Would we have chosen to have kids, had we known what we were getting into?
My husband and I got married young. We were 22. We knew we didn’t have life figured out, but decided to take on the world together. One thing we did know, back then, was that we wanted to have kids.
For me, it felt like a very far-off someday. I wanted to travel, get my career underway and spend time as a couple before we added to the mix. I was in no rush.
My family, on the other hand, was in more of a hurry. Thankfully, no amount of good-intentioned coaxing – the initial casual questions (“So, are you talking about kids yet?”), the later, more insistent ones (“When are you having kids? Are you ever going to have kids?”), then finally the half-joking offers to give us instructional DVDs (“Do you need help to know how it’s done?”) – led us to start down that path until we were ready.
But in our early days I just didn’t feel drawn to motherhood.
I remember our first anniversary when Chris and I drove down to Walt Disney World. We were on the monorail and watched in horror as a little kid whined and complained, all while his nose was running into the chocolate ice cream that was smeared all over his face. Definitely not let’s-make-a-baby material.
I also remember a get-together where family friends were visiting with their two young girls. It was time for everyone to eat, and our friends didn’t sit down for at least 20 minutes – they were busy chasing their girls, trying to get them to sit down, feed them, get them whatever they needed before they could even begin to think about themselves. I was exhausted just watching.
And I remember wondering, why would anyone choose that? They can’t even relax.
So it came as a bit of a surprise one day, 12 years later, when I realized I wanted to be a mom. It wasn’t even a matter of my “clock ticking,” I just felt ready. And Chris was all for it.
So… 13 years into our marriage, we were fortunate to welcome our first child into the world. And now we have two awesome little boys.
It’s an amazing thing, being a mom. It’s more incredible, humbling, scary, exciting and exhausting than I ever – in a million years – would have imagined. People can tell you what it’s like until they’re blue in the face, but until you’ve experienced it, you can’t really, fully know.
And I wouldn’t change any of it. (Well, except maybe to get more sleep).
It’s bizarre. As a mom you accept things from your kids that you wouldn’t take from anyone else. And then you come back for more.
I’ve been peed on. Pooed on. Vomited on. I’ve had toy cars thrown at my head. I’ve had food thrown at my head. I’ve almost had the hair pulled out of my head. Our furniture is more “distressed” than we ever intended. I’ve been physically exhausted to the point of being in a mental fog. Emotionally exhausted. Zombie-like exhausted. For several months straight.
Who takes this kind of treatment?!
We do. The moms. And we do it with a shocking intensity of love.
But oh, the rewards…
The sweet, chubby arms wrapped tightly around me in a wordless expression of love. The face that lights up when I enter the room. The giggles. The first – and all the following – times I’ve heard “I love you, Mommy.” The life wisdom that comes, by complete surprise, from my little ones.
The fact that I’m learning so much more from my kids than I could ever hope to teach them. The fact that being a mom has made me a better – and stronger – person.
The fact that they’ve expanded my heart.
I firmly believe that being a mom is the toughest, most rewarding role a person could hold. In this role you impact your kids, and countless others in your kids’ futures, through the values you teach. And while you do everything you do, you’re expected to be sensitive yet need to be a pillar of strength.
But you know what? I’ll handle the pee, vomit and the rest of it, because to be honest, I have the sweeter end of the deal. I love being a mom. And I’m so grateful.
Kudos to all you moms out there – especially my Mom and my Mother-in-Law. For everything you do, you are amazing.