I took a longer road to motherhood than most friends from my childhood. Just like many of them, I married relatively early at 22. However, we did not want children right away. 5 years went by, we relocated to the United States, found jobs, got more settled, and then my then-husband wanted to have kids. Suddenly I had to look deep inside and realize that I am not ready for kids... with him. We got divorced and I went on to a merry life of a single woman in New York City. I had relationships, and one of them led to a pregnancy. I was devastated when that pregnancy ended in miscarriage, but, in the hindsight, this was probably a very good thing. I was not really ready to commit to having a family then. It took me almost 10 years of independent life before it happened.
I met my husband and we dated for 3 years before he proposed to me. We were trying to set the date for our wedding when I found out that I was pregnant. Being an only child, I had zero experience with kids before I was about to have my own, so I did what I always do when I want to learn something new. I read a lot of parenting books.
All of them basically said that parenting is hard work, but, honestly, I did not find it that hard. Perhaps it's because parenting came at the right time in my life when I was emotionally and financially ready for it. Perhaps it was because of a unique situation in our family. My husband stayed at home with our child until she was about 20 months while I returned to my full time position once she turned 3 months old. Perhaps it was because we were blessed with a healthy and a mellow child and I did not really mind waking up a couple times a night to nurse her. Perhaps it was because we decided not to add another child to our happy little world. There can be many reasons for it, but looking back at the last 9 years, I don't remember being overwhelmed, exhausted, and anxious even though I am sure I was all that at times. However, these feelings just simply... evaporated, and now I feel content and happy.
I don't need gifts for Mother's Day, because parenting itself proved to be an unexpected gift - a gift of unconditional love, a gift of discovering the world again through the eyes of my child, a gift of finding new things to enjoy and a gift of discovering new strengths in myself I did not know I had. I am so grateful that I was blessed with this gift that I am ready to forego all the fancy Mother's Day gifts in eternity. However, I am still curious to see what my Smarty made for me this year :)
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