Motherhood inferiority complex.

More than once I’ve been told I’m a pretty laid-back first-time mom. I think when I got pregnant, I became so overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of what I was about to do and I kinda just let go of trying to even attempt to control the situation. I’ve just been able to take one day at a time, knowing that I’m in a powerful yet powerless position here.

And for the past ten months, I’ve been pretty much proven right. Being laid-back has been a great tool for dealing with new-mommy life.

I think, however, my metapelet may disagree. It could be all my own internalizing, but I can’t help but get the feeling she wonders where my head is at… Why am I not taking all of her advice? Why am I not rushing to the doctor every time he has a string of sleepless nights (every week, then?!)? Why am I not more upset that when I drop him off, he’s ecstatic to jump into her arms from mine?

On that last point… It really didn’t bother me until she started mentioning it every time. I’ve been happy with the way she is with him, pleased with the fact that I landed a  great daycare situation – a loving woman who genuinely cares for my kid. So what’s wrong with the fact that when we get to her house in the morning, he practically jumps out of my arms into hers?

But she’s mentioned it almost every day and somewhere it started grating on my nerves. How many times can you hear, That’s not nice, don’t you love your mama? before you start to shed your laid-backness and begin to get annoyed?

This week was different. I don’t know if Koala is just getting older, more aware, more contextual, or if Purim turned things upside down for real… But when I brought him in on Tuesday, he freaked out. He grasped on to me and the nail-digging in my skin was oozing with please don’t leave me. I laughed and tried again to pass him along to his metapelet and he burst out in tears. Finally, I kissed his head and just left.

It happened again the next day. When I came to pick him up in the afternoon, my metapelet said, “Well, finally, I was worried that he was leaving you too easily. This is a good thing,” with just the slightest hint of defensiveness. In my head, I rolled my mind’s eyes. Who’s this really about, anyway?

But I’m happy with myself. Another version of me would have been angry, jealous, emotional, put off, defensive about the whole thing.

Laid-back mommy me is just taking it one day at a time.

Hebrew vocabulary for new parents (הורים).

I’ll soon be coming on five years of Israelihood, and of course every day I’ve added new academic and obscure Hebrew to my arsenal. But expanding vocabulary is more than just learning new words; it’s about knowing what even the most familiar words mean in new contexts.

For instance: being a mom.

Here is part of a growing list:

לידה – birth: a new life is born, an older life is freakin exhausted.

טיטול – disposable diaper: the only carbon footprint you don’t give a crap about.

מטפלת – nanny: the ‘other’ woman.

פרות – fruits: what your nanny loves to feed your kid by the bucketful.

עצירות – constipation: what happens to your kid after a bucketful of fruit.

שלשול – diarrhea: what happens to your kid after a bucketful of fruit.

רוק – drool: nature’s toy disinfectant.

שיניים – teeth: cute little pearls of evil.

אמא – momma: a name by which I am automatically able to make tears dry, monsters disappear, and someday buy Rated R movie tickets for my 15-year-old.

Adapting to new life.

The Koala isn’t the only newbie around here. It’s hit me in the last week that I am a new person. It’s been a short process (36 hour labor) and a long process (it’s about a year since I found out I was pregnant).  But here I am, changed.

I’m a mother. I’m a food source. I’m a caregiver.

I’ve got, for better or worse, a forever-altered body.

I’m paying the bills while being challenged daily as a WAHM.

I have a new sixth sense that is always at work, whether I’m awake, on a different floor of the house, or asleep.

I have everything to lose, and if I did lose everything, I would never be the same.

I’m already not the same.

My relationships have altered. I don’t know if the other halves of these relationships realize it. Resent it. Care either way. I don’t know yet if I do.

I’m tired. I’m anxious. I’m in love I can’t control.

I want to take my Koala and fly away but I want to take my Koala and hide right here.

I’m riding a rollercoaster that started when I was born, only now, I’m climbing up to the highest drop. I thought previously that the highest drop was childbirth – the physical transition from person to parent – but now I know that wasn’t it.

I’m at the top, peering down. The highest drop takes you to a place where you are making sure he isn’t choking on a grape; avoiding physique-altering car accidents; advising on keeping away from the bullies; working toward ‘enough to eat’; looking over your shoulder to make sure he’s still behind you; dodging diseases; checking for breathing…

It’s overwhelming.

But now it’s me.

People-watching in a mirror.

Waiting for my mom at the airport this morning, I got to engage in the curious ritual that is people-watching. Airport arrival halls are the best places to people-watch.

This pre-holiday Friday morning was even more interesting.

One family particularly stood out to me. I watched a middle-aged couple – probably around my mother’s age – walk out through the sliding doors of customs and scan the crowd. At one point the woman smiled enormously and began waving. A youngish couple – maybe in their late 20s – waved back with similar smiles and began walking towards them. The mother and daughter embraced wildly (because now it was clear, these were the young woman’s parents) while the father and son-in-law patted backs. Questions were flung around and the family, reunited, as they walked off towards the exit.

The family was speaking American English. The scene was so familiar to me, I wanted to cry.

The daughter made aliyah, maybe a few years ago. She met another Anglo oleh and they decided to literally build a bayit ne’aman b’Yisroel. Her parents had either never been to Israel or had visited only once or twice before she made aliyah; they are still a bit awkward about coming here. But they come – maybe once every other year when their adult children don’t visit the States.

The woman reminded me of my own mother so much, and the daughter was all me. I’m not alone in this world of aliyah; I never thought I was but sometimes it’s hard to remember, even when surrounded by other olim.

I held back my tears and turned back to the sliding doors, waiting for my mom and already smiling.


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