Going into labor only 26 weeks into a pregnancy was surreal. I was sure that the Braxton Hicks contractions weren’t supposed to start so early, but I was busy working and guzzling coffee on the morning I went into labor with my daughter. My initial concern slipped through my fuzzy pregnant brain too quickly for me to grasp. Fast forward 6 hours and the neonatologist asking me if I had picked out a name for my little girl. Those “Braxton Hicks” were real contractions coming every 5 minutes.
Magnesium sulfate makes the brain even fuzzier and thanks to mega doses of it, I remained pregnant (albeit on strict bed rest) until my daughter had grown into a full term babe. I said, “Goodbye,” to my beloved career and chose to stay at home full time, raising my children. Man, it feels like just yesterday and it was over 7 years ago. Nah, I’m lying. It feels like TEN TIMES 7 YEARS!
I wasn’t one of the women in the world who felt incomplete before becoming a mother. I felt fantastic! I was focused on my career, physically fit and abreast of the latest news of the world. I was perfectly content to live childless. Clearly things changed and we decided to start a family. I felt it would only add do my happiness and I was right. IT DID! It’s just that now my children need something different from me and I’m experiencing what I can only describe as some sort of sticker shock with regard to the cost of transforming my dumpy, stay at home mom self.
My daughter has reached some significant milestones of independence, allowing me to spend more time out of the house for both social and professional reasons. Attempting to juggle the stress and expense of raising my kids took 100% of my focus, and now I find myself feeling like a stranger in a strange land. I am fashion backward. The years of neglecting my personal appearance, wardrobe and connections to the outside world aside from its direct connections to my children have taken their toll. I look like shit, a true blue caricature of the frazzled sitcom housewife.
My once young, tight and muscular body is now much softer, older and harder to find clothes for, and I have no perspective on what looks good on me (if anything at all). I’ve become apparalized; so intimidated by shopping that my discomfort prevents me from spending any amount of time finding out how to dress my 40 year old ass. It's not uncommon for me to end up slumped over in a clothing store dressing room in a hopeless last minute panic trying to find something other than my uniform of grease stained yoga pants and t-shirts with cartoon characters on them.
I also have lost my ability to hyper focus on work. My previously single minded attention to the task at hand is now split amongst no less than 20 ideas, worries, concerns and distractions related to caring for my family. Getting a haircut and highlight used to be a relaxing necessity, now it seems a waste of precious time and resources. I realize that just as my transition to full time, stay at home motherhood was a confusing and strangely uncomfortable experience for me, the transition back into the world of work will likely be equally as stressful and challenging.
The biggest challenge this time around for me is the constant battle in my mind as to whether anything I do outside the home that doesn’t include my family could ever matter to me as much as even the most basic things that I do for them every day. I just can’t imagine ever truly loving any job the way I’ve loved and still love the job of being a mother.
My family needs me in a different way now. They need me to use my gifts to provide resources for their growth and increasing need for tangible items. How will I do this? Will I do it right? Who the hell have I become? Where will these incredible changes take us as a family? And most importantly……
WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO WEAR?
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