Once Layla arrived and we came home from the hospital, real life could begin. Chris and I could start learning the ins and outs of parenthood. It's very different when there is no nurse or doctor coming in once an hour to check on us and and the baby. Hoping my maternal instincts were going to kick in, we set forth to care for this tiny baby. I jumped at every funny noise she made, and I second guessed every tiny decision. I was trying to recover from a long labor and major surgery, but somehow, those needs took a backseat to the needs of this wimpering little lump sleeping beside me. Chris went back to work, and I did not. Goody's sent all of their employees home the Monday after Layla was born. I did not have a job to go back to. My work has always been part of my identity, and now, along with the many other changes, I must add "unemployed" to my list of words that describe my identity. That is a word that I have not used to identify myself since high school. I am going on 8 months of joblessness right now, and frankly, I don't quite know what to do with myself. My mommy identity is slowly developing and transforming. This time Layla and I have had together has been amazing. The fun we have had far outweighs the lack of paycheck in our bank account.
I have been experimenting with my creativity, learning to cook healthier and tastier meals, organizing the heck out of my house, cleaning like a crazy person, working out daily, and enjoying an occasional nap in the afternoon, but mostly, I have begun to know and understand myself more than I ever have before. This June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, Roseanne, Carrie Heffernan - like woman I have become is a person that I like very much. All of the books say that a person changes the most from birth to the first birthday, and I believe tha,t not only for a baby, but for the mother as well. I have not changed this much in such a short amount of time since my first year of life. My definitions of the titles mother and wife are developing daily, and the person I am at age 29 is a woman I am learning to love and finally beginning to understand.