The Changes that Occur Overnight (Sponsored)

The following post is sponsored by Up All Night. Life is all about balance, so what happens when you throw a new baby in the mix? Find out when Up All Night premieres Wednesday September 14th on NBC.
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Me in the mirror (days before I found out I was pregnant) September, 2004

When I first started Girl's Gone Child my tagline was "welcome to the new titty-flashing all-nighter" because it was kind of totally true. I started blogging in 2002 (my old blog is loooooong gone and good riddance) but when Archer was born in 2005, I felt the need to create a new space, redefine my online identity and by default, my real-life self. Everything was suddenly different. All of a sudden there was a double yellow line separating the "fast lane" from the HOV and try as I did to merge right, the dotted line never appeared... And like many (most?) women who cross over from single-girl-land into Motherhood, I was lost. Lonely.

The truth was, shallow as it sounds, I missed the party. But parties (as one so quickly learns) never miss you back.

Excerpted below is a post I wrote five years ago when Archer was one-year-old. I was at the time struggling to define who I was as a mother but also as a wife and woman, a Girl Gone Child but also a Child Gone Parent and the following became a sort of mantra for me, a rally of sorts, a "you can do this! you go girl, snap snap!"
Girl's Gone Child is supposed to be the new and improved titty-flashing all nighter, because there is nothing wrong with yesterday. There is nothing wrong with my "before child" blog and my past. There's nothing wrong with the original titty-flashing all nighter or whatever I was doing when I knew people were looking, even though I pretended I did not... There is nothing wrong with who I was. Then plus now equals tomorrow. I have no regrets...

I am not (nor will I ever be) defined by motherhood, but I will wholeheartedly admit that motherhood has inspired and enabled me to define myself.

I would have grown up eventually. I would have been fine, more than fine even. I would have found happiness and love and dot dot dot, but that's not what happened. This is what happened. I got pregnant. I had a baby. I became myself, and THAT is what this blog is all about.
A lot has changed in five years. So much so that I find it slightly terrifying to momentarily revisit the archives, the posts and the pictures and the "remember whens" and yet at its core, this blog is still about the same struggles and joys: the new transitions, firsts and lasts and how every week becomes a milestone, in a pregnancy, childhood, marriage...

Parenthood has become something to fear - like age itself - the responsibility of taking lives into our own hands and raising them. How quickly we forget that we've come this far taking care of ourselves, that sometimes it takes having a child to grow out of being one.
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Welcome to the new titty-flashing all-nighter. Welcome to a different kind of party. The kind that manifests itself on different kinds of dance floors, barefoot at 5pm as opposed to after hours under neon lights.
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And sure, the view has changed, your reflection no longer defined by what you see in the mirror but instead by what you watch through the windows: a different scene, an even better "party"...
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Us in the window (days before I found out I pregnant) February, 2011

...Because this party? This one loves you back.

GGC

55 comments:

Maggie | 8:10 AM

And now I'm crying.

Mandy | 8:36 AM

Amazing. As someone who is just in the process of leaving the "all night, under neon lights", party scene, and enter the, "home-ownsership, can't afford the bar, so party in our house til pregnancy comes along" scene, I love reading about your experiences and insight into making that transition. You make me excited for the next phase, and less longing for the past. Thank yoU!!

Heidi | 8:38 AM

Definitely tears on this one. You are such a great writer, seriously. Almost all of your posts about your family, parenting, kids are totally moving. ;)

Anon | 8:50 AM

I LOVE what you have to say. I am going through a phase now of trying to define myself after having a baby at 24.

Erin | 8:50 AM

Maybe that's a change that every woman goes through upon entering motherhood..regardless of her circumstances. I wonder if that's why God made it take 40 weeks because there's as much change going on inside your heart as there is on the outside of your body.

I think you put it beautifully and you took me back to that place.

Momfish | 8:51 AM

Beautifully written and so, so true.

Shiri | 8:51 AM

Love this. And that shot of you and Fable is gorgeous.

Mary Ruth | 9:22 AM

You're right. You're absolutely right.

{And yes, I cried.}

Glenda | 9:23 AM

Amazingly beautiful. Why I love your blog...your writing...your prespective...so right on! Love the pictures!

Fav line: Then plus now equals tomorrow.

chickster | 9:26 AM

I absolutely adore your writing!

cora d | 9:36 AM

It took having two kids for me to finally grow up. Thank goodness they were born close together so the oldest did not suffer too much from having a parent that confused herself with the child.

It's not only a party that loves you back, it's a party that's not a party unless you're there too.

