I will be back at work in one week. My babies are 17 months. I have been practicing “attachment parenting” for that long – bed-sharing for 8 months, baby-wearing every day, breastfeeding on demand – and now I have to let go. Now I have to push myself away and untangle myself from their little toddler world. This is day 3 of Detachment Parenting.
I am sitting in a coffee shop, typing on my laptop, which is fun. I feel like I’m 21 again, when I used to scribble away in coffee shops in Montreal, except it’s not 2am and no one smokes any more.
I feel like I’m forgetting something. I look around constantly, trying to think of what’s missing. I’m slightly on edge, I feel out of place and disoriented.
It took so much energy to figure out this motherhood thing. Learning how to get through a day with two infants, now two toddlers. Finding that rhythm, figuring out how not to go crazy, searching out connections through Facebook or twin groups, stressing over the dishes and laundry that wasn’t getting done, the cooking that wasn’t happening. And then it’s over. I’m going back to work, and a whole new way of living will have to be discovered.
I’m not happy about it. But I’m not unhappy about it either. I have images of leisurely coffees, solo bathroom breaks, maybe some adult conversation… But the mother in me is aching. My body is aching. My body remembers the little things that lived inside of me, that fed from me. That needed me every second of every day.
Something about it just seems so over. I no longer mourn not having had only one baby. I am proud and thankful for the experience that I had. It was the.hardest.thing. I will ever do. It was so intense, so all consuming. But I have emerged a better person, I’m more aware of my place in this world, what is important and what is not. But, BUT…because it all happened at the same time, it’s all over with at the same time too. We only want two children, that’s what works for us. I spent 32 years thinking about having babies, and now babyhood is over. My body is mine again, my toddlers walk and run, talking is on the tip of their tongues, they are funny and kind, they get angry and sad. They are their own little people.
When Jude was nursing 3 or 4 times a night, and I would be rocking him, half asleep, so exhausted, I would tell myself to enjoy it. I would tell myself that it would be over soon. It’s a really really hard thing to believe at 3am when all you want to do is sleep. But now I’m so glad I did. I took a long mental picture of every snuggle, the way he would clasp his hands while he nursed. The way he wouldn’t let his eyes close fully. The way his feet pushed against the chair. The way he would wiggle back into his crib when he was done.
I wrote previously about how it was both horrible and beautiful. The amazing thing about motherhood is that slowly, the horrible falls away, and all you remember is the beautiful.
So I have chosen the pictures I will be putting up in my office. I savor how happy they are when I return home in the afternoon. I am holding them extra tight as we enter our final months of breastfeeding, and I am letting myself feel the sadness and joy of watching my children grow up.
I will be taking my blog in a new direction with my return to work. I am noticing the need for more conversation around food for children, and I am so excited to get back into the details of what I’m feeding my vegetarian babies! I will probably retire this blog, and begin something new, so please stay tuned!