Thursday, October 13, 2011

Motherhood's Surprises

Motherhood is full of surprises. Before becoming a mom, how could I know how wildly in love I would become with my little ones? How could I know how easy it would be to give up a successful career and business to raise my children? How could I know how much I would love mothering, me who had never held a baby for longer than five minutes let alone spent much time with one.

Still, it's not completely unexpected that motherhood--parenthood--would broaden our capacity to love and nurture, and alter our perspectives and values. We had all, I'm sure, heard rumblings about how "life would never be the same" after welcoming children, and about the power of unconditional love to change us forever.

While some of motherhood's surprises may have been half-anticipated, there are a few that were not. One of my biggest surprises was realizing how physical mothering is. Chasing three kids under five around the city, and keeping up with general homemaking tasks, make these daily "work-outs" seem far more strenuous than any of my earlier days of competitive running. I also didn't fully realize how mothering would challenge my strengths and accentuate my weaknesses. I didn't realize that my moods would be correlated to whether or not my toddler ate a green vegetable. I didn't realize that I would relish the scents of wet cloth diapers or milk-stained shirts or freshly-bathed babes. I didn't realize that I would fall in love with the work of it: with the meal-making, with the bum-wiping, with the ouch-soothing; with the organizing and the planning and the peace-making. I didn't realize how much there would be to learn, to practice, to strive toward.

Behind all that laundry, and those dishes, and the tantrums, and the messes, I am most surprised to discover how much joy mothering brings and what a gift it is to share my days with three sweet treasures.

8 comments:

  1. That's so funny...I absolutely love the smell of Carrick's stinky, chewed hands. If I smelled that spit smell on anyone else, it would repulse me, but I am always sniffing his hands because for whatever odd reason, I like it on him!

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  2. I know, Angie, isn't it funny how that works?!

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  3. Thanks for this post - I've been reading your blog regularly because we are also hoping to stay in the city once we have kids. I'm amazed at how positive your blog is - I was wondering if you have any thoughts not just on the positive aspects of being a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom, but the challenges and difficult parts as well. Do you miss your career? Do you have thoughts on what you plan to do once your kids are more independent, or even out of the house? I'm genuinely curious about this - your stories make me want to commit even more to our hope to stay in the city and these are some of the questions I struggle with myself.

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  4. Anon, thanks for your post and for visiting the blog.

    Certainly we moms have bad days and tough moments, but for the most part being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom has surpassed my expectations of what I thought motherhood would be. I am very lucky that, even though my husband travels out of town for work all week, I have loving family members who live close by and others who visit regularly to give me breaks and help me step back from the dailyness. I also have an extraordinary husband who takes over when he is home, allowing me space to exhale.

    I don't miss my career at all, but I had a nice long run of it and now enjoy working on mastering homemaking things like cooking, baking, and knitting--and personal pursuits like writing--in addition to working daily on enhancing my overall mothering skills.

    Raising kids in the city is incredible, allowing for lots of social interactions for us moms, cultural and educational experiences for our kids, variety and excitement. I hope you will visit the blog again and keep us posted about your city parenting journey!

    All my best,
    Kerry

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  5. This is beautifully expressed!

    I was void of children for the first 19 years of my marriage and lived quite contently, yet it wasn't until I was blessed with my twins almost 3 years ago, that I realized my TRUE purpose in life. It has changed the way I view the world in every aspect. You're so right, because it has also shown me my weaknesses and strengths as a mother and as a wife...and as a person living in this world. I've become more aware of self, of my community and of the world in general...I feel truly blessed and entirely grateful for the ability to be a mom!!!

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  6. Thanks for your thoughts Kerry! I will definitely keep reading! I think my biggest worry is that if I decide to leave work for a long period of time, that I won't be able to get back into the workforce in the same way later, given that we live in such a competitive city where it feels sometimes like if you don't have continuous years of awesome experience, you may as well give up. I'm overstating things a bit, but that's how it seems sometimes. Thank you again for your blog! (anon from above)

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  7. @ Maritza - thanks so much for your comment! It sounds like you are savoring motherhood's gifts. I hope we see you again soon at park day! -Kerry

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  8. Anon - you bring up some important points about a mom's re-entry into the workplace after emerging from stay-at-home status.

    I was just talking about this with a couple of friends yesterday who are wondering the same thing. It's definitely something to be thoughtful about-- and then there is always the possibility that new career opportunities may emerge along the way that may have otherwise not been discovered....

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns, and please stay in touch!

    -Kerry

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