After Lexi was born I quit my job for awhile and reveled in being a mommy. I enjoyed almost every aspect of parenting and drank in every detail of my daughter’s emerging personality.
I stayed in touch with my co-workers; each of us had our babies six weeks apart from one another.
Tirzah, my more conservative friend who never planned to go back to work and wanted to homeschool her son exclusively, was perfect for listening to my more psychotic moments.
“Tirzah – I had a dream that I was driving and the car actually slid off the road and rolled. I was dead in the front seat but Lexi was hanging upside-down, trapped in the carseat straps, crying and not understanding why I wouldn’t help her!” I confessed one day.
She soothed me, we discussed how common it was for hormones to dwell on our fears and then we moved into safer, less emotionally-charged conversations.
Another day Tirzah confessed: “I just destroyed the pictures I took of Elijah in his crib because I realized that there was a blanket in there with him. I don’t want Child Protective Services to take him away from me because I had a strangulation hazard in with him and was stupid enough to document it with photos!”
I soothed her and took the crib blanket out of Lexi’s crib immediately.
Lauren was my more logical friend, a high-achiever who believed in the “cry it out” method of parenting her son. She was my friend with whom I could dream about career ambitions and how it might work to fulfill a career and a role as mother at the same time.
“I don’t want to go back to work but I feel sometimes like I’ve lost track of who I am,” I would tell Lauren. “I wonder sometimes if there’s more to my life than being a living burp rag.”
Lauren would agree and tell me that I wasn’t crazy to wonder where my identity had headed.
“I want to cherish every moment of Ryan’s life,” Lauren said. “But sometimes I just can’t stand how much he cries. It makes me feel like I’m going insane. I would do almost anything to be able to organize my desk right now!”
I understood. I felt guilty saying it out loud, but I absolutely understood what Lauren was saying.
Only ten months into trying to flesh out my identity as a mother of one, well before I could actually utter the words, “This is my daughter, Lexi,” I discovered that I was pregnant again.
I was thrilled. I loved Lexi so much I couldn’t imagine not loving our newest little addition.
With absolute naivety, I charged whole-heartedly into being a hands-on, attachment-style parenting mother.
At the same time, my husband’s job situation went from uncomfortable to precarious to torturous. It was no longer feasible to continue working in his current capacity.
So, eight months pregnant with a one-year-old toddler, we moved our nuclear family 1,000 miles away from our support groups and Dane started a new job working for a small Christian college in a tiny town in Oklahoma.