Space To Grow

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There are all kinds of moms. There are moms who always knew they wanted children, moms who fell into it “accidentally,” moms who open their homes for orphans, or moms who—for one reason or another—cannot mother their offspring. And then there are moms like me, who said, “OK, let’s see what this is all about,” with a great sense of trepidation and excitement.

There was no doubt I would be a working mom. We couldn’t afford for me to not work, and I really enjoy my full-time (paying) job as a hairstylist. Also, three years before I got pregnant, I started working on my first novel. Writing brought me satisfaction and inspiration, and I was scared about losing that outlet in motherhood.

In the beginning, everyone tells you that it gets easier as they get older, and it’s true. The first couple of months I was delirious from lack of sleep, and I suffered from post-partum depression. Fortunately, I have no issues with psychological drugs, and I got on something quickly, which helped, along with family support.

My son is now two. It has been an experimental dance of finding how to meet his needs—and my own—while trying to maintain a relationship with my husband. As a creative-type, I get a wee bit insane if I don’t have some solitary, quiet mental space in which to imagine. It’s difficult to find that time with a young kid, and I honestly don’t know how moms of plural children do it.

With the support of my husband, I decided (insanely?) to self-publish my novel, Recovering Ramona. Of course, this required even more work than simply finishing the book, but we both agreed that it needed to go out into the world. I had been through pitches with agents to publishing houses—and got close to having a deal—but this was right around the time that the publishing industry went through a huge economic crisis.

After researching our options, we found a printer and a designer, and I solicited people for blurbs. I continued to work on my blog (hairinmycoffee.com), acquiring an audience who nudged me forward throughout the process. Now, hearing back from people who have read and enjoyed Recovering Ramona, I know that all the work and sacrifice was worthwhile.

We still have boxes of books in our dining room; our son climbs on top of them and rides his toy four-wheeler past. I have to make a conscious effort to spend quality time with him, to take him to the zoo or out to the country, and let myself be a kid again with him.  It’s easy for me to let my mind wander, and wonder about what’s next, but he has taught me how to be in the present. He reminds me to enjoy the little things, and that the world I take for granted is brand new to him. I’m trying to see it through his eyes, and remember what that felt like to discover something fresh everyday.

Like many women, I used to believe that my relationships defined me. It took me a long time to find a strong sense of myself, and heartbreak is a great motivator. Now in my second marriage, I believe that it takes two whole people to make marriage and relationships work. My favorite poet and philosopher Rilke said, “Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” This doesn’t mean that we desert each other, but we go out and experience life, come back together, and are all the richer for the sharing of those experiences.

I want my son to feel freedom to find himself, even if it means stepping outside of what our cultural norms say a man should be. He has taught me so much already. I can only hope, that in observing his mama work hard at her passion—and learn to play hard with her son—he’ll feel safe to explore other things, and then come back and tell me all about it.

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