I didn’t grow up dreaming of motherhood, and for a while, I constantly questioned my desire to have children. As I approached my thirties, I began to feel some ambivalence, along with a tsunami of societal pressure, but I still wasn’t convinced becoming a mother was a part of my path. Motherhood brought me fear.
My husband and I dated for several years before marrying; we both were happily living our independent and dual lives. Sure, sometimes we talked about children- but we also fiercely enjoyed our freedom and personal identities. Besides, I worked with children in my career. I felt like I was already a mother in so many ways to the thirty children in my classroom.
Motherhood just brought so much fear. I liked my sleep. I liked traveling halfway across the world on a whim to attend a yoga retreat. I liked my clean house full of fragile trinkets. I liked the financial freedom I was provided with in my career. I liked going on “date nights” practically every evening.
On our honeymoon to Mexico, my husband and I stood behind a family of five in the security line at the airport. The baby was shrieking. The two toddlers were ripping toys out of one of their 17 bags, and the dad was shuffling through passports. The mom gave me a half-smile and said, “Go ahead and skip us; we are a hot mess right now.”
My husband and I pranced around them with our slim backpacks. A fair distance away, our eyes met. “Holy smokes, we are never having kids!” we agreed.
Cut to a few years later, when the conversation of having children just kept coming up more and more often. I feared that not choosing motherhood was a myopic decision for myself. There were so many what-ifs about the future, but I had to confront my fears to find growth. We welcomed a third party about a year and a half ago. A mother was born!
Every fear I had was magnified with the responsibility of motherhood. I exchanged sleep, sanity, a clean house, and date nights for the most tremendous combination of joy and turbulence I’ve undertaken thus far in my life.
I think back to my life before children. I had way more time to myself, more dates with my husband, more money, more hobbies, more friends, more vacations, and got way more sleep. I know all those things will revisit my life in due time, however. It’s all temporary.
Instead, I choose to focus on what I’ve gained in motherhood: the strongest bond I’ve ever experienced- with my child and my husband, access to the deepest well of strength, transformable wisdom, and the joy and merriment children so expertly share with us.
Motherhood is everything everyone warned me about, and it’s also everything everyone raved about times a hundred. I feel like I went from being a skeptic to being an ambassador of motherhood overnight! I am that “hot mess” family I saw in the airport several years ago, and I couldn’t be prouder.