By Rebecca Longman
I had plenty of friends who had young children and, having seen how they’d given up much of their freedom to raise what seemed like ungrateful little monsters, I felt quite confident I didn’t want to take on the same role.
I’d been on many lunch dates with my parent friends; It was almost always lunch because nights out involved a convoluted babysitting, scheduling weeks in advance, can’t get home too late because I’ll be exhausted tomorrow, routine. I always left feeling enormously grateful for the freedom to go where and when I wanted without having to consider someone else’s needs.
Fast forward five years
I’m now 37 and a half. I’m writing this while listening to the TV play trains driving through crossings, having had two nights in a row of being woken at 12, 1, 2, and finally succumbing to hungry wailing at 5:20 am. I can’t remember the last time I had a hot cup of coffee the first time around; I always reheat it in the microwave at least once, usually for too long, so it has that muddy skin top and tastes of nothing but hot water. My house frequently looks like someone came in, pulled everything off my shelves, and made an effort to find every spare bit of floor to place an object, and it’s not unusual for me to clock 20,000 steps a day without ever leaving the house.
I’m now the frazzled role model of two little terrors – an almost-three-year-old and a five-month-old.
Having moved to the US and just got married, only a few months before I wrote that this post, my life was full of possibilities. I planned to see the world with my new hubby, and kids didn’t factor into that equation.
Then, after another few months of living our new life abroad, we became eager to settle. We’d committed to spending our lives together, and now we wanted to build on those lives. The honeymoon period was wearing off, most of our friends had children, and we were a little jealous of those family days out to the park and the zoo, picnics in hand, and children’s laughter filling the air. We realized we were ready for the next step. We wanted to grow our family of two, and my concerns of the things I dreaded about motherhood faded. At least for the time being.
Family planning began
Life became all about what we’d do when our little family grew. We couldn’t imagine life without more than two of us. It took us a year to get pregnant with my first son. We were close to beginning all manner of fertility treatments, and then, by magic, it happened. They say it often goes that way; once you stop trying, the baby finds you. In October of 2017, we welcomed our first little guy into the world.
Did motherhood change me?
Not really. Don’t be fooled; it turned my neat little existence upside down, but I haven’t changed. I re-read the article I wrote five years ago and recognized myself perfectly; I’m still me. I always dread baby sick; it makes me squirm, and I hate having to change my clothes four times a day. I get suitably irritated and frustrated at my toddler who refuses to wear his shoes, or any clothes most days, and I miss full nights of sleep.
I also still have many of the hopes and dreams I had then; to travel the world, write a book, run a business, and build a life with my husband. But now, I want to watch my kids grow into beautiful humans too.
Yes, my boys drive me crazy, and the things I thought I would find annoying I was absolutely right about, but, in many ways, I’ve given in to them. My boys are the most important thing in my life now, and they always will be.
I don’t believe motherhood is for everyone, but it is for me
I miss my old, free life; I don’t think I realized how much freedom I had until it was gone, but I don’t for a minute regret taking that step. Having children isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found ways to adapt. I wouldn’t give up my babies for 20 trips around the world, even though I’d like to see a little more of it once they are big enough to appreciate it!
It turns out, in many ways, motherhood hasn’t changed me, but, in one hugely important way, it has; I now know what it’s like to have to sacrifice yourself for someone else. And now, five years later, and two kids in, I’m unsure if I’m done. I’m hopeful there may be a little girl in my future too…
Rebecca Longman is a coach, podcaster, and writer at http://letslovetowork.com, where she helps parents to create careers they love. Rebecca also owns and runs her content writing business – www.redponder.com. She’s currently in the throes of writing her first book – a collection of interviews and insights about what it means to love your work. Rebecca lives in Connecticut with her husband and two young sons.