During my first pregnancy, I dreamt of what motherhood would look like. I had many great examples growing up, from my own mother, to my many aunts, and both of my grandmothers. I dreamt of afternoons in the park with picnic lunches and hours of playing on the swings. I thought of long conversations while sitting outside and eating ice cream. I imagined Friday night movie nights, with us all watching a fun movie we all enjoyed.
Then I had my first kid, a boy. I loved him so much, and continued to make plans and have dreams. Since I worked long days, there were few afternoons in the park and picnic lunches, but movie nights were pretty fun. Then I had my second son. And all the bubbles burst! I had realized that I had mislead myself in several ways as to what motherhood would be like.
- “Boys are easier than girls!”: This is an outright lie! When I found out my first child was to be a son, A LOT of people told me boys were easier than girls. Well, as a mother of two boys, I’m still waiting for this to be true. To illustrate my point, let me give you an example of one of my evenings out. A couple of years ago we went to a really nice restaurant for my mom’s birthday. While my sister’s daughters (one which is only 8 months older than my son) sat nicely with their coloring books, my son and I spent more than half the night in the bathroom, trying to get him to sit down and be calm. If boys seem to be easier than girls, I think its just that by the time girls get hard, you’re so used to getting after your boy, it seems like he’s easier. He’s not. You’re just used to dealing with it.
- “Good, consistent discipline will easily correct my kid’s behavior”: I knew that as a parent I would need to correct my child. I knew that I would need to help my kids understand the differences between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. I didn’t count on how many times I would have to correct my child on the SAME behavior. There are days I feel like I tell my kids to calm down a thousand times, and nothing changes. There are days I feel like I finally get through to them, only to have the behavior show up a day later. These are the times I remind myself that parenthood is a marathon (see my post about my #motherhoodmatras!), and to be patient. My sons need an example of love and patience if I am expect them to have these same characteristics.
- “Motherhood will not change me. My life will be the same with kids”: I was sooooo wrong on this one. I lived my life prior to kids my way. I never let anyone really affect me or rock my self confidence. I saw children the same way. Though people told me I would change, I really couldn’t understand why they would. I don’t think you can really understand how children will change you until you have them. Prior to kids, I didn’t care how much travel my job required. Prior to kids, I would spend my nights binge watching anything I wanted. Prior to kids, I tried to find different ways to keep myself busy. Once I had kids everything changed! The important things didn’t (like the importance of my husband), but I no longer wanted to travel, and my nights were spent focusing on my family. My life became full of raising my children with my husband. My career was no longer my focus, only something that provided a comfortable living for my family. As I stated in my post “Life Experiment”, we need to allow our dreams to change, to allow ourselves and our spouses to change. The reality is life experiences change us. We should not fight the change, but allow it to happen.
Motherhood is wonderful and difficult. It can be ugly and beautiful. It has changed me in ways I never expected. But in those moments when I see the men God is changing them into, and knowing I have had a hand in that change makes the not so fun times worth it. I love my “little men”, and feel lucky to be able to watch them grow up.