I started rehearsal exactly a year after starting rehearsal for the last play I did. You may remember the hell I put myself through deciding to do it and once I did, how hard but how wonderful it was. I was so excited to be home following that time that I didn’t have a hunger to do a show for a while. Then this fall I started to feel ready, and right before Christmas I got cast in a great one, and on Jan 2 we started work. It’s wonderful; I feel so lucky to be a part of it; it’s fun and terrifying and all the things a good play should be.
I don’t know what I expected of myself—that it would be easier to leave Luciana than it has been (I cried 3 0ut of 4 days last week), that I’d be a pro at balancing full-time creative work with motherhood and all that it is…. I think I’m doing well, all things considered, but of course I’ve done a head trip on myself as a mom.
Which is why it was so cool today to read this. Written by one of my favorite writer/bloggers (I’ve linked to her before), I felt like she reached inside my brain today and spun the thoughts into perfect sentences. I was planning on writing something along the same lines today and she’s said it all brilliantly. I’ve been getting a ton of support as a mama–wonderful compliments, thoughtful observations–and 2/3 of the time the response I think, even if I say Thank You, is that they’ve missed the boat. Can’t they see Luciana’s room isn’t set up “right”? Can’t they see I don’t have the “right” toys? Can’t they see I don’t play with her the “right” way? I torture myself for a bit on that, decide I am going to search online for creative projects and appropriate dramatic play games for 17-month-olds, obsess over how I’ve screwed her up by choosing the wrong bookshelf and convince myself every mom I know has this all figured out. There’s nothing I’ve wanted more in life than to be a mother–this I’ve known since before I went to kindergarten–and there are moments in almost every day that I’m sure I’m blowing my shot at it.
When Jan 1 of this year rolled around and I was thinking about the year–was I going to make resolutions (no), are there things I’m going to try to shift (yes), and is there anything I’m leaving behind in 2012, the answer to that one was clear: leaving behind all the beating myself up for not being the perfect mom. And by perfect I don’t mean Stepford; I mean the one who has all that stuff from above figured out and grows her own escarole which her 1-year-old gobbles up and knows how to do A Craft and 99% of the time has a response ready which would make Becky Bailey proud. I’m convinced I go down I Suck Rd. because it gives me the illusion of control: that somehow,someway, if I do it all Just Right my child will turn out well.
I’m 7 days into the new year, and maybe it’s because I’m working that I’m just not willing to spend the time with Luciana obsessing, but so far there’s progress. I imagine sometimes what it would be like if I didn’t have the internet to find women to compare myself to, to cringe at their perfect playrooms and outdoor spaces; if I lived in a place that didn’t have 12 toddler group options and activities in a 10-block radius. I’d probably still find ways to torture myself: those of us who go there find a way come hell or high water. But it’s helped me to think of my mom, of the moms of my friends: they didn’t have 1/100th of the resources I have–they just didn’t exist then like they do now–and we all turned out ok. Pretty well, actually. And the issues we do have don’t come from imperfect playrooms, I’m certain of that. I don’t want to waste my time with my daughter in self-centered criticism–nothing could take me farther away from being present with her. And if I think I can control what happens, well…..As her mom I’m going to watch her make choice after choice in her life; some I will love; some, I’m sure, I’ll barely be able to deal with. She’s going to be who she’s going to be. Figuring out the configuration of her bookshelves isn’t going to change that. For now she’s ready to have fun just kicking her feet for 20 minutes. We laughed hard doing that today. No perfect toys needed there.
photo taken by my husband. good one, right?