I’m doomed. He is the baby that I love, but never in all my mental preparation, could ever have imagined the amount of strategic planning involved in an act as simple as getting out of the house.
It’s vivid, the memory of those early days and my anxiety, my misery. I don’t like to say this, but those memories are also singed with anger and blame and resentment, and it’s awful–I feel awful– that I felt that way.
Lots of songs do this to me, sweep me off my feet and place me in another life. This is just one song that reminds me of my not so gentle thrust into motherhood. It was more like almost tripping, when your arms swing wildly around as you tried to regain balance, sometimes on only one foot, mouth agape, a look of terror and realization in my eyes. The change from carefree wife to mother/caretaker/all consuming nurturer was such a shock–whiplash–and I couldn’t believe that there were more moments I wished away versus those that were easy and good.
Motherhood isn’t like that anymore and I’m so thankful because I hate, hate, that there was ever a time that I allowed the bad to outweigh the good. Five years into this and there are actually lots of days when I feel like I’m actually pretty awesome at what I do. There are strings of endless, horrible days or even weeks when I yell and when I can’t handle being touched for even one more second, but it’s a completely different sort of horrible than those earliest days. Parenting now feels rewarding and I know there’s better to come, though I also know there’s more horrible to come.
I didn’t believe it when people would say, “someday you’ll miss this,” but what I really miss is that I didn’t enjoy it more.
So I did what I needed to do and downloaded How We Operate and listen to it over and over because I really like that song and don’t want it stuck in the purgatory of anxious, new mother memories.
And I decided to forgive myself.