It's a few days into May and I'm sure you've been seeing Mother's Day as a hot topic on any media outlet you frequent. Well, I'm not one to miss out on this chance!
I always knew I would be a mother as long as fate and nature allowed. It's hard to remember what I thought that would look like. I didn't think it would be easy, but I didn't know about the richness that choice would bring into my life. I certainly didn't expect the lessons and growth that I'd gain from motherhood. So here are my biggest lessons (to date.)
1. I learned to appreciate my parents more. After #1 was born, I couldn't believe the people in the hospital were letting us take this precious thing home with us-alone. Didn't they know I'd never really done this before?! It felt like we needed a few more training days or months before we should be out on our own (although I didn't really want to stay in the hospital any longer than I already had.) Later, I realized my parents were even younger than I was when they had me. I started to wonder if they ever had those my-head-is-going-to-explode-"What am I doing?!" moments. I also started to understand the depths of love from a parent. I always knew my parents loved me, but until I had a child of my own, didn't fully understand it.
2. I learned to let go of the way I think things are going to go. This was a big one for me. I had more or less been the master of my days until I had a child. But when #1 came along, I started to understand that sometimes days felt easy-like I was born to do this mothering thing. Some days I went on long walks and only came back because I didn't want to leave my poor husband stuck alone with a screaming baby forever. I didn't get to pick which days were going to take route A and which would take route B. I just counted my lucky stars on the easy days and tried really hard to remember them on the hard days. Since then, I've gained more coping tools. I've learned to be present for my toddler when he's having a rough time. And how to protect myself from getting overwhelmed on the days when the two kids take turns crying. Most importantly, I've learned to love and accept myself and my kids in the rough times as much as I do in the happy/funny/sweet times/easy times.
3. I've learned to value myself in a new way. I was recently talking to a friend and mentioned that I was taking a very high quality supplement because I'm breastfeeding. He said "You should be getting your best nutrition no matter what." He's totally right! I'm worth that supplement on my own because it helps me feel good and helps my body work the way it's supposed to. That in itself is reason enough to take it-not just for my kids. So I've started asking myself "Would I do it for my kids?" when faced with a decision concerning myself. After all, I was held in this high regard by my parents. They probably wanted me to develop a lifetime of value for myself just as I want my children to do. I'm working on it, Mom and Dad.
4. I have an ingrained hierarchy of food based upon what is worth eating off the floor after m child drops it and what isn't. Avocado is worth it. Scrambled eggs are not. I once caught myself eating food off my son's cheek after he had spit it out just so I wouldn't have to clean it off another surface later. I was unwittingly doing this in front of company.
So those are my favorite mothering lessons thus far. What are yours?