Ever since I became a mother, I’ve been referring to myself in the third person. “Mommy loves you,” I tell Nesta, or “You can’t bite Mommy!” even as I think, How weird. It’s like “I” don’t exist. Only “mommy” exists. And who the hell is she?
There is a certain amount of truth to the thought that “I” ceased to exist when “Mommy” came into being. Your identity collapses for your child into one thing, and that happens a little bit for yourself as well, at least for awhile. Humans spend time with the things, events, people, and activities that define them, that make up their identity, and a new mother spends more time with her child than she does anything else. Or at least, this new mother does. (Here I go again, referring to myself in the third person.) In the past 10 1/2 months since my son was born, I’ve probably spent an average of twelve to thirteen hours a day with him. This is more time than I think I’ve spent with anybody else, ever, except my own mother. Naturally, my identity at the moment reeks of motherhood, is saturated with the daily grind of it, soaked in those juices.
Who am I now? How did I get here? And will I ever be able to get my creative life back?
My blog and my writing life have suffered the most. Bill-paying work always gets done because it has to. The writing that does get done is mostly because of deadlines and public appearances, not because it brings in a lot of money. It’s been hard to work on my next book. I feel a little lost, swimming around in this sea of nursing, diapers, and lack of sleep. Though I didn’t exactly get what many people might refer to as “mommy brain,” I have discovered that I have very little patience for some things that absorbed me in the past, and my conversation is dominated by parenting talk, a trend I hope will pass as my baby grows and I have more freedom to become the “old” Jessica again. Or, not exactly the “old” Jessica, but a new (and certainly improved) Jessica.
I am making a commitment to try blogging here again regularly, that is, once a week. So I hope you’ll drop by and spend some time with me as I muddle my way through this new period where my identity as wife, mother, writer, teacher, and editor/publicist are being shuffled around and re-mixed. Not entirely sure what will come of the re-mix but I know it’ll be an interesting process. Thanks for being here for the ride!