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.