I feel like for the past several, several months the only thoughts I have composed were thoughts on Stetson. Now don't get me wrong, he is ever changing and the main focus of my life now, but that doesn't mean that Brad and I are left just staring at him all day. We do things, and we are more than just parents, although sometimes that idea seems foggy to me, I think it is very important for us to take time to focus on ourselves as a couple and as individuals. This is harder than it sounds.
I have to say, I think for me it is was very hard to focus on myself outside of the role as a mother. I moved to Chicago with the idea of eventually getting a job and then the universe got involved and I became pregnant before finding employment and BAM! I'm suddenly a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I will say, I never, ever envisioned myself staying at home. My mom worked, most of my friends work, I truly believed I would always work. So, here I am, staying home, the caregiver, the homemaker. All these descriptions never sounded right to me. I think of being a homemaker, and I think of the Beaver's mom, and by all accounts that is not me, but it is too, kinda. I clean clothes, grocery shop, cook dinner, all the typical stuff, but it is SO MUCH more than that, which is something I had to realize on my own in order to fully appreciate my new role.
My first few months at home were very difficult. I found myself needing constant reassurance from Brad that not only am I doing a good job, but it's ok to be home, I'm doing a good thing for our family. I spent my whole life putting value into a job and the money I made and the insurance I offered, that I felt like somewhat of a hanger-on not going into the office everyday and "working" for a living. This constant need for reassurance created tension. I think Brad felt like he was constantly walking on eggshells to make sure that I felt appreciated, while I, in turn, felt like I had to constantly overdo what I was doing just to prove that I was a contributing partner in our family. Silly, right? Well, I had to relearn everything I knew about "contributing", I had to teach myself that by keeping the house in order, taking care of Stetson, getting food and taking out the dog, were all things we would be paying someone else to do if I did work, so instead, I get to do these things, and really I couldn't be luckier! I feel so blessed that I am Stetson's constant. I am so lucky to be what he knows and sees everyday, and to be the very individual he will get the most from. What a huge task and reward all the same.
So how did I teach myself that I can be myself, the quirky (sometimes annoying) Brigid, that laughs at stupid things, loves to go on runs and thinks Jim Gaffigan is SO FUNNY, all while being a mom, with HUGE responsibilities that involve picking out organic baby yogurt while trying to defend the fact that I still use disposible diapers?? I left town. Honestly, I had to get the hell out of Chicago to even figure out how important I am, and how much Brad does for us as well. From the time I had Stetson, I was so caught up in having NO IDEA what I was doing, while struggling to do everything perfect, that I forgot to just be me. It's so hard to put into words, but I spent 32 years being only me. Even after I met Brad and we quickly became "Brad and Brigid", I still felt like Brigid, just with a better half. After Stetson, I became so lost in this new world, that it took going to Key West with my best friends to remember, I'm a new mom, but I'm also, at the core, Brigid.
My BG's (Bay Girls - best friends since high school, some even longer - Tiff:) ) and I started planning a Girl's trip while I was pregnant. We had one previous trip together before everyone had kids about 7 years ago, and it was in Vegas. We wanted to try and do a trip again, and I thought Key West because we all wanted beachy and my "aunt" owned a house there that we could stay at for cheaper than any of the hotels or renting a house from a stranger.
As the trip got closer I became more and more anxious. It was too soon, I wasn't ready to leave my baby at home with *gasp* his own father. Could you imagine? In all seriousness, I wasn't sure Brad would know what to do, I mean, he is hand's on father, but he works all day and isn't as in tune with Stets' schedule as I am. Could this work? Would he be calling me at all hours, a ball of stress not knowing where I kept the diaper genie refills? Would Stetson forget who I was or worse yet, believe I left him forever?
It wasn't until I got off the plane in Cleveland and saw my best friend waiting at my gate eating an ice cream cone that things in my brain started to change. My massive weight of responsibilty felt instantly lighter, I guess I proved that slightly when I forced a shot of tequila on her while waiting at the airport bar for our other friends. Soon after this we found ourselves in Florida, giggling with free drinks from fellow travelers in hand, and although Stetson and Brad were in my thoughts constantly, I felt this sense of freedom that I never allowed myself to feel since having my wonderful baby. I put so much pressure on myself to be everyone's everything (mother, wife, housekeeper, cook, grocery shopper, caretaker, floor cleaner), that I honestly and truly lost sight of myself.
Since returning from the trip I have seen my life in a new light. Not only was I allowed to let go a bit, but I also realized how much I could truly depend on Brad. He took care of Stetson with no issues (or at least none he let me in on), and I think he came out of it for a deeper appreciation of me as well. Sometimes Brad comes home and the house isn't perfectly cleaned, instead I was able to take Stetson and Zeki on run to the park because it was FINALLY warm in Chicago, or maybe we decided to wander around the square just because. Either way, I feel now, that I can finally accept myself as a mom, but as a mom that is Brigid at the very core. If we get a babysitter, the first thing I do is get a shot of tequila - because that's how I am, but as a mom that also means I can't have 2 shots, or 3 drinks, but I can still do the things I used to do in moderation. I don't have to be someone else to be a good mother, I have to be me and, not to toot my own horn, but I honestly believe that Stetson is lucky for that. I'm never going to wear mom jeans, or I might not have the best after school snack always waiting for him, but I will always be one shuffle mix away from a dance party and if it's nice outside, we will be out there playing TOGETHER, and I can't wait, but once the sun sets and you are tucked tight in bed I will also be having a much needed cocktail on our deck with my favorite man ever, because that's who we are, and try as we might, we can never force ourselves into roles we weren't meant to play.
I know this is a bit off course from our typically Stetson updates, but I also think its important to keep a journal of how we are as people. Even if it's hard to grasp at times.
Till next time.
Peace, love and Key lime pie!!
Brigid, Brad, Stetson and Zeki