Since moving to New York my whole identity has shifted. I am a real stay at home mom with no job, my yoga practice has suffered and changed, and I feel like a newlywed and not in a good way.
I worked, albeit part time as a yoga teacher, from three weeks after my daughter was born. It was only a few hours a week but it was a way to keep intact part of my pre-child identity. I still got to be there for nearly every moment of Sadie’s first year (is that a good thing?!) but still got to do my own thing a couple times a week. After we moved I’ve struggled to figure out how best to reenter the teaching world. It might surprise you to learn that New York is different from Chicago. Aside from being saturated with teachers itching to book teaching jobs, I don’t know any studio owners or have friends who can make introductions. No one has heard of where I got my teaching credentials and to be frank, the style of yoga here is a bit different.
When relocating to a different state, there are obvious things that you are leaving behind: friends, family, your home, jobs, routines, familiarity, etc. I get that. My challenge now is the little nuances that made each of those relationships meaningful. Walking down the hall to visit my sister, brother in law, and nephew is no longer an option. Just being able to see them regularly was great enough, but throwing in a last minute baby sitter or a shoulder to cry on or Friday afternoon cocktail hour was pure gold.
I took for granted having a yoga studio be a constant in my life for three years where I knew the teachers, the smell, how to get there, and that each class was going to give me exactly what I needed.
I feel so alone. My husband works and is gone for about fifty hours a week. I don’t know any other mothers with children my age and I am sometimes bitter that I have to make the effort to form new relationships. I feel like I gave up my entire life and don’t know who I am anymore. I liked things the way they were and am mourning my losses. People like to share their envy and excitement for me when they learn where I live. It’s nice and they mean well. But sometimes it’s hard not to shout in their faces that I could care less about moving to New York and sacrificing everything I had. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the comfort of familiarity until it was gone. My days are spent going through the motions, ensuring that all my baby’s needs are met when they need to be met and doing my best to keep her fulfilled. My days are not spent fulfilling my own needs.
Often, I am resentful of our move and sad. And this is where I come to the biggest challenge of all. My husband wanted this. He wanted this job and wanted this change to better himself and our family. It’s hard to remember that his intentions are noble and meant to improve our lives. How do I support him? How do I grieve and mourn without blaming him? How do I find purpose? This guilt is thrown on to my already large pile of self pity, sadness, and anger.
What does this have to do with feeling like a newlywed? Going through such a big move , with so much sacrifice has caused us to revisit all those new things you learn upon getting married: compromise, selflessness, over communicating to avoid a battle when your partner didn’t read your mind. These were hard the first time around and they are hard now.
I’m scared. I know adjusting to a move takes time, it’s one of the biggest life changes one can make. When we moved to San Francisco, sure it was hard. But we were able to throw ourselves into our new community. I found a job that I really liked right away, Scott made friends for us that lived nearby, I found yoga, and most importantly we found wine country and good brew pubs.
Most days I know it will get better, others I contemplate the logistics for moving back to Chicago the upcoming weekend. Grief is a process where you explore what was lost and try to find a way to move forward. Letting go of the past and what I had is the hardest part. And the fact of the matter is I have little choice in remaining in the past. Time keeps moving on, so should I.