I read a book by a similar title a few years back, after I had my first child and was beginning to feel the not-so-joyful side of motherhood. I couldn't understand how I could not want to be with my child every second of the day when I loved her so incredibly much, and I felt terrible guilt because of it. Then I read this book and it was all very clear.
When I became a mother, my identity became wrapped up in the arms of mom as well. I was no longer this confident, spontaneous, funny girl - I was a worn-out, washed-up version of myself and I allowed every plan in my life to be led by a baby girl who wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, and who sometimes wouldn't stop crying. I flaked out on opportunities to be with others, secondary to the fact that I didn't want to "throw her off her schedule". But in reality, I threw my life off schedule. I completely took myself out of my life, and I began to suffer for it.
Just when I was adjusting to building up myself and my life again, I decided I wanted another baby. (Go figure). Again, the same pattern took ahold and I pretty much became a hermit in my own home, surrounded by a screaming two-year old and a newborn who spent her entire day upchucking her stomach contents.
The Joy of Motherhood, my ass.
It is only recently that I've decided to try again to break out of this cycle and nurture the part of me that was there long before the diapers and formula and potty-training. I've learned to ask for time "off", time away, to regain the much-needed time to remember that while being a mother is wonderful and one of the best things I've ever done, it's not everything I am nor the only role I'll every play.
I was a woman first and will be a mother always.
This weekend, my sister and brother-in-law took my girls away for the weekend, and it was such a change to not have my little offspring running around the house. I slept in until *gasp* 8:00 yesterday morning, was able to finish my coffee while it was still hot, enjoyed privacy in the bathroom for a change, had a leisurely lunch with a girlfriend, saw a matinee... it was wonderful. It was quiet. It was lonely.
I took time to put myself as a woman first and in the process, learned to appreciate myself more as a mother.