Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself? 
Very well then I contradict myself, 
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

While I find the actual poetic work a bit of an odyssey of ego, this particular stanza of Mr. Whitman's famous poem has always spoken to me, and spoken to the oddness I have always felt within - my difficulty in reconciling different aspects of my personality. This has never felt as apparent as it has in the past few months, as I experience life as a stay at home mom to my new baby daughter, Ellie.

She is already my world, both literally and figuratively.

To me, it never really made sense that some progressive individuals looked upon women who stayed at home with their children as failures of feminism - respecting women means respecting their choices, after all - but I never really thought of it as a choice I would make until the last few years.  And now that I'm in it, I'm finding the actual experience stranger than I ever anticipated. 

Time, for example, has started having an odd property to it. I feel like I get little to nothing done on a day to day basis and it takes me forever to do it. My OCD means that letting the house go to shambles with a baby taking over is not an option for me - I require a certain level of cleanliness to function. By the time I finish loading the dishwasher and tossing a load of laundry in the dryer, I need a nap because the middle of the night feeding is catching up with me. The never ending winter we have experienced means that long walks have only recently become an option, so add in a lack of sunlight and I'm one wonky lady.

One may be tempted to ask "Why not just let your husband do the dishes and the laundry?" He does, but I try to take on as much of the housework as possible.  Why? The answer is simple - because dumping all the housework's not fair to him either. He has to function in a sphere I don't have to right now. If Ellie has a bad night, I can stay in my pyjamas all day and have a mid-afternoon cry (and, if she cooperates, a mid-afternoon nap!). He can't.  So I look at it as a balance in our partnership to tackle the lion's share of the domestic stuff and ensure we are not wallowing in our own crapulence.

I started this blog because I feel like I need a reporting system that will force me to report on the things I used to do, and that I actually enjoy: crafting (badly), yoga, and cooking. My current goal is to post something once a week while Ellie sleeps or plays with her dad - something that serves as a touchstone to other aspects of my life besides motherhood. 

I don't want it to sound as though I am unhappy - the exact opposite is true. But the first fifteen weeks of my daughter's life have been so all-consuming I know that I need to make an effort to re-charge in some way - Eleanor Brownn once said "you cannot serve from an empty vessel" and this blog represents an effort I am making to ensure my vessel remains full. 

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