Recently, I had attended a Momspresso bloggers meet where I had the opportunity to interact with some dynamic women. They were fiery, confident, unapologetic and owned their space with conviction. More importantly, they regularly connected with the community by pouring their hearts out week after week after week. Writing is a lonely process but such opportunities forge the feeling of belongingness. Being with my tribe made me feel unique and valued.
One of the things said about me as an introduction to the group was that “from time to time she disappears but she always comes back with a bang!” I did laugh and was touched to know how much my contribution was appreciated. But simultaneously, it left a nagging doubt. As the day progressed, the discomfort grew till I forcibly snapped out of it.
Life continued. My peers kept writing and promoting their work. I read them, reacted to them and everything seemed fine.
Being a content writer other than a blogger, a few weeks later, as I sat updating my content calendar, I realized that although I had loads of incomplete or unedited drafts, I hadn’t published a post on Momspresso since mid-May. Ahem!
It brought back the memory of the bloggers meet and that feeling of discomfort returned. During these intermittent gaps, did my creativity dip? Didn’t I have things to say, to share, to vent?
I didn’t understand it. I felt I had no choice but to acknowledge that perhaps this set me apart from my peers. They all wrote consistently! Every now and then, I berated myself for being slack but just couldn’t get myself to do anything about it. Shame on me!
Sometime later while returning home, I sat in a cab scrolling through my social media feed. As time passed and I continued to scroll, I realized that my feed was inundated with posts from mommy bloggers, parenting groups, support groups for working mothers or work from home mothers or SAHMs. Even pages meant to showcase other aspects of life and topics also got tangled in the web of algorithms to show only articles related to parenting! I felt overwhelmed and no matter how much I refreshed for newer feed, every other post continued to be connected to ‘motherhood!’
My submissions at Momspresso were about my experiences of motherhood, wanting to be a good parent, being the mother that my daughter would be proud of, aspects of motherhood that I struggled with, my interaction with other mothers, the upheaval I faced from time to time with my role as a woman, mother, and wife. I realised that the feed on my page was simply reflecting what I personally wrote and read about!
And that’s when I knew!
Suddenly it dawned on me as to why I regularly procrastinated to either write or complete the pending drafts. Every so often, I actually wanted to get away. I needed a break, a break from being a mother and motherhood. I wanted freedom, a space to be me.
Perhaps procrastinating was a way to give me that space!
In reality, I knew I couldn’t take a break. My identity was so entwined with my child that I couldn’t just stop being her mother. This feeling went beyond simply the sense of duty or responsibility. I am who I am today because of her.
So then why did I need a break?
The simple answer was that sometimes being a mother just overwhelmed me. It felt suffocating. The constant pressure to be responsible for a small person, someone who always seemed to have that ‘you can set all things right’ look, and who regularly made me doubt my capabilities.
I got tired of being a role model, doing the right thing, always having to be alert, take care, not letting anything slip, serving food timely, ensuring she eats healthy, teaching her, checking up on homework, ensuring the school bag is packed as per schedule. It made me want to scream.
Yet there was no option to get away because I also knew that I wouldn’t forgive myself if something untoward did happen when I was away. Being a mother was not a part-time job, nor a full-time job. It was a way of life. Once a mother, always a mother. Even now when I look at my mother, I realize that I continue to expect her to just be ma!
I knew mothers who travelled with their friends or travelled solo, went out for a drink, spent a day at the spa. They did it to feel rejuvenated and spend quality time being themselves. I had the option to do the same but my idea of being me was literally that, I needed to be alone, with my thoughts and myself. I didn’t do people very well. Also, I didn’t want to deal with the pressure of the proverbial good mother tag or manage time and resources to ensure that everything back home was taken care of while I was away. If I had to also work hard, just so I could take a break then somehow it seemed pointless.
So instead, I simply stopped writing for a while to break free from the mould and allow myself to walk away mentally from the experience without actually having to do anything. That way, no one complained, no one could make me feel guilty or point a finger. And whenever I felt ready, I simply came back and started writing again.
Metaphorically, it was the most acceptable way to give me the permission to take a break from motherhood. Trust me, it works 🙂
(Regular breaks from motherhood are an effective way to get your mojo back! was first published on Momspresso on 23 July 2018 / Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash)