4.03.2014

identity


Leland will be nine months next week and as I write that I stop and count the months twice, with fingers, to be sure, because it doesn't seem possible. I can't decide if it should be fewer or more than nine. Against my instincts, I yield to the math and move on.  For nine months then, my identity has been (nearly) wholly that of a mother. It gave way to farmer, daughter, sister, and partner. For the past 9 months I haven't been a runner, a friend, a baker, a woman who bathes or a blogger. I have been a mother, and it has required all of me. I've gone running once a month, and blogged even less frequently.  I forget to call my parents, my sister, and my girlfriends. I haven't been a particularly present or supportive partner to Nick. I barely see my animals but for the rare occasion of doing morning chores in Nick's stead.  Then, it is only to toss hay in their braying mouths and stomp on  frozen water buckets, curse the shit, the mud and the shit and finally shuffle back towards the house through the mountain of snow and ice that befell our land this winter.

I won't go into exhaustive detail about how much I love my son, as it is irrefutable that I do. My identity as a mother has become by far my most cherished. Yet, in the past few months, the need to attend to my other identities has grown frantic. I yearn to return to work in the pastures, woods, garden and barn. I ache to work my body to physical exhaustion and pain. I whimper at the promise to spend an unadulterated hour with another adult.

Naturally, the Doom and Gloom of this has been made bleaker by the wickedness of this winter. We have had more snow longer and colder than the Vermonters I ask can remember. I am obvious in my leading questions....This much snow in March isn't common....right? March is always the final winter kick to the nuts isn't it? It was especially wicked here. A neighbor called yesterday to talk trees, but talk turned to weather as it always does around here and he mentioned it was the coldest Vermont March on record (since 1884).  Which is both as unsettling as it is oddly comforting. We survived, with barely enough wood, with the luxury of propane just in case. And while we're at it, warm water on tap. And fully insulated walls. I imagine a colder March pre-1884 would have made little mewing kittens out of us.

But in the past four days Vermont began to succumb to the inevitability of Spring. With temps in the 50s our roads have melted, the fields will be next. We missed a snowstorm last weekend by a matter of 50 miles. Instead we got blessed rain. The thaw has me back outdoors. Shuttling animals around between the two barnyards. Sheep in with cows, pigs in with goats and chickens. Makes more sense than the reverse though the goats are indignant with the change.

We're beginning to plan the daily and weekly schedule of the summer and even talking of enrolling Leland in the local daycare a couple of mornings a week to free me up for more farmwork. I've been running more times in the past two weeks than in all of the 8 months of Leland's life leading up to them. I've got a routine baking English muffins and sourdough every Friday. I'm even planning a few days on the Vineyard with a girlfriend next week.

I'm becoming Kate again. Not just momKate. More KatemomKate. As with every step I have taken since I became a mother, I have found the one of reclaiming parts of my pre-baby life exceedingly humbling.

13 comments:

  1. Such is the cry of all moms, in the beginning. And, just as you find Kate again, another might decide to take her from you. Don't worry, you're under there. You'll emerge like a crocus, through the snow, and you'll be better than you were. I promise.

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  2. I did the very same thing and if you think about it, it's rather poetic. Becoming a mother breaks you down to basically a blank slate again and slowly, but surely, you begin to grab hold of little things you used to love to do and put them back in their place and you let go of the things that seemed to matter so much before you created another human, but don't seem to matter much now. You become a better version of yourself and it's really beautiful. Wishing you the best on becoming the new KatemomKate. ;)

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  3. I'm glad you're finding your way back to yourself. I love being a mom more than anything, but I think it's so important that I still stay Melissa because it makes me a better mother to my boys. You'll find the right balance. And I hope it means more blog posts b/c I love them so :-)

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  4. So well said, and thank you for saying it.

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  5. this is my favorite post of yours! My baby is 5 months old, and I have a similar "draft" sitting in my blog, titled "Me?". this is my 4th baby, and I find it no easier to assimilate the first year of mommy-ness and our individual identity as a woman. it is a beautiful time, with a cycle all its own, and I love your honesty about it. thanks for sharing! ps-today I shaved, and it felt like a rebellious act of independence;)

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  6. I love this post! Your lifestyle and story are an inspiraiton to me! I am a first time mom to a beautiful 5 month old baby named Eli. I am also just starting to discover me again. It started last week with a shower that lasted more than five minutes :-)
    Thank you for your post. It has made me feel like I am not the only mom trapped by winter!

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  7. Much love to you hon! You'll get there and as you put it, be KatemomKate.

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  8. Cheers to incorporating yourself into your motherhood.

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  9. You say it SO well. Agreed totally. I'm feeling the starting to get more balance too with my 8 month old and it's so welcome. xoxo

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  10. So glad to hear spring is finally making its way to Vermont! My significant other and I will be moving there at the end of this year, or beginning of next to start a homestead and farm. It's a bit intimidating because as a New Englander, I know how fierce Vermont's winters are.

    I'm not a mother, so I can't relate or speak to what you were saying about losing your identity. However, all of my friends who are mothers went through this same situation. They've talked with me about it and the struggle to re-find and re-claim yourself. Sending you lots of strength and fun while you spend more time reconnecting with yourself :)

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  11. i am still working on getting my "me" back and my littlest is past 2 . there 's
    something about motherhood. It consumes you....with love....but it consumes.
    good to read you again.

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  12. Well said! Becoming a mother does something to us that you can't quite put into words or explain to someone that hasn't been through it themselves. I know that becoming a mother brought out a fierceness I didn't know I had in me and also a softness/gentleness with it. I look back now on my two sons first year with such happiness, you forget the sleepless nights and worrying that accompanies their first year. The days are long and the years are short. Soak it all in, these are the days you will long for in the future.

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