Mothers are adults

I am so grateful to be able to stay at home with Del every day.

But.

There are days that I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be an adult.

Zach and I used to to trade links to the day’s news stories over IM from our respective offices, and I discussed office issues with my best friend. Zach and I discussed events in our world and community while we fixed dinner at night. I cooked interested and complicated meals. I discussed books, movies and relationships with co-workers. I read blogs on sustainable agriculture and environmental reforms. I discussed politics over drinks with friends.

Now there are days that the most exciting that happened to me was getting a shower long enough to shave my legs, and I make macaroni and cheese for lunch (often!), and 30 Rock is the most intellectually rigorous I get all day. On the upside, I also sing sweet silly songs and respond in complete sentences to happy baby babbles, I make nicknames out of whatever syllable comes out of my mouth first, and I take endless iPhone pictures of the cutest baby on the planet. I think about things like latch, tummy time, bowel movement frequency, how much drool is normal, and when grasping becomes voluntary…

But mothers ARE adults, dammit.

So today I turned on WAMU, our local NPR station, and let it play during my morning routine. I heard meaningful news. I listened to Diane Rhem have a very well-moderated discussion of a controversial proposed law with three passionate and articulate women. I heard a great panel discussion on the book Ethan Frome and part of a show discussing the emerging civilian use of drones and the legal implications of their proliferation. I felt as if I had interacted with adults.ย  I liked it!

So, add NPR streaming to the list of things that make for good days:

1) Get out for a walk/lunch/coffee/something often.

2) Listen to the news and talk shows with meaningful content. Stay engaged.

 

Addendum:

Now I’m talking to myself too.

I didn’t want to leave the impression that singing silly songs, making up nicknames, replying to baby babbles and pondering the weighty matters of infant life are *not* adult activities. In fact, they’re really, really important, which is one of the reasons Zach and I chose for me to stay at home to take care of Del. They’re so important to him and to us that we wanted to do this particular job ourselves. And I love doing it. This kid is awesome and I dig hanging out with him every day.

I just meant to share that it’s important to maintain that outward-facing part of yourself. I need that part of me to stay functional, to not fall dormant under the weight of the immediate and delightful demands of being a mom. Even Del needs it of me – there is a whole world for him to learn about and if I’ve disengaged from it, I’m not prepared to be a reliable or pleasant guide. Right now all he thinks about are snuggles and meals and why his paci doesn’t stay in his mouth when he stops sucking on it, but one day he’ll wonder about the world beyond himself, and beyond the walls of our home, and beyond the limits of his experience. I want to be part of that world when he enters it. For now, that means at least listening to the news every day while I knit baby toys. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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10 responses to “Mothers are adults

  • Jordan

    I typically have NPR or a podcast on when I’m doing anything other than my day job around the house. Changing the fish tank water, baking, walking the dog – all great occasions to get caught up with the world and feel like I’m learning something. This probably sounds dorky, but I’m really glad that NPR is around and producing such (for the most part) high-quality work.

    • DragonKat

      I’m glad it’s not just me – I guess working from home could put you in a similar “bubble”. I don’t think it’s dorky at all — wait, no, it IS, but I’m in that dorkboat with you. NPR really does provide great content – and I happen to particularly love the “flavor” of DC’s WAMU station.

  • Stagemonkey

    I propose we construct an actual Dorkboat, and sail it upon the mighty Spazz River.

  • Amanda

    Katie, this is so well-put — I completely agree that part of being a good mom is being engaged in the world. It’s what I’ll aspire to! I also can’t wait to commune with my little baby ๐Ÿ™‚ I just hope motherhood will become part of my identity, not all of it. (Also, yes to Dorkboat!)

  • cultstagemonkey

    Rule 1: (In deference to our good friends the Hirsches) Dorkboat shall not be constructed of the hull or any other part of a kayak, and shall not use a double-bladed paddle as its method of propulsion.

  • Amy

    “there is a whole world for him to learn about and if Iโ€™ve disengaged from it, Iโ€™m not prepared to be a reliable or pleasant guide.” I think that is one of the best sentences about motherhood I’ve Ever read, and the fact that you’re smartly engaged is key. I know moms who have lives that’ve turned to drivel under the weight of motherhood and I admire both the aspiration to be an awesome stay-at-home-mom AND to be engaged in the adult, intellectual world. โค

    • DragonKat

      Thank you so much, Amy! … if you could only see me today, you’d understand why it’s a challenge. I need to write up my morning. I should put clothes on first. I don’t mean like, get out of pajamas. I am actually naked, since my shower 30 minutes ago. Things have been, shall we say, unravelled. I also have not eaten. I might be going slightly crazy.

  • Letty

    I’m glad you added that addendum, because, while I totally hear you about maintaining your personal interests and staying engaged with the outside world, I think it is easy to forget that there are paid professionals who grant the same care to infants and children that mothers who stay at home do.

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