I wasn't in a hurry to become a mom. It took five years of dating and five years of marriage to produce one child. We weren't ready. And then, I wasn't ready.
He was ready first. And as much as I wanted to be ready at the exact same time, I wasn't. And as hard as it was to admit, I knew I had to be honest about that.
Here's what's ironic about that--all I've ever wanted was a family. A happy family that stayed together. I've wanted that image in my head since I was a child. But I knew having my own family meant more than adding kids to the mix.
I had to become a mom. And I wasn't sure what that meant. In my 20s, when my life consisted of 50-hour work weeks and after hours beers with friends, I said things like, "I won't put my children before my husband, or my career." And even then--when I had no idea what I was talking about or what it really meant to become a parent--I knew I needed to be ready and willing to create space for children. Space in my home, space in my time and attention, space in my heart.
I needed to get my head straight. My mom used to say, "You have to run your race and find your place."
I knew how to run. I had not found my place.
All I know for sure is this: One day, when I was 30 years old, as I sat in the rocking chair on the front porch of our 1400 square foot house, I was overcome with two feelings. One, that I was home. Two, that I wanted to be a mom. As I sat and rocked, I saw myself in that same chair, in some other time, rocking a baby boy. That baby boy was Dillon.
Today he is 7. And Blake is 3. And Cate is 1.
And still, I don't feel "ready", in the sense that there's never a perfect time for kids. It's a process of making time. And it's a process of deciding, "What do I want my life to be? How do I really want to live?"
I am a mom, a role that I avoided because I worried it would suck me up. I worried I would suck. And sometimes, it does suck me up. And sometimes, I do, indeed, suck at the job.
But being a mom has done something else for me.
It has taught me how to become myself. Those soul-draining, exhausting days have forced me to take a hard look at myself, and decide what is important. Not just what's important to my kids. Not just what's important to my husband. But what's important to me. Showing up for them on the hard days when I want to hand them off to someone else has taught me how to show up for myself.
And I'm not exactly sure how, or why, that is. How I feel more rooted and connected to "me" in the midst of being "mom." Except that maybe, we find our place when we stop running the race.
Each day this week, I'm answering a question by author and writing teacher Kate Hopper. Today's question: In what ways has parenthood shifted your perspective on some aspect (you chose) of your life? You can join me by answering the question on your own blog and placing your link in the box below. Click here for tips.
Or you can answer in the comments.