I can still remember what it feels like to mother young children.
The hands-on, in-arms, constant nature of that work.
Being an all-in-all-the-time mama has been my most important role, but also my most difficult. Parenthood (for me) is consuming.
But things change. Kids grow. Space is made.
Today my children are older; more independent. They are big enough that I can be more than just their mama. (Some people pull this off when their kids are young. I didn't. At least not well.) So today I can feel myself expanding. Simultaneously I can be their mother and more. I can be a small business owner; a maker; a writer; a partner; a decent friend. (And not just when someone is napping.)
I can be a person who is a mother and so much more.
Which, of course, I always was. There just wasn't often time to explore it.
With that in mind I loaded my cross country skis, a sewing machine, a cooler, and an unreasonable number of knitting projects into my car last week and embarked – alone – for a few days alongside the river.
Once I got over the strangeness of being truly alone I set up a bit of a Santa's workshop in the cabin – sewing, knitting, and otherwise making from before the sun rose until long after it set. Crafting breaks meant walks along the river, too many cups of tea, and skiing through the forest. It was restorative.
Half-way through my stay my dearest friend from long before motherhood arrived, and we spent the last two days together – catching up, resting, and creating.
And while I was grateful to come home and reconnect with my family, I was even more grateful for this space that has magically formed in my life, for all of the things that I hold dear.
Friends with little ones, know that someday you will sleep through the night again. You will eat a meal that is still hot, and you will find yourself with time on your hands to rediscover yourself again. This I know for sure.
(As for using the bathroom without someone talking to you through the door or full on walking in? That one, I regret to inform you, remains to be seen.)
10 thoughts on “Making space”
Barely managed to read this one. I’m right there with number three and in some ways more engrossed in mothering than I was with my first two. It’s an act of faith to imagine being a separate person in the future again.
My kids are 20, 18 and 15…still waiting to not answer questions through the bathroom door…!
Oof. This was so needed tonight. My little men are 1 and 5, each with another half-year under their belts. The days can be oh-so-long, as can the nights, but the sweet moments that glue the day together, and encouragement from other, more experienced mamas, keeps me going. All in all the time is so hard some times. But it is the best work I will ever do. Thank you for the thoughtful and encouraging post!!
Oh my, this is just what the doctor ordered. It is as though you were peeking in through my windows, watching my slumped shoulders and tired eyes. You have brought many inspiring posts into my inbox over the last few years and this one is no exception. Thank you Rachel, for always bring honest and open. My sister and I faithfully read your posts and adore watching your family grow and change over the years. We feel in tandem with you, in the wild, anonymous world of blogging. Thank you, always.
Love you, Em.
Love to you, Kelly! My two are 4 1/2 years apart so I know the worlds you straddle. Trust me when I say it keeps getting better from here. x
Thank you for your kind words, Kendra. Sending un-slumped shoulders and a glad heart your way, express. x
This a really interesting one.