Growing up, I never looked at marriage and children as the ultimate goal in my life. The truth is, I never really wanted any of it. I enjoyed being young and single, and my life was fabulous the way it was. I wanted to run free like a horse in the wild, and didn’t see the point of adding any ties to my life that would prevent me from doing so.
The process of appreciating motherhood was long in the making. It took two decades for me to finally look forward to starting a family and becoming the mom that I am. Today, I can’t help but appreciate this process, as I can now enjoy the best of what parenting has to offer.
- 8 ridiculous thoughts that crossed my mind when I was giving birth
- Why I hate for my daughter to call me by my first name
- What is a perfect mom? I still don’t get it
- Why taking a sabbatical year was the best decision for me today
- The reasons why non-parents shouldn’t give advice to parents
Phase 1: The early teen years
I was thirteen when I agreed with a couple of friends, following an argument with some boys in our class, that we would never get married or have kids in our lives. In a world where everyone’s dying for a boring romance, marriage and kids, I thought there was nothing more exclusive than being single and independent.
I loved the idea of having a solo life and embraced it immediately.
I also liked the idea enough to defend it, protect it, and ensure it was properly implemented in my adult life – Little did I know that life had different plans for me: Ironically, I was the first of these girls to get married and start a family.
Phase 2: The late teen years
A few years after this discussion, I became a teenager faithful to her species: You could count on one hand the few things that I liked. My list included hating the whole universe, a strange fashion sense, pretending to smoke cigarettes, and reading.
Marriage and kids were not on my list.
While for some girls the idea of starting a family was a life target, for my teenage self it was a downgrade.
It was retro.
Marriage was meant for lost souls who wander in the dark looking for a purpose in life, but I wasn’t one of them as I had a purpose. I had planned my entire life and knew exactly what I wanted: I was going to turn into an academician, a writer, or someone who was highly intellectual and who lived in a house full of books. I would meet a guy who would be as equally intellectual as I was and who would appreciate being independent (which meant living in his own apartment and letting me enjoy some space of my own). We would meet everyday, share ideas, write and not have kids.
The fun life, right?
Phase 3: The college years
It didn’t take long before my rigid life plan went by the wayside. To start with, I chose to study hotel management, and let’s just say that hotels and the hospitality industry are not the most highly academic environments you can find.
By the time I turned into a college student, life was more relaxed. I was done with my teenage drama and with hating the whole universe. I was happy, optimistic and my perspective of the world had changed. This meant that I no longer thought that starting a family was a lame plan, but instead one that would materialize sometime in the (very) distant future – probably when I would be over thirty, an age when people stop being fun and fabulous and can finally settle into having a routine and boring life.
Phase 4: The fresh graduate
Here are some things that I love about fresh graduates: They think that the world revolves around them, that every single company is dying to hire them, and that they will become managers within two years following their graduation.
They believe that nothing and no one can stand in their way. That is, until they meet someone who pops the little balloon in their heads and brings them back down to planet earth.
The fall is tragic because the illusion is all-encompassing, but by this point those fresh graduates turn into mature adults who are ready to face the real world with the best it has to offer: A career, friends, roommates, a balanced social life, romance and everything that my teen self hated.
That’s how my life began after my graduation, and that’s also when I got to meet a really special guy who I would chose to settle down and start a boring life with – and also with whom I would start a family.
Phase 5: The engagement
After dating for a few years, I knew things were getting serious and I started preparing myself for what was coming next: Married life and kids. By that time, the idea of starting a family was no longer a downgrade, but rather like the natural next step in our relationship.
That’s when I started observing kids and their parents around me and making mental notes on how I would be raising my own family (the smartest, funniest, coolest ones in town, of course).
Over time, I had collected so many mental notes that I was sure that parenting was meant for me. I knew what I wanted, and I was sure I was going to succeed in it. I thought I knew so much that I permitted myself to comment and criticize parents when I felt that their approaches didn’t meet my standards of perfection.
Would my teenage self have liked this new version of myself? I doubt it, but I couldn’t care less.
Phase 6: The wake-up call
After taking mental notes for several years, I finally turned into a mom and got the chance to finally put in place the skills that I had planned for so long. Needless to say, motherhood seen from the inside looks nothing like when observed from the outside.
That’s when another balloon popped in my head and I once again fell back to reality. In falling this time around, I learned how to handle my new role based on my baby’s needs. I eventually had to revise and toss most of my mental notes, which helped me appreciate parenthood from a fresh and new perspective.
And then it hit me.
Maybe I didn’t drift away from being the teenager that I was. Maybe all I wanted was just some reassurance that marriage, kids and family wouldn’t break me, or turn me into someone I wouldn’t approve of. Maybe the problem was just the fear of losing control over my life.
Regardless, if my teenage self had to face my adult self today, I am sure she wouldn’t disapprove of the woman I have become. And that’s how I finally got to appreciate being the mom that I am today.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy
Liked it? Pin it and save it for later