Thank you for continuing to blog and sharing your experience and perspective. I heart you!

jessi ♥ | 9:39 AM

AMAZING. I just....wow. No words!

margosita | 9:39 AM

This is quite lovely, as are all the photos. Especially the last!

Sarai | 9:41 AM

Man, when I scrolled down and saw your picture of your reflection, with the stroller and your family on the other side of the glass, I got goosebumps.

Nannette Spencer | 9:46 AM

GAH! You will never know just how badly I needed this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Mwah.

Lacey | 9:56 AM

I love these posts. Every time I find one, my heart breaks a little and mends itself before I'm even finished reading.

Kerry | 9:56 AM

That last photo is unbelievable. It won an award, in my mind.

AndreaB | 9:56 AM

Tears on this post too. Not really someone who did the full out party scene before children. But I am someone who can spend a little too much time commiserating in my own mind about missing all the fun lunches (a la Sex and the City) with my girlfriends. Or the old days of shoe shopping without having to chase around kids. Or even just "it sucks that I never get to sleep in?" But, you are so right about that last line. "This party is the one that loves you back"....

Bunny | 9:59 AM

This reminds me so much of your book. I had my first (unplanned) at 21. It took a while to grow up. I found your book in a bookstore and couldn't put it down. You helped me "mom up". This post reminds me of that. 4 years and another kid later.

SUPAHMAMA! | 10:19 AM

Love! I love how naive the new mother "you" was back five years ago. Beautiful beautiful post.

Rebekah Amy | 10:23 AM

I'm moved and amazed by this post and by the post on loneliness. I am a single mom of a 16 month old son. Hes wonderful, a blessing to the world. But I feel that loneliness when just dont have the same freedom to even catch a random late night movie with a friend. I feel guilty for this feeling of having the loss of freedom, like its not okay. None of that changes how incredible of a child my son is, and how much the world is brighter with him here. Anyway, thank you for your posts. They were really good. Also, you are an inspiration with how wonderful of a mom you are.

ZDub | 10:25 AM

As a reformed party girl turned mom, this made me cry.

I can't imagine where I would be if it weren't for mah babies.

xx-Z

Sammy | 10:45 AM

Beautiful and perfect and gaaah I love you. Thanks for pulling the words OUT of my brain. I am so glad to have someone like you to look up to for piece of mind, to calm my fears, to assure me that everything is and will be okay, and that its okay to be a not-so-traditional mama. Love love love to you, lady!

Ann | 11:03 AM

LOVE..so true!

silverfinofhope | 11:13 AM

The after-party is SO much better, isn't it?

Jen Murray-Szarvas | 11:35 AM

Are you working on another book? You so totally need to write another book. An update to Rockabye or something fictional. Please.

Stephanie | 12:07 PM

Thank you. I really needed to read this right now.

My son is ten weeks today. We went to a friend's gallery opening on Friday and it made us both sad about what we have been missing. But, awkward drunken conversations can't beat your kid's smile.

Also, he just so happened to sleep through the night for the first time last night. Five hours sleep doesn't mean a late night and hungover day at work anymore. Instead it deserves a happy dance.

Katie | 12:07 PM

Why do you insist on making a sappy pregnant woman cry at her desk?!? Beautifully written. And so true. I look forward to watching you continue to change with your new additions.

thenodramamomma | 12:39 PM

Beautiful, thank you!

Erin | 1:42 PM

love this

Anonymous | 2:12 PM

You are a force lady! I love your words.

Anonymous | 2:15 PM

You should cut your hair short again. It looks nice.

Adrianne | 5:25 PM

Perfect timing. I'm within a couple of weeks of giving birth, and all of a sudden, I'm so scared. I'm scared I won't be able to do it, that I won't be a good mom, that my baby might not be healthy (nothing to indicate that, but...), basically scared of it all.

Thanks for reminding me that I can do it.

Alicia | 9:13 PM

Love it!!

Kass | 3:00 AM

Your words are amazing! I have never posted before but have been a long time reader and can honestly say lady you are one rad writer! This post in particular has moved me! Thank you for helping me through my journey as a young mum!

PopMommy Pam | 5:38 AM

Beautiful. The words and the photos.

Marie | 5:53 AM

Love the pics, but the dancing pic? Tears just spontaneously started rolling down my cheeks and they're still coming.

Life has been so very hectic lately and I feel like I'm not soaking up the goodness of our little family unit and that it's speeding by too quickly. Thank you for this, it's a good reminder of how good I do have it and that I need to make some changes to be able to enjoy it more.

(Excited about that show)

Bri | 6:05 AM

Seriously ... you are such a good writer.

