that other woman

an email conversation this morning with a friend has got me thinking, again, about the paradox of motherhood in today's society.

her words were of what we consider good fortune: a new house and a good job. her ability (and choice, i'm assuming) to be home with her children. and at the same time, the overwhelming separation from herself. she referred to the typical family structure in times past and how community played a much larger role in the raising of one's family. how no one woman would be expected to do all the things any one of us must manage before our morning coffee.

whether we opt to stay home full-time with our children or work outside of our homes, we are multitasking all the time. and we prioritize. kids first. always. and chores and work and other family-related tasks.

us, last.

if a mother of young children has the time to read a book after she has put the kids to bed i'll bet this week's grocery money she falls asleep before the second page. sex life? ha. personal growth? career advancement? it all waits. and it's mostly okay that it does. because they're only little once. after a while, it gets easier. leaving them with a neighbor to take a yoga class because you really need to. and listening to them whine when you tell them to play by themselves because mommy is working. it's good for them. (disclaimer: i am not a parenting expert. i am a two-time mother with a near-ten-year separation between my first and second children and i can only write about my experience and what i believe.)

but it all creates a space between who you were before your children and who you will be now. you became their mother. and what a wonderful thing that was. is.

but then, what happened to that other woman. the one from before? with all the other interests and complete sentences? is she gone forever? for me, the answer is becoming increasingly clear. gone? yes. forgotten? no.