i’m in the track home now
I made a $200 purchase today. As the broke wife of a broke student, this is a huge sum, so it required hours of online research– reading up on discussion forums and product reviews. Like all major purchases, it was very confusing to compare brands and types. It wasn’t something you get at Best Buy, and it wasn’t accompanied by a list of technical features or specs. No, it was $200 worth of diapers. Oh, and the day before I spent $40 (including shipping) on a diaper pail– one that is toddler proof and includes a special carbon filter for freshness. And oddly, I’m just as excited for these shipments to arrive as I would be over a new winter coat, or $200 worth of books.
When I step back, I’m not sure which is more odd– that I spent $200 on diapers, that I’m excited about it, or that prior to the purchase I also spent hours completely riveted and sincerely interested in cloth diaper discussion forums. The participants in these forums have their own code language. “Cloth diapers” are CDs; a diaper is usually just a “dipe.” Well known brand names, like Motherease, are abbreviated to ME. There are other diapering-related code words that I haven’t cracked yet. I think I’ve stumbled into one of the many mansions that the Lord warned his disciples about. The inside deserves the name mansion, but from the outside, it looks like a disgustingly boring track home located in an utterly generic subdivision.
I remember looking at the motherhood track home from the outside. I remember being in the seminary community and foregoing the women’s group that met once a week. I, along with other non-mothers, would point out the fact that all conversations in this group eventually came back to children’s sleep schedules. Terms like “latching on,” “engorgement,” and “letdown” kept me elsewhere on Wednesday nights. I didn’t despise these conversations or these women. My mind was simply not drawn in and I had no desire spend my evening sitting in that circle, eating cheez-its. I’m still in touch with a lot of the mothers I knew at the seminary; one of them just moved to this area. When my doula asked me if I knew any breastfeeding women who I could talk to for support, I just said yes. Little did she know that in my mind it was a yes, yes, and a very engorged yes.
I just got an e-mail from my friend Rachael, who had a baby this past spring. She used to be a solid member of the non-mom club, so I remember standing side by side with her, looking at the track home from the outside curiously, mildly interested, but only interested because we figured we’d likely be going in soon– not because it looked interesting in and of itself. I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her. She said “you’ll find that motherhood is a society in which you automatically can relate to so many women on so many levels – even women you never thought you’d have anything in common with. It’s the great equalizer.”
This is so far true of what I’m experiencing. I first realized it a few weeks ago. I was in the break room at work when another woman, Angela, walked in. She’s in her mid-twenties, and just had a baby in December. We’ve never really talked before except to say hi. I casually told her that I’d love to talk to her sometime about what it was like to breastfeed and work full time. She immediately insisted that I pull up a chair next to her and sat me down to cover the subject with zest. She apologized later for taking up so much of my time, but there was no need. I was hanging on her every word. It was from her I learned that you need at least four nursing bras– don’t even try to get away with less, because you’re constantly washing them.
I could go on, but in short, I’m making up for all of those lost Wednesday night meetings and embracing life inside the track home. Let me go ahead and make my apologies to the world outside, and to my former, non-mom self. The “great equalizer” has taken hold of me, and I’m grateful. I want to be equal with other women– as many as possible, in fact. I won’t try to explain to you how interesting it really is inside the track home, because you probably wouldn’t believe me.