I remember one day back when my daughter was maybe eight months old. It was around 10 in the morning and raining out, so I took her to a story hour at the library next door to my apartment in New York City. We were late, so by the time we arrived the story hour was over. There was a mom of three there. Her 4-year-old was sitting calmly next to her, a 2 year-old on her lap and a 3-month-old on a mat on the floor. She was beautiful, full of love and life. She somehow stayed calm, reading a book to all, while touching the young baby. I was awe-struck at her mothering. I sat nearby with my baby and I wanted her to wrap both of us up in her love. As a mother of just one, I didn’t quite feel like a mom. Not compared to that supermom.
Back then I was just getting used to my life as a mother of one. I really had no concept of what it would be like to have 2 of them.
This past October, just 2.5 months ago I had baby number 2. Lilly Emme Paperny was born. I’ve been wildly overwhelmed by — wow, just having a second baby. I’m also so busy. Mon dieu. How did our mothers’ do this? I mean, how did they do it? Motherhood has to be the hardest and the most unappreciated job in the world.
Meanwhile, I am feeling old and tired. My skin looks dry — and it is dry. I’m breastfeeding like crazy and I’m dried out. I feel like I’ve been through a war and I’m on autopilot. I have no “evening” because my baby only sleeps for 4 hours before I need to breastfeed her again. It’s exhausting. I’m on edge. And I don’t feel like anyone understands. Perhaps they do, perhaps it’s just tough. I want 20 massages, I do! And then I stop and ask how have women done this for centuries? We are amazing. My mom is amazing.
At some point I’ll have more time. At some point my little girls will be grown. And then I’ll be sad. I’ll miss them as babies. My two-year-old is just hilarious. The things she says, the looks she gives me — her songs, her dances. What a great age. And little Lilly, oh my gosh. She’s so sweet, so alert.
So now I’m a real mother because I have 2. I have “children” not a child. I have context because I’ve just raised another infant from 0-2….
I am also more than just a mom. I am. I’m a playwright. I have a new job waiting for me when I’m ready. And when will that be? Right now…is right now.