It all starts out the same. You’re young, you fall in love once or twice and then you get swept off your feet by the man you want to build a life with. You’re happy, he’s happy, your parents are happy, his parents are happy. You have a baby at 25 and another one at 26. And then you decide to move to a foreign country, start over, leave every luxury behind – we’re in love, you say, we can go through anything.
Anything is basically defined as working full time while the children are in daycare, trying to earn a living. Living with your in laws, commuting to work, driving, traveling, while your husband goes to school to earn a Masters Degree. You fail the CPA exam, not because you’re not smart (or so you don’t think) but because you’re exhausted. You spend your weekends on quality time with your children, people think they’re twins because they’re exactly a year apart. And they act like twins. When one does something, the other doesn’t and vice versa. You’re an unconventional mother. Your children don’t have a bedtime because you want to spend as much time with them when you come home from work. You feed them Root Beer in a bottle because it makes them happy, and that’s all you want to accomplish. You’re jealous of your sister in law who makes salsa in her backyard, and who designs her home like someone who should have her own TV show. Your house is a hodgepodge of furniture and stuff. And you work, and you work, and you work. And you give all you have to your children. Your time, your energy, your love, your life. None of the mothers acknowledge you at soccer games or equestrian events because you’re never there. So when you are there, you pretend that you don’t care by keeping yourself busy with fiddling through your purse or playing with your phone. You can’t bake. Discussing recipes just bores you to tears.
Time flies. Your children turn ten and slowly, you and your husband are making it in your careers. And then you get the surprise of your life, you’re pregnant again. This baby, he’s your lucky one. He is born when you have the option to move to a bigger house, buy better cars and hire a full time nanny who even does your laundry. The journey that you’ve taken to get here was difficult. But this baby, oh this baby, you now have more time to spend with him. You’re as unconventional as ever. No bedtime, no milk, more rootbeer. And this time you also take him with you all over the world. You still work crazy hours, but you’re no longer expected to. Slowly, you find yourself getting back to yourself. You’re finally trying to look pretty again. You’re buying more things for yourself. Still saving for college tuition, but letting go a little bit. Your confidence is back, you know you are badass and can handle everything. When you think of that little dingy apartment you had when you first had the children, you smile at yourself and thank God for your blessings.
Your two older children are now done with school. The house feels bigger, emptier. You still have the youngest one, but he’s now a teenager who doesn’t want to be around you. You look to the man sitting on the couch watching TV and you’re trying to figure out who you are, who he is and what the future looks like. You struggle. You travel too much. You want to travel, to get away from home, find yourself. Your career starts to blossom, you take on another one. You make new friends, meet new people. One or two of them turn your life upside down. Because their life is exciting and young but also fleeting. Your husband tells you he’ll wait and that he’ll fight for you. You explain to him that you’re different now, that your expectations have changed. That you need more than just a child rearing partner. He promises to change things and asks you to stay.
And you do. You stay because you love him, and you work on working on yourself. You ask questions, you seek answers. And slowly, you find them. You find them because you want to. Because you’ve now figured out that this is all a journey. That everything happens for a reason. You realize that you needed this. You needed this to fall in love all over again.
And throughout all this, your children have become your best friends. They support you and listen to you, and you’re now able to cry in front of them, show them your weakness. You’ve invested so much in them, they’re trying to find ways to tell you that it’s time for them to give back.
Don’t you ever forget that you’re not just a mother. You’re a woman, a human being with real needs and feelings and emotions. No matter how great you are as a mother, don’t ever lose yourself. You’ll find that the longer you’re lost, the harder it will be to get yourself back.
Remember that motherhood is a journey, a trip that never ends. And that nothing is permanent but change.