Being a mom is hard. Being a parent is hard. But is it worth it?….Hellz Yes! Recently I went to get my hair cut (yes, I know same price to get them all cut) and the stylist said…”you know with all the stories I hear about labor and about raising kids I don’t know if I want to even have kids.”
SCREEEECH….stop and back up the bus. As my daughter Ellie would say “uh oh.” I’ve made a severe error…and from the sounds of it so have some other mothers who have taken an hour or two solstice in her styling chair. It seems my humorous monologue about the pains of motherhood, C-section scars (and shelf), sick little girls, smoothie stains on the carpet, poop caught in the prongs of my engagement ring, planning out when I can take a shower, stroller drama and spit up out of the nose and the mouth at the same time (that’s my Gracie – watch out…she’s got talent) has been received as complaining. It isn’t just part of my wanna be stand-up routine. Ladies, of the not yet mother variety, are listening, taking note….and not laughing. They think they can listen to me and other mothers and learn from our mistakes. When the truth is…becoming a mother was no mistake.
Yes, it is true, when both girls are crying during “nap time” and the dog is whining to get out I sometimes do close my eyes and remember a simpler time. A time when I was alone in a house, that was clean, and I could jump in the car and spend the afternoon looking for the perfect pair of shoes. Yes, I do often look across the table at my friend Erin when we are out to eat and think, “I remember when the only demand I had at home was to let the dog out.” But I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything. And I need to start adding that to my “stand-up” routine.
Being a mom has made me a better person. Being a mom has given me a more fulfilling life. Everywhere I look in magazines, TV, movies (ok, who am I kidding…I haven’t been to a movie in forever) women are being told that we are entitled to a great body, a better job, more love, less stress, endless energy. There is nothing wrong with any of these things but the narrow minded pursuit of them drives us inward. Time and energy becomes focused on spa days, updating our facebook status, getaways with the girlfriends, and other activities that have become distractions. The media and popular culture vows that by identifying and focusing in on our own needs we will find empowerment. But this really has just created a culture of comparison, discontent and distraction – none of which are going to get me any closer to empowerment.
The act of mothering – caring for, teaching and nurturing – has just the opposite effect. It emboldens us with confidence, contentment and purpose.
This is the message that I should be sharing in the styling chair, when I’m out for coffee, when I chat with the cashier. When you become a mother you lose yourself – not in a negative, “I never get to eat an uninterrupted meal, go potty by myself, paint my nails or talk on the phone uninterrupted” way. When you become a mother you lose yourself because you are filled with so much love and care for another being. A being that you would do anything for, a being that you made, a being that makes life wildly more fun, fulfilling and fruitful.