Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mommy Time

Of the 14 beers on tap at my local pub, I have trouble deciding which one I want. It is a Wednesday afternoon (as a mom you gotta take your time when you can!), the bar is mostly empty and yet the few faces illuminated in the low yellow light are ones I recognize.

Just over 2 years ago, and for nearly 3-4 years before that, there was hardly a day I didn't make an appearance here. A pint after work, sometimes 6 or 10 of them. Saturday night dance party and Sunday pub trivia. Tuesdays were Alexander Kieth's days, 5 bucks a pint. I met my husband here.

Yet while walking through these doors still feels natural, and it is almost comforting (If a little sad) to know that little has changed. The feeling is also alien. I am alone. Just me. It's mommy time and I am nervous.

It's not that my child is not with me. I know that he is safe with his father exploring the natural history museum a few blocks away. It's that I feel like a fish out of water. No one here wants to talk about baby wearing or breastfeeding or birth activism. In all likelihood, no one here will even ask how my son is doing, what I named him, how old he is now or if he's talking yet.

For now the only question I've been asked is 'what would you like to drink?' but even that is too much for my culture shocked brain to handle. "Something dark and heavy on the hops has been said to help milk production." I think to myself. The bartender gives me a curious look as I roll my eyes at myself. This isn't about Oliver, This is about me, I don't even like hoppy beer, it leaves this bitter aftertaste that takes forever to get rid of.

The sad truth is that I haven't been here in nearly a year. In fact, the last outing I had without family in tow was a quick walk to the post office 2 weeks before Christmas. Before that it was a game of beach volleyball in July.

I settle on an Alexander Keith's, if it's still the special on Tuesdays then, today being Wednesday, the keg will be a fresh one.

I am not really complaining. I LIKE being home with my son all the time. Although I am constantly told by friends, family, and media that I should feel tied down and trapped by attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding I don't. I feel lucky that my husband and I have been able to find a way for me to stay home full time for 2 years, even though we can't really afford to.

I do get a little caught up in it though, as I am sure many parents do. I become so focused on the attachment and teaching and comfort and playing that I completely forget that I wasn't always this person. That the person I am as a parent is only part of who I am, and the part of me that really likes a fresh pint of beer and the constant stream of indie hipster music at my local pub is still there. As are all the other parts of the person I was before motherhood.

I need to make time for that person I am outside of parenting. There is a large amount of lighthearted fun and creativity reminiscent of 'the old Me' that goes into my parenting. All of the parts of my personality have, to some degree, merged together and I feel like that person I was has had a great effect on the way I approach parenting. But I also need time away. Time when I am not parenting, or reading and talking about parenting, or thinking about parenting.

That time starts right now, with this pint of beer and some old acquaintances. These people don't care about my new found life away from this pub. But that's almost a good thing. At the very least, everyone here calls me by my name, and really, what else could I ask for? This hour or so away from home and family is like a trip back in time.

Adam the artist still draws page after page of idealised naked women in tattered notebooks, and there are still too many Dan's to keep track of, and Geoff still hates it when I call him "Gee-off" instead of 'Jeff'. One owner is still old and Greek and adorably romantic, The other, an Irishman, still wears a giant nervous grin like he's not quite sure he's dreaming that this place is such a success.

And me, I still have an opinion on everything without enough social grace to know that I should sometimes keep those opinions to myself. The people I am with will call me 'Jules' and not 'ma-ma'. I am going to drink this beer, and probably another one like I haven't a care in the world. But I am out of practice, so unlike 2-3 years ago, I am going to be quite tipsy from only 2 pints.

Do you get time away from parenting? How do you choose to spend it? How do you honor and nurture the person you are outside of "Mommy" or "Daddy"?


Shawna said... [Reply to comment]

I LOVE this post. I know exactly how this feels except I haven't been anywhere where I'm not with people who knew me before becoming a mom in ages!

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