My son turned 1 on Easter and since then I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve learned in my first year of motherhood. My life has totally changed. The things I think about are different, the things I worry about are different; my focus has changed from myself to my family.
Being married with no kids is a lot easier than being married with kids – you just worry and think all about yourself. Before our son was born I was working outside the home. I’m so glad I don’t do that anymore! As I think back to that time, I can’t really remember doing anything worthwhile. I did my job, I came home, I did stuff for me, I went to bed. It was a very self-centered life. I didn’t really do anything that mattered to anybody but me.
The first thing that changed when my son was born was that I felt like I was really doing something worthwhile. I think it would be very difficult for me to go back to work because there are very few jobs that are really worthwhile! I think about what I did all day, and it was interesting and it was helping people, but is anyone’s life better now, a year later, because of it? I don’t think so.
So in my first year of motherhood, I’ve learned that motherhood is one of those few jobs that really makes a difference one, two, five, ten, fifty years from now. That’s a pretty unique characteristic of motherhood that you can’t say about most jobs.
I really believe this, but remembering that I believe it during the grind of the day is tough. When, at the end of the day, I feel that I have accomplished absolutely NOTHING, with my son or otherwise, getting discouraged is easy to do. So I’ve learned that with motherhood, “productivity” cannot be measured or even detected sometimes. How much I visibly accomplish in a day is no indication of my success as a mother – another unique characteristic of motherhood.
I’ve learned that having ambitions and goals as a woman is important in my role as a mother. My children need to see their mother enjoying herself, pursuing hobbies, and living with balance. Mothers should not give up their own personality completely, but should learn to balance motherhood with womanhood and wifehood. All three roles are important and should be present in equal portions – no one role should outweigh the others.
Finally, I’ve learned that life was meant to be challenging. My life is more rich and full now than ever before because it’s challenging! My highs are higher, and I feel an overall higher sense of happiness in my life. Motherhood has tried and strengthened my character.
So hooray for all you mothers who have the strength and courage to take the plunge into motherhood and do the most difficult and most important job in the world – the job with the longest hours and the least amount of recognition. What you are doing is important and it matters more than anything else you could be doing right now.
[top photo from allposters.com – print by Essud Fungcap
bottom photo from allposters.com – print by Louis Toffoli]