This is a love letter to all my childless friends who are yearning desperately for children. I love you and I understand this yearning. And while you wait for the day when your children arrive (if they arrive), here something to ponder:
Having children can be the most wonderful, heart-opening experience (at least it has been for me), and it can also be the most difficult, hair-raising, hair-yanking-out, going-bald challenges you will ever face.
Before I became a mother, I had often heard it said that, Your life will never be the same and Your life will never be your own anymore. When I heard those things, I thought, No problem, I can handle that.
But there are days were I couldn't and where I didn't, because I had no concept of what I was getting myself into.
It was the deep, dark secret that no one told you about before you crossed over to the other side; after it was too late to turn back.
§ I had no idea how exhausted I would be.
§ I had no idea that teething could be so painful...for me.
§ I had no idea the worry I would feel when our child got sick,
especially with a "new" sort of illness that we had no experience with.
§ I had no idea how much my buttons would and could get pushed and how crazy it would make me.
§ I had no idea that I would get hit, bitten, spit on, scratched, and kicked so much, by this little person I love so much.
§ I had no idea that -- even though I swore high and low that I wouldn't -- I would spank our child (though that really didn't help matters).
§ I had no idea how much I would scream.
§ I had no idea how angry I would get.
§ I had no idea what a lunatic I could become.
§ I had no idea how much I would beat myself up for all the ways I thought I messed up as a mother and for all the ways I thought I could do better.
§ I had no idea that a child could make such a scene in public.
§ I had no idea how much pressure people would put on me to spank our kid, when he acted up in public (at least in France).
§ I had no idea how much others would meddle in my parenting style, increasing the pressure and the self-doubt.
§ I had no idea that I would feel like I was the only mother who didn't have a grip on her child.
(Not true. Other mothers lose their minds just as much as I do).
§ I had no idea how stressful it could be to feed your child, when suddenly all the foods he loved, he now refuses.
§ I had no idea how difficult it could be when your child is sick and refuses even the sugary homeopathic granules that dissolve under the tongue.
§ I had no idea how difficult it could be to get your child to put on his pajama bottoms, or his sweater, or his shoes, or his socks, or his gloves, or his bonnet, or his hat, or his shirt, or a clean shirt, for that matter. Or to brush his teeth, or to use the toilet before going to sleep. Or to get in his car seat.
§ I had no idea how difficult it would be to have a normal conversation on the phone.
§ I had no idea how much work it would be to get the things done that I wanted to get done.
§ I had no idea how much mess could be made, and how much cleaning I would be doing for this mess that I didn't create.
§I had no idea how little I knew about child-rearing and how much trouble it would cause me.
§ I had no idea that a vacation with a child is not a vacation.
And on and on.
I am not complaining. I am just saying it as it is for me, and for many mothers I see around me.
I love our son more than I ever imagined I could love him. I am growing as a human being in ways that I never thought I could or would. (Yogi Bhajan says there are two ways to reach enlightenment, one is to get up early in the morning and do yoga, and the other is, to become a mother.) I am gaining more and better tools that help me stay more centered. And yet, there are days were we -- son and mother --have those meltdowns that seem insurmountable.
And so, while you wait for the day that you yourself become a mother, ENJOY your time. Enjoy each precious moment you have to lounge and linger in any way that you choose. Enjoy your quiet time. Enjoy the freedom you have. Enjoy this very moment for exactly how it is.
I do. It's just different.