One of the best parts about the work week is having a general routine, and the BEST BEST part of a routine is looking forward to something each day. For me, I always look forward to 4:30 pm. I walk down a beautiful tree-lined street, with the lovely late afternoon sun sparkling through the tree leaves, and ring the doorbell of Diego’s daycare.
Diego practically crawls out the front door, into my arms, and it is the best. I look forward to that moment all.day.long. Sometimes, if I miss my BART train, or I’m grumpy or tired, I’m a bit more scattered. I fail to notice the sunlight, or brief, tiny, views of the Bay that peak out at the end of the street, looking west towards the water, as I walk to daycare.
Thankfully, if I’m running a little late, and racing to pickup, walking up to the front door, Diego’s “classmate” always helps me snap back to reality.
“DIEGO’s MOM!!” she always says, pointing at me. This always makes me pause, smile, and be more present. To this little person, this is my complete identity-Diego’s mom. Almost everyone else in my world knew me as someone else first-a wife, a daughter, sister, friend, colleague, etc.-and my “Diego’s mom” identity is a recent and welcome bonus.
But, as this sweet child reminds me, from here on out, to Diego and the people he’ll bring into my world, I’m first and foremost, Diego’s mom.
I read a lot about how, as a parent, it is important to remember who you were before parenthood. Advice abounds on focusing on those aspects of your identity, and taking caution to avoid getting completely swallowed up by this new role.
That makes sense.
But the thing is, I like being Diego’s mom. And, when I can, I thoroughly enjoy being completely consumed by his world. I’m realizing, that for me, the challenge is often the opposite. Making sure that I let myself completely pause, and sink into the role of being a mother, and try not to get too distracted by all the other demands. The late afternoons are my Diego-time, and I’m working on being more mentally and physically present in them. There’s the small, immediate distractions-dinner prep, the end-of-day clutter-and the larger, mental ones. I can get lost in mental questions, wondering, am I doing a good job balancing this whole work/life thing? Are we making good financial choices? When was the list time I called..ehhh…texted my friends? Does Diego know how clueless I am about parenting? Will we ever find a good storage solution for this tiny apartment?
And then I look up, and there’s Diego, scooting around the floor, taking every piece of Tupperware out of the pantry and throwing them down the hall. And I’m reminded to stop. Just stop. For now, in these few hours in the day, just be his mother. Focus on goofing around on the floor, watching him roll a basketball, and not worry if the only thing he’ll eat for dinner is goldfish. Just go with it. Be there, be present, because it’s ok for right now to just be Diego’s mom.
On Sunday, we were flying back from a weekend in Irvine. Diego was in the Ergo, and mid-flight, he looked up at me, grabbed my face, said, “mama,” and threw his arms around my neck.
It was….the best part of my day :)