I always hesitate to admit that I was never going to be a mom.
It wasn’t on my bucket list, in my goals, or on my radar. It wasn’t just the farthest thing from me, it was completely not going to happen.
Once I became Catholic, and once I knew I would be marrying him, I knew that motherhood was a possibility.
Even so, it was never on my to-do. I hoped, for my husband’s sake, that we would have some kids. But me? No. I didn’t ever once want to have children. (He is as great a father as I thought he would be.)
I don’t have anything against kids, and I never have. I just didn’t want my own kids. In my house. In my area of responsibility. In my every-moment-of-the-day life.
Eight-plus years ago, when we walked through the door with the bucket-basket carseat contraption, we put it down on an end table. And then, going through both our minds, was this gem:
What do you do with a baby? And then how do you handle the toddler? And the preschooler? And life in general?
You know what I wish I’d have known–have believed–that day we came home from the hospital when our oldest was three days old?
Parenting is fun.
I know, I know. There’s the bit about “you can’t break her” and “you won’t ruin her life if xyz” and “don’t overthink” and “use your common sense” and “don’t believe everything others say; rely on your gut.”
All of that too. But as I was thinking of this topic today, I couldn’t help but marvel at how much I enjoy motherhood.
And I’m not just talking about the kids in my house (though they are a blast, don’t get me wrong). The practice of spiritual motherhood (or aunthood–call it what you will) has also taken root in me.
No, it’s not always fun. Sometimes, it’s not even mostly fun. There are stretches when “fun” is about the last descriptor I would use.
There’s nothing saying motherhood has to be fun, or that it should be fun, or that fun is part of the deal. Even so, when I think about this question, I can’t help but realize that it’s the very definition of what I’d like “fun” to include. I’m a better person because I’m a mom. I laugh more. I see more. I appreciate more.
Who knew it would be fun? Not me, that’s for sure.
How about you?
What do you wish you had known as a new mom?
Read more in the Mom to Mom series.
I wish I had known that flexibility is the key to every successful, less-stressed, mother’s life. It took me years to learn to adapt to changes in “the Plan” (read: MY Plan) – which is a nice way of saying I am a control freak and last minute diaper blow-outs were a real problem for me.
I also wish I had known that it takes 30 extra minutes to get out the door per child added to the family. We would have been on time a lot more often when they were babies.
Katie, I KNOW that about the time thing, and yet I still don’t ACT ON IT. Hmmm.
And yeah, good point. Me too all along!
I wish I had known that they grow up so fast! It sounds cliche but it’s so true. My babies are now 15, 12, and 9, and as much as I love watching them grow and blossom into the fine young men that they are, I desperately miss slobbery kisses, mispronounced words, their dependence on me, etc. I miss the smell of their baby heads and baby breath, them snuggling up on my lap (still done by my 9 year old), and yes, I even miss late night feedings and diaper changes. Once those years are over, you don’t get them back.
Good insight, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing it.
And I’m almost there with “appreciating” that aspect…though not quite…
Though I have none of my own, I cared for my folks in my home and was surprised to turn into their parent, amazed I was better at it than one would think. It helped my sense of humor. One day my mother even looked at me and called me Mami! She was very sweet (with the Lord one year this February 16th). My father is the real challenge. I used to think it was all because of the Alzheimer’s and then discovered part of that was him when I said, “You must have driven Grandma crazy!” to which he responded “I haven’t thought of that in years!” Too funny!
My plan was two dogs and a horse ranch in Montana (I’ve never lived outside Ohio) until I met my children’s father. I learned so much from him and his family’s example about loving and caring for babies, toddlers, tweens, teens, young adults … and I was suprised to find that I really enjoy motherhood. I’m so thankful that my plan was not God’s plan for me. Although I sometimes threaten, I wouldn’t trade my family for all the pretty little horses in the world.
Jennifer, we are kindred. 🙂 My husband sounds like he’s much the same as yours. And hey, motherhood IS fun. 🙂