With the introduction of Sam into my life I have gone from someone who spent a great deal of time by myself to a person who is hardly ever alone. The adjustment has been hard, but mostly I have settled into the routine of being around my little guy and soaking in his smiles, recognizing his quiet moments and sleep signals, and generally basking in this special stage in his life. Words aren't spoken (he is only three and a half months) but there is a certain communication that has been established between the two of us. Visuals, hand signals, the gleam of an eye, the baby coos, coughs and cries. I am learning how to be present with Sam and carve out his naptimes to do things that fill me: writing, making small pieces of art, reading, cooking, making my house look good.
At the same time I am learning to take time away from being a mama. I have found that I come back to Sam with more vigor and greater clarity for how I want to mother. Walks or runs with Olive, getting lost in the stacks at the library, sweating at Training to be Balanced, or catching tea with a girlfriend--all of these are rejuvenating. I try to recognize what I need with my coveted time. Do I have to replenish with a solitary activity (save dog company)? Or is an adult conversation what I am craving? Although I still think fondly about the time when I could do anything whenever I wanted to, and I didn't feel like I was pressing a stopwatch the minute I exited my house, I am loving these captured moments of me time that are very structured. They feel more precious and I use the time more productively and creatively.
I am learning that I don't need as much alone time as I thought, at least when it comes to being with my son, and that taking time for myself when I do need it makes me a better person and wiser mother.