There’s a thought that’s been going through my head lately. Since it has to do with kids, Mother’s Day is as good a time as any to spit it out.
Basically, the thought is this: If all the people who had told me how hard it would be having kids could have somehow caused me to experience it and truly feel it for myself before I had them, there’s a really good chance I wouldn’t have had them.
I heard all the warnings. I heard how my life would forever be changed, that I could never go back to life pre-child. That my freedom was gone — physical freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted, financial freedom to spend my own money on myself, even emotional freedom from the constant worry about something or the other that comes with children.
I did listen. I believed them. But I decided I could handle it. I decided it was something I wanted to do anyway (and it was also too late as people only start telling you this stuff when you’re already pregnant).
They were completely right. Motherhood (and probably fatherhood, too) is unrelenting, insanely hard work. The overwhelmingly intense experience of delivering a baby into the world is just the beginning of some bone crushingly difficult experiences.
However, I suspected then, when I had that well-contained life growing inside me, that the folks giving me dire warnings were leaving something out. Parenting is an intense experience, for sure. But part of that intensity is the amount of love, joy and satisfaction that comes from creating a family. Other than when I was a baby and small child myself, I don’t recall ever feeling so loved as I do by my own little ones. Behind every scream of “I need Mummy!” is a declaration of love and trust.
So I’m glad I didn’t really understand what it would be like (and no 10-lb bag of flour would have shown me). I’m glad I couldn’t feel the true sacrifices of motherhood — at least not before I could also feel the true rewards.
I know I’m not alone in struggling to reconcile who I was before I became a Mum with who I find myself being now. Having little kids is tough. It’s very demanding and doesn’t leave you the luxury of much time to ponder your former dreams, ambitions and visions of yourself. But I know I’ll find my balance. And I wouldn’t trade my two little imps — perhaps my greatest creations — for anything. Not even the luxury of going to the bathroom by myself.