When I wrote my first post I told you that my main concern as a studying mum was making space in my brain for knowledge when the ups and downs with The Little One were barely leaving any space available in said brain. After more than a month of daily study I think it is about time to make an evaluation.
In the past few weeks The Little One was going through the “adaptation period” at daycare. She had to get used to new people, new food, new patterns, new rules… And it was a lot to take. Interestingly, this adaptation period is also designed to help parents in coping with the difficult feelings of leaving their progeny in the care of someone unrelated to the family circle. My mind wandered off easily and I asked myself repeatedly if she would hate me for “abandoning” her like that.
Some days after the adaptation period finished, I gave you advice on how to overcome stress because we were having one of those weeks. The Little One was coughing, woke up randomly in the night, and she was not used to go back to sleep by herself yet. One night she (and by extension, us) only slept from 2.30 to 5.30. As you can imagine, I was in dire need of coping mechanisms for stress because, even though I studied, I managed to do little due to fatigue.
But then something in my mind clicked. Instead of altogether shunning study, like I thought I would do, I felt eager to dive into the material, even if it meant more effort. I was surprised, because in the past years, whenever I had a bad night I was unable to sit down and study at all. I was so puzzled by these new feelings that I started paying more attention to them during study time.
In the four hours that The Little One spends at daycare my only purpose is to get things done. Perhaps one of the gifts of motherhood is the ability to discern my “me time” and make the most of it. Study time is “me time”. These four hours or so of study are not something that has to be done, a self-imposition or a punishment. They are my getaway to a different part of myself, a reunion with a part of me that was blurred with the arrival of my daughter. One of the “dangers” of becoming a mum is being engulfed by the experience of motherhood and forgetting those things that are also part of our identity. We naturally prioritize the well-being of our offspring and try to raise them as best as we can, but in that process we can lose track of what gave us a sense of self in the past.
There will always be a “Before Baby” time and “After Baby” time, but my studies are helping me in reconciling those distinct periods of my life. It is a way to reconnect with myself without giving up on the bright things that motherhood has brought (yes, there is more to it than sleepless nights and dirty diapers!). Having the mornings devoted to study and the afternoon/evening to The Little One I feel a sense of balance. There is plenty of room in my life for everything that makes me happy.
Ana is studying the BA English by distance learning in Luxembourg.