On Sunday out of the blue we received a phone call from one of my old NSCAD buddies who is now living in Paris. Josh and I were both really excited to talk to her and hear all about her exciting life as a young artist living in such a romantic and culturally rich city. She’s a funny girl in so many good ways and always has such a positive and interesting outlook on life. One of the first questions she asked both Josh and I was how much our life has changed with Frances in it. What a broad question with so many answers. I have been mulling this one over in my mind ever since.
Of course there’s the obvious, sleep has changed and free time is limited. There is additional laundry to wash, especially with cloth diapers, extra food to prepare and more toys to tidy up. There is more routine, naps, mealtimes, baths and bedtime. Outings are usually premeditated and revolve around the nap and meal schedule. There is often some device or piece of equipment required and a mother must always stay one step ahead of the game with diversions such as toys and snacks.
Being a parent is very different from being a student. It is no longer all about me. My life totally revolves around my child twenty four hours a day. There is no time for me to be selfish anymore. I can’t say that I miss being a student, but I do miss working in the studio making lithographs. I miss the camaraderie of fellow print makers. I miss it like crazy. I dream about making prints all the time. In fact, I dreamt about it last night.
I no longer think about shoes. Well not for me anyway. I can’t remember the last time I looked at the Camper or Fluevog web sites. Did you know they make Camper shoes for kids!! I never shop for myself really, I have too much fun finding things for Frances. I love to rummage through the racks and bins at the thrift shops finding the coolest O’s and other wonderful things you wouldn’t find in the regular kids shops. I even have more fun buying food for her.
Going out is different as well. I usually take Frances in a carrier, so I always have an extra 20 lb. to carry on my body. It can get very heavy when we go to the market and I lug home all those potatoes and squash! I guess I am much stronger now as well.
Spontaneity is a word no longer used in my vocabulary. I can’t just get up and go when and where I want. In the past year Josh and I have gone out by ourselves twice. Now we have to rely on a babysitter (thank goodness for grandparents!) Oh, sometimes I miss those last minute Friday nights at the Granite or Tom’s for a beer and cigarette.
I look at my body differently now. I breastfeed, so I am a little larger in that department. I feel as though I have lost my funky mojo. Everyday when I dress myself I look in the mirror and think “you look like such a mother”. I don’t know if it’s the body or the clothes. I weigh less now then I did before I got pregnant. Many of the clothes I would like to wear are a bit unpractical for breastfeeding, so I never bother to put them on. I feel great though. I feel healthier and stronger than I think I ever have. I guess I don’t have the time stop and think otherwise.
Not all the changes are so great. Because I no longer get a full uninterrupted nights sleep I tend to be a little more grumpy, moody and snappy. I don’t want to be.
I think I look at people and the world around me differently. When I see a person on the street asking for money or I see a person on the news in distress I think to myself, that’s someones child and what would their poor mother think. I block out all the negative shit I see and hear about. I worry more about the environment, and not just the one outside, but what dangers could be lurking around us inside. I try to keep things as natural as possible.
I am truly happy for all the changes Frances has brought into our house. I could never go back to the way it was before her. While there are many old things I miss like mad, everyday there is a new change that keeps us on our toes and makes our new life so much more exciting then our old one!