I always knew I wanted to be a mother. It was never a question. I knew it was part of my destiny even as a young girl and I truly couldn’t wait.
A young bride of 25 (probably too young) and expecting my first baby at 28. This was exactly what I wanted. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you’re necessarily ready for it – or are you and just haven’t recognized it yet?
I love quotes and of the many that resonate with me, I refer to this one more often than not, You attract what you’re ready for. Think about that for a moment. This has proved true over and over again in my life.
Looking back 20 years ago, I originally thought that I was not ready to be somebody’s mother. I was physically and financially capable but emotionally, I was a wreck. I was lacking in confidence, afraid to set boundaries and ultimately too self-absorbed. I’ll never forget six weeks postpartum I was sitting at my parents’ house and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I would never again be free. The place I most missed this freedom was in my mind. There was forever going to be a place in my mind that was taken up by my child(ren). Are they fed, rested, healthy, emotionally well-adjusted, happy, educated, polite, secure, at peace and the list is and will forever be endless. This was a hard pill to swallow and a new reality that I wasn’t ready to face.
From that moment onward my life was a paradox. I had never loved something/someone more that this baby. I actually missed her while she slept and would watch her little chest rise and fall while she napped. At the same time, I couldn’t believe how all-encompassing this mother gig was. Every moment of my life was filled with baby. The duality of my emotional state was mind-boggling. I wanted to care for my baby all day everyday every bit as much as I wanted to hit the clubs with my girlfriends. What was wrong with me?
For many years I struggled with the two me’s. The ‘ mother’ me and the ‘I want to be free’ me and it was challenging at best to find a balance. I could bring the role of my husband into all of this struggle but ultimately it was about me. If you put today’s me in that younger me’s place, the poor bastard wouldn’t have seen what hit him – boundaries would have been set, limits established and some semblance of balance achieved. Emotionally, I was unprepared to take on this role. I lost myself in the sea of motherhood.
My baby girl brought me much joy and laughter and life satisfaction. I so enjoyed being her mother. At the same time, I resented the fact that I had lost my freedom and although that sounds harsh and immature, it was the truth. When I would sit at my parents’ house and complain about the trials of parenthood my father would ask me, “Isn’t this what you wanted?”. The question was dead on. How could something I wanted so badly be so difficult? This inner-conflict eventually led to feelings of guilt. Guilt that I wasn’t doing this job well enough and guilt that I should be more grateful that I was blessed with a healthy baby. I know now that guilt is wasted energy but there was no telling that to the fledgling mother that I was. The guilt ate me alive.
Fast forward three years and I was blessed a second time with a healthy baby boy. There I was, a mother of two – a three-year old and a newborn and then life just went on auto-pilot. Life took over. There were lullabies, books, diapers, snacks, naps, toys, baths, car seats, bedtime, birthdays, play dates, swimming lessons, parks, tantrums, tears, giggles, fears, mom-tot playgroups, colds, fevers, earaches, runny noses, vaccinations, doctor visits, soccer games, dance classes, hockey tournaments, vacations, pre-schools, elementary schools, high schools,graduation, college, university applications, the request to move downtown and all of a sudden before I knew it and before I was ready, in the blink of an eye…BOOM… the babies were gone (cricket sounds in background). Funny not funny.
There before me stood a vibrant, beautiful, intelligent, outspoken, strong 19-year-old woman and a smart, handsome, motivated, intuitive young man who I had to go on my tiptoes to hug and kiss. How and when did this happen?
I am so very proud of these humans I made. They are my everything. Their well-being is the first and last thing I think about everyday of my life. I used to say that I was not sure how they turned out so fabulous with me as their mom. Now I know now that I was the mom they needed.
You see, my children brought me on this crazy ride called ‘Motherhood’. Man do you ever need courage to ride this ride! This is the most exciting ride in the park so far. It goes up and down and up and down and up and down and it curves and it twists and it flips you upside down, makes you nauseous and even goes through dark tunnels that are so scary and you think you won’t come out. You do come out though. There are lulls in the ride. Beautiful lulls where you can take the time to feel the rumbling beneath you and a feeling of satisfaction envelopes you and you realize that the price of this ride was worth every emotional dollar you spent on it.
These babies of mine put up with my crazy antics on this ride. They loved me and looked to me for comfort, guidance and security and I loved them back and gave them all I had to give. I was honest with them every step of the way. I can look back now with confidence and see that ultimately it was this honesty that I shared with these little people that fostered growth for them and for me. I let them know when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was mad and when I needed a break. I apologized to them when I messed up and I believe as a result, they always knew they were my priority and that they were loved. I knew I had done my job when one day I asked each of them who they felt was my favourite child and they both unequivocally answered, “ME!!”.
So, do we attract what we’re ready for? Yes we do even if it is not obvious at the time. I was ready to be a mother. I was ready to be their mother. Although the internal struggle for emotional balance was going on through it all, I loved them and will continue to love them with all I have and they feel that. Let’s be honest, the internal struggle for emotional balance never ends.