Ida Mae | 6:35 AM

this is beautiful.
and as the first of our close friends to buy a house, have children, I can most certainly relate.

boosmom10 | 7:41 AM

Loved this post. I have watched you grow and change via your blog. And grow as a mama you have. It has been a pleasure watching mature into your role as Archer matured. Then when Fabel came along you just bloomed. I can't think of a better word. It was like your heart was bursting with this love for your family that just could no longer be contained. With R&B's womb appaerance you have continued to grow as a mom. yes, freaked the hell out at times but who wouldn't be. The four of you are a team. The most loving team I've ever seen. Your family is magical. I know y'all are human and things happen but the beauty you all have over all is breath taking.

Thank you for sharing the awesomeness with all of us.

Kendra in Dayton | 9:35 AM

BRAVO
BRAVO
BRAVO
and Amen!

Brandy R. | 9:55 AM

I get it! I understand. Now and then, too..
I read the old post and I still do that.. stare at my image reflected off windows when I'm out- imagining myself under different circumstances. It's gotten better with time, but still I catch myself doing it. Wondering who I would have been.

I was 24, too and I've debated endlessly about whether that is "too young". While I really don't think it is- it's such an in between time that it makes kiddos incredibly difficult, I think. Stuck between the twenty-something, party stage and the "it's time to grow-up" stage. It was hard. Sometimes, it's STILL hard..

But the truth is I like who I've become. And I like watching who my little one is becoming, too...

Sweetie Pie Bakery | 10:07 AM

i first started reading your blog when i had my first child, early 2007. i related to your archives, not the party scene, but the needing to identify who i was as a mother, and the sense of losing that former self. i refused to be defined by motherhood.
i had my second child, a daughter, and she is a few months older than fable. as evidenced by your posts and my own feelings towards motherhood, i think it takes some growing into to fully appreciate what you're seeing through that window, as well as the reflection on the other side. beautiful post :)

Anonymous | 12:54 PM

Beautifully spoken.

Ms. Smoochy | 12:55 PM

Whoot! Hells yea, GGC!! I've been kickin' it with you here since 2006!!! (About the time I traded tequila for red raspberry tea.) Rockin' parenthood sure does take a leap out of your ego and into your right-now present authentic self. What a trip. You've done it with style all along.

Anonymous | 8:03 PM

Thank you for this. You have spoken my words! Thank you.

Gigi | 6:36 AM

Thank you for this.... Tears. xx

Gigi | 6:38 AM

Thank you for this... Tears. xx

Danielle | 8:24 PM

I like that last picture; you've got your whole family inside of you. Very soulful.

Amy | 12:23 PM

I've read your blog for years, read your book on NYE 2010, get where you're coming from but understand more where you are now, love you to bits and just want to tell you that you are singing such a beautiful song these days. You are so clearly in your element. And your mom, your mom! She is a joyful peach. I wish you and your family good health, a quick and efficient labour and two safe births. I am a perfect stranger who is holding you in my heart at this very special time. Best wishes.

Laura Chavous | 6:36 PM

I especially love what you said at the very end-about how this party loves you back. my kids love the disney movie tangled and there is a line at the end of the movie where the dude says with his dying breath: "You are my new dream" and I just loved that. It made me think of my children and all the "dreams" I have for my future, career etc etc and how my girls THEY are my new dream. All of my hope is for them. :)

Ray | 5:12 PM

"Because this party? This one loves you back."

Beautiful.

You wrote: "I am not (nor will I ever be) defined by motherhood, but I will wholeheartedly admit that motherhood has inspired and enabled me to define myself."

Does that still apply now...? Five years later? I am not a mother, but the fear is still there. What, with all these negative connotations of Motherhood. About what mother's should be, how mother's should act, look like, do.

In your above statement: Was it a fear you were trying to avoid? Rebel against? Or is it something entirely different? Do you now embrace Motherhood wholeheartedly? Into your core, into your soul? Without the fears of the definition of Motherhood? Of losing yourself to something greater?

You of all people would be the most honest. That is why I'm asking. Sorry for all the questions!

Carra Nicholes | 1:58 PM

God I love you and your writing. As I type this, my 8 week old baby is napping in the other room. I often feel a little lost in the re-shuffling of life-after-baby. It's so refreshing to see a writer/woman/mom discuss the things that the rest of us are too chicken shit to say out loud. Thanks for making this new mom feel a little more normal.

Morgan | 2:06 PM

New reader here, and POW! - thank you for this. For this, I will be back, and back, and back again. My journey has been so similar, and now, with a 9 month old boy and a loving partner "loving me back," I relish a familiar story.

dig this chick | 9:20 PM

Been a long while since I surfed around the web...stumbled here tonight and glad I did! This post is wonderful, real. Mama, hope to catch you again on a Wednesday surf.