There are certain things mothers just aren’t supposed to think, or at least not say out loud. These thoughts can include, but are not limited too, “I wish I could run away,” “What has my life become?” or, “If they say my name one more time I’m going to scream!” We all feel it. We all get it. We’ve all experienced it.
Motherhood is a beautiful and magical experience but it’s not always peaches and cream. Nothing in life is. Are there moments where I wonder, “What would life be like without kids?” Yes! (Sorry, did I answer that too enthusiastically?0
I’ve said, on many occasions, that I became a mother before I was fully prepared for the responsibility. But then there are so many people in life that say, you’re never really ready to have a child. There’s never enough money, enough preparation or a perfectly laid plan. This is probably true, but I would’ve liked a little more time to process the whole thing.
How It All Started
Let me give you a brief rundown of how my life unfolded from age 21 to present. I met my husband three weeks before I turned 21. He is 16 years older than me, had been married twice before and was in the midst of his second divorce. His ex-wife and her four kids (none were my husbands) were still living in the house. He was staying with his parents.
The same week I turned 22, his divorce was finalized and we moved back into the house, which was a disaster, to say the least. It took several months and a ton of elbow grease to get the home into livable condition for us. The following summer, before I turned 23, he proposed. We were married the following November: I was 24. That December he broached the subject of children. He was 40 and never having had children with either of his previous wives, he was concerned. He worried that we wouldn’t get pregnant right away or might face complications. So, I stopped taking my birth control pill in December, figuring, “Hey, this will probably take a while.”
Wrong! We found out in April after the holidays that I was pregnant. We were both excited and nervous. I was 25. It sounds foolish to many when I say that I did not fully understand the weight of what was happening—that in just nine short months my life would be changed forever. My life would no longer be my own. I would be giving up my freedom, spontaneity and overall sanity some days. Why didn’t anybody tell me?
The Constant Struggles
The first few years of my son’s life were most difficult for me. My husband worked as a full-time police officer and owned several businesses. Life was hectic to say the least. And I was left home alone to care for our son—the son I wasn’t ready for. The son my husband wanted.
The Regrets That’s Won’t Go Away
As I reflected on my life prior to motherhood, I had a lot of regrets and feelings about lost opportunities. I never went away to college, my choice. I was only 17 when I graduated high school and the thought of moving away from my family was unappealing to me. I remember hearing of my friends applying to universities in California, Florida and Texas. Some were even traveling out of the country to study and volunteer abroad! I remember thinking then, “What, are they crazy?” Whereas now my thought is, “Wow, what an amazing opportunity.”
I commuted to a four-year college and then went to graduate school in Massachusetts. The program involved distance learning, which meant I spent two 10 day residencies a year at the university. The remainder of the work was done via email and computer. But for those 10 days where I stayed in a gorgeous hotel off-campus, walked through the park each morning to class and indulged in late night dinners and drinks with my fellow scholars, I felt like I was really living life. I was finally doing something for myself. It was thrilling. I felt independent, responsible and strong. It was a brief time in my life, a memory that I hold very close to my heart.
Why Motherhood Is Worth It, No Matter What
So, yes, I can be honest and say that I have mommy moments where I wish I was alone, where I could travel at will, skip dinner, watch reality television and workout at any hour of the day. I could rock out to inappropriate music in the car, walk around naked and be spontaneous. All of those luxuries go out the window when you become a parent. But, they are replaced with other amazing things that I wouldn’t experience if I wasn’t a mother.
Those moments when my son tells me that I’m beautiful or that he loves me more than anyone in the entire world. Or, when he bounds off the bus with his spelling test in his hand, beaming with pride over his 100. When he scores his first goal in soccer or asks me to snuggle with him. Those moments where I watch him sleep and stare in amazement at his brilliance, innocence and kind heart.
I’ve learned to let go of those feelings of regret and resent. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I became a mother for a reason. My son makes me a better, stronger person. And there is always time later in life for adventures that are all my own. In 10 short years my son will be the same age I was when I graduated high school. And maybe he will decide to move away to college. And I hope he does. I want him to experience everything that life has to offer.