They Jekyll & Hyde Effect of Motherhood

There’s a lot of hormonal changes going on in a woman after she gives birth. I don’t know when they officially stabilize, (I feel as if it’s somewhere around the OB-anointed 6 week mark) but I do know that there are still many a contradicting thought tumbling around my head, even now, almost four months in. And these thoughts make me feel sorta…not stabilized.

Let me explain.

Motherhood is super great. No, seriously, I really like it. There are wonderful parts of myself that I didn’t know existed before Ben. I can do twelve things at once, like breast pump, feed Ben, and turn on Little Baby Bum on YouTube (a non-stop children’s music train headed straight to your insanity). I can squat like I’ve never been able to squat before, while holding a baby, and making a phone call. I swear my knees will break, my spine will crack, my hair will be torn from its roots…but it hasn’t happened!

I find myself gaining more and more patience every day, and there are times, I swear, I think I could have a few more…

And while this beautiful transformation is occurring, there is also another part of me that is reacting in a not so…motherly kind of way.

Such thoughts as:

I need to buy a mini skirt and go clubbing, right now. My thighs are thick and round, and damn they look good in this over sized, paisley nightgown.

I could really go for several rounds of Zinfandel.

A five day music festival sounds AMAZING. I’ve learned to pee in between the nanoseconds of Ben’s cries, so I could totally do it in a pack of sweaty people, outside.

Would it be really that bad to drive to Austin for some barbeque? It’s only, like, what? A three day trip from PA?

The contrast is incredible; the love of motherhood and a yearning for the freedom I once had, that I didn’t realize I had.

And I think that’s maybe the problem. There is a part of me that really questions if I did enough in my before-baby-time, as if I’ve unleashed this party-demon inside myself that had no problem staying in on a Friday night when I was 24, but now has an itch to go bar hopping while 30, married, and infant-bound. Where was she when I was in college?

There was no way to prepare for the changes that a baby brings, and there’s no way to get everything you wanted to do out of the way before they come. I was myself when I was younger. I played Scrabble with girlfriends, I worked at a movie theater, I drank a little at parties. I didn’t want to get a tattoo, try mushrooms and couch surf to Japan…or something less specific.

How could I blame my younger self for being…myself? And now that I’m a mom and look back at my 24-year-old self and realize I could’ve done something more wild and didn’t, I feel not disappointed in me, but curious about who I am now.

How could I want 11 more children, but also go to Coachella?