The day my son was born was one of the happiest days of my life. It’s true what they say — when you have kids EVERYTHING changes. My priorities certainly shifted and I felt a kind of love that I never imagined was possible, but my life didn’t dramatically change so much that it began revolving around this tiny human.
My son did not become my life, he simply added to it.
Motherhood has always been something I wanted for myself, but it’s not the only thing that I’m passionate about. I want to model for my son what it means to have a life full of diverse experiences, and sometimes that means spending time away from him.
I’m not the mom who has never spent a night away from my kid or dials the babysitter nonstop while at dinner to check on things. I recently traveled out of state to attend a wedding, and I left my son at home with his grandparents. When people at the wedding found out he was left behind, I got sympathetic looks and they asked me how I holding up. Um … I’m fine, and so is he!
Actually, we’re both better off.
I’m grateful for my village full of people who spend quality time with my son, and I believe he’s better off because he’s not constantly at my side. He is independent, confident around strangers, and extremely outgoing. Maybe that’s just his disposition and he’d be that way regardless of how my husband and I choose to parent, but I have to believe the way we’re raising him has something to do with it.
Not only do I believe my son is better off because he’s not the center of my world, but I think I am better off too because you know what? As much as my three-year-old insists that he’ll never leave me, some day he’ll grow up and go out into the world alone. If I only define myself as his mother, the day he leaves my nest will result in a hole too big to ever fill.
Children don’t need to be catered to…
The other day we were discussing planning a multi-family vacation to Europe and someone asked, “But what is there in Europe that will entertain the kids?”
How about learning about other cultures, exploring castles, trying new food? I firmly believe that every trip doesn’t need to be Disney World, and every meal doesn’t need to be macaroni and cheese. I love doing things as a family that will delight my child, but children don’t need to be catered to or constantly entertained. Kids will find their own fun, and sometimes the best way to find the fun is to start with boredom. Disappointment is simply part of life, and it’s important to teach kids how to act in adult settings. If they don’t appreciate it now, they will someday.
My son is one of my favorite people on the planet, but he is not the center of my world.
Motherhood doesn’t define me nor does my career, my marriage, my beliefs or my interests. It’s not that something else is more important than my child; it’s just that no one thing truly defines me.