Have you ever felt that being a mother has changed you in ways that you couldn’t imagine?
I know I have.
Rewind to the 1990’s, I was a carefree kind a gal. I didn’t have a short fuse. I wasn’t like that pressure cooker waiting to burst. I was patient, jovial, happy go lucky as some may say. Life revolved around home, college, friends, movie theaters and such. I did whatever I pleased under the careful vigilance of my parents. There was no such thing as worry. Life was a carnival.
Fast forward to 2000, career and marriage happened. Love was in the air! I was on top of my game both in marriage and career. I was hitting all the right notes with my bosses and my husband; climbing the corporate and domestic ladder. I was good at my work and felt on top of the world. I was eating right, working out, looking fit and feeling great. My husband and I had the best moments travelling together, eating whatever and whenever we pleased and living the so-called high life. I had the power to buy the latest and greatest. Life couldn’t get any better. So I thought!
Into the late 2000’s motherhood followed. And it changed my personality completely. From patient to impatient, from carefree to always worried, from happy go lucky to can you just leave me alone, became my new way of dealing with life in general. I started succumbing to an unhealthy lifestyle and hardly endeavored to get help for anything. The first year was tough. It was as if my whole world was coming crashing down.
And then I would see my other mommy friends absolutely rocking motherhood. What I was before was what they were now. They were on top of their game. They took up their role as a fish takes to water. It was almost like they were born to be mothers.
And here I felt like I was struggling. Struggling with feeding, cleaning, sleeping, playing, cooking and just trying to keep the house and my sanity together.
I couldn’t accept the fact that I wasn’t good at this thing called being a mom. I felt dejected. I was appalled that my once go-getter personality was failing me for the most precious role of my life. And on top of that to deal with mental and physical changes in the body was something I wasn’t prepared to accept. Heck I thought I would be like those moms on the cover of parenting magazines and TV advertisements, always happy and picture perfect.
And then suddenly like a moment of epiphany, I realized one day that, all these years prior to the birth of my little one, I was living just for myself. Everything I did, I did to please myself. And now, motherhood was forcing me to do just the opposite. Live for my little one. I was being forced out of my conditioned way of living my own terms and no wonder I was failing. I was good at things that I did for myself and now I had to learn to be good at doing things for my daughter. I had to learn selflessness, I had to learn empathy and above all learn to not judge and accept my imperfections.
In the outside world we are constantly judged right from school to college and the corporate world. Sometimes marriage leaves no leaf unturned in passing ultimate judgments in shallow hopes of defining norms for a perfect wife.
And then motherhood happens and we struggle. Assuming we are being judged. Am I a good mother? But guess what; for our little one, we are the best mother! We may not make the perfect pancake, we may not be the best dressed, we may not have the perfect figure, but to our little one we are nothing short of perfect. And that’s real love.
And so if motherhood is meant to be a struggle, so be it. But a sweet struggle. All those sleepless nights, the feeding battles, the umpteen diaper changes and now the endless homework sessions, yes the feeding battles continue and the occasional temper tantrums are working like a chisel trying to shape me into a mother I am beginning to love today.
The process is painful, agonizing and brutal at times. Perhaps the most challenging job ever. But is it worth it? Absolutely, perhaps a hundred times over.
What 20 years of college, corporate and marriage altogether haven’t taught me about life, motherhood has in just 6 years and the learning and growing continues.
It doesn’t pay a thing, but I still get showered with the latest and greatest.
The latest and the greatest hugs and kisses! The occasional “I love you and Mommy you are the best” are a bonus.
My little one has added color to the otherwise black and white life we were living. A life that revolved around work, home, and some other places in between.
And the reason I write this today is because, if there are any mothers out there who have felt this way, I kid you not, you are not alone.
You may have experienced success in different areas in life and so when motherhood happens it becomes harder to transition and accept that we are going to fail, falter and flicker. The struggle seems trying at times and a sense of hopelessness ensues.
But lets remember this, motherhood is not like a one size fits all type of clothing. It comes in all sizes large, medium, small and such. Each of us has to pick what size suits us.
Some days may be a mix match of all sizes. And some days nothing might fit right. And its ok! It is our journey and not a race to be won.
And so, don’t restrict yourself to a particular idea of motherhood, because we are all different.
But the one thing that is common is the pain; pain that lasted only a few hours during labor but the one that will last a lifetime during our tenure as mothers; pain that will slowly transform to unconditional love as we allow ourselves to chisel away which each struggle motherhood brings our way.