Three years ago Michele Henry took you through her most challenging assignment to date: pregnancy. Tag along again as this new mom of two navigates a second maternity leave, juggling endless diaper changes and sleepless night with her efforts to lose the baby weight — again — and hang onto her sanity.
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"I want to be an artist!" I shrieked to a chuckling friend over the phone earlier this week.
For a little while now I've been battling a manic-type state that takes particular hold of my psyche in the afternoons, after Hudson's second nap and before his bedtime.
It involves concocting ever-bizarre career plans for myself (think pro paraglider and X Factor Host - ousting Cowell, of course) while I move Huds from the Jumperoo to the exersaucer or cook his tasty dinners.
In other words, I am bored - a familiar state of being for me over the last few months, interrupted briefly by the holiday's distractions and the New Year's eve cheese fondue I'm still fantasizing about.
(Happy New Year moms!)
"I want to paint. And design. And create things," I sighed, while flipping through magazines filled with pages upon pages of people doing interesting things with their lives.
"I want to dooooo things! What should I do with my life?!"
Motherhood is making me itchy.
As I write this, Hudson is flailing and squirming in his crib, like a jack russell terrier furiously digging its snout into the couch in some purposeless nesting act before it sleeps. When slumber finally overtakes him I'll have up to an hour for a break - just enough "me" time to get through a few chapters of my book or read news on line or shower and relax or think about dinner and tidy up a bit or have an adult conversation with a friend.
By the time I decide how I would like to spend my precious few, free moments, they'll be up.
How is it that while on maternity leave, we seem to have all the time in the world, but no time at all?
A typical day: nurse, feed, wrestle down for a nap, play. Repeat X3. Throw in a couple of these: pack cheerios, tiny pieces of apple, a yogurt, Kraft Singles and "tasty beefs" from last night's dinner into a lunch bag, stuff the Boy into his snowsuit and amble to the car with bags hanging off every available finger, and the day is practically done.
It's quite tiring doing zip all day and it's not as fulfilling as I imagined it might be...
Don't get me wrong, I feel very lucky to have this year off to bond with Hudson and revel in his small, but man on the moon advances.
I derive so much joy from how he thrills to watch the bathtub fill with water and how he paws at the sturdy pages of the Very Hungry Caterpillar and how his tiny tushy wiggles mischievously toward the power cords and heating grates in our home and how he tries to stuff the bulbous end of his blue shaker into his mouth until he gags - repeatedly.
But I am also quickly learning about how life without a paying, get-out-of-the-house, gainful, brain-utilizing job, for me, means I can't possibly be a good mother to my child. If I'm not an interesting person, with other-than-mothering topics to discuss nightly, how can I expect my son to want to become one?
It can't be good for Hudson to think his mom lives to watch the Food Network! It can't be good for my sanity to watch it so much!
So there are daydreams. In between changing diapers and stacking blocks for Huds to tear down, my mind has been wandering and every day it lands on a different career.
Ice fisherman was yesterday's desire. But I hate the cold.
Sand castle builder?
Guess I better start fantasizing about being a reporter. I return to work around April!