This weekend was the first comic convention I’ve attended since becoming pregnant a little less than two years ago. I was so excited for the weekend! You know how long it had been since I'd cosplayed, or splurged on a bunch of nerdy gear that I didn't need?! This past year of parenthood, I've let a lot of hobbies and likes of mine disappear to make room for more family time—which I LOVE doing, don't get me wrong! But I was excited to be able to make time for comic con this year because it felt like I was prioritizing myself again for the first time in a couple of years.
But when I left Comic Con this weekend, a tidal wave of depression doused me in gloom for the three days, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why.
Then it hit me.
Change happened, and change is so hard to recognize and accept. Even though I was attending Comic Con—something I've always loved—it was in a new way. On Saturday, I went with my partner, his daughter, and our 11mo baby. Because of naps, parking, and necessary food times, we were only able to stay for about two hours and we mostly focused on exposing our 5yo to all the wonders of Comic Con for kids her age.
She. Loved. It.
Then, on Sunday, I went solo. I dropped my son off at my mom's house early in the morning, quickly got dressed in my Yang Xiao Long cosplay from RWBY, and hit the road! My plan was to be there from 9a-1p, but due to a variety of reasons—my wig was to tight, I'd been sick for a week and still felt like death, I was missing my kiddo and feeling guilty for leaving him because he was also under the weather, I felt lonely, I was broke—I wound up only staying for about two hours.
I was bummed and confused. Why was something I usually loved suddenly making me feel so empty and miserable?
The best answer I've been able to come up with is that: I am still transitioning into my new mom-identity, and I'm not perfect.
I realized that I went into Comic Con with all the wrong expectations. It's not just about me anymore. I've got a loving partner and two kids who are also experiencing Comic Con alongside me! In a way, that's actually pretty cool, because it means I always have people to go with! Which means I have new things to look forward to and I need to shift my mind around those!
Instead of focusing on my own cosplay, I think maybe next year I want to try helping our 5yo (who will be 6 by then) create her own cosplay. And maybe I'll even try to plan some time to design my son's costume too, that way I'm still getting to do what I love, but I'm also getting to share that passion with my family. (I'd say I'll also make my partner's costume, but I am but one person, and I barely make my own costume on time, let alone adding three others to my list—sorry if you're reading this, love!)
Something else I get really excited about is the programming, but this year I felt like I couldn't really attend any of them because of a.) limited time, and b.) not wanting to bore the children to death. But, there is TONS of programming for the kids. Plus, if my partner and I are smart about it, perhaps we can take turns with the children, that way we can each get solo stretches if we want to attend a panel or simply just walk on our own. SIDE NOTE: taking a stroller was great because I didn't have to carry our 11mo the entire time, but man was it difficult to maneuver around the crowds with a stroller!
Lastly, I really need to think about how to budget for Comic Con differently next year. This year, when I went on Sunday, I wanted to buy a ton of things for myself, but I knew I'd feel guilty if I didn't buy things for my family so I started focusing on them instead. But the more I saw, the more that price started to add up! I had to get something for my partner, for his daughter, for our kiddo, for my brother... finally I just gave up altogether and decided that no one—including myself—was getting anything this year. Then, the very next day at work, all of my coworkers were talking about the things they bought, and I was so bummed I'd missed out! I don't want to repeat that next year. I want to set a budget for the family, and I think it's important to spoil myself a little. After all, like I said earlier, this is one of the few things I've held onto, so I can't let it go so easily!
Mostly, I wanted to write this piece for me, as a way to reflect on a difficult experience that should've been awesome, but I also wanted to write this for all of the other moms out there who are feeling like they're losing themselves or who have lost joy in things that used to make them happy. Any type of change is difficult, but the role of becoming a mom is a full-person shift, one that takes time to adapt to. It's almost like you're re-learning who you are entirely. Maybe you've lost some things, but you've gained things too. And maybe things that are lost now will return later. Who knows what this journey will bring!
What I want to keep in mind, and what I hope others will try keeping in mind as well, is that we are always adapting and changing, and that as moms there is room for our individual selves within our families. Don't forget that.