I have a secret to share. I have always been a daydreamer. I was a late bloomer, too (another secret). In fact, I didn’t discover my real passion until my thirties.
After high school graduation, I had one goal. To earn money. After a year or so working full-time in an office, I soon realized I wanted to be something more than a receptionist. And so I enrolled in community college. I always had an interest in the arts, especially acting, and thought I would pursue that. I started going to school in the evenings while working full-time during the day. After a few acting classes, some general education courses, a good dose of reality, and deep consideration – an acting career seemed like an unrealistic pursuit. After all, I didn’t live in the right place. Michigan is a far cry from L.A. and New York. And with that mindset, I stopped pursuing it. The fire in my belly, I suppose, was not as strong as it needed to be.
I remember the day I had an “aha” moment (it seemed I had waited so long for it). I was leaving my Speech class at the community college and saw a poster on Communication Arts and all the careers associated with this degree. Maybe it was my answer to the question I was seeking in my young adulthood: what to do with my life? It appeared like the perfect fit for me. The imperfect solution to the drudgery of the business world. From that moment forward, a Communications Degree is what I went after; seven years later and I graduated. Still, at the end of my student tenure, I had not a specific goal in mind. What was I missing?
I felt like there was something wrong with me. A reason why I couldn’t be like everyone else and accept a life with a blasé career. Shuffling paperwork was OK for many. Many people I worked with seemed accepting of their choice. Even if I did hear them say, “It’s hump day” or “Only one more day till the weekend.” Leaving me to wonder that maybe, just maybe, others don’t really like what they do. But do it because they have to.
Years and years of working in an office benefited me. I was able to make my first home purchase, I always had a vehicle to drive, and I traveled, and even got married. I had the American dream minus children, but two dogs that made up for that. In all that I possessed on the exterior, on the inside – my soul – felt empty. I knew I settled with what life gave me and not what I truly desired. I wasn’t happy. I was an adult now but still had residual feelings of that young girl so unsure about her future.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Pregnancy. Yes, she was planned. Yes, I thought I was ready. Until I realized no amount of preparation, parental books you read, or advice you get from others prepares you for this life-changing event we call motherhood. The “aha” moment I waited for, for so very long – 32 years to be exact – struck down on me when I became a mother.
I had my awakening. I had my entire little world changed upside down. I honestly never knew if I ever wanted to be a mom until my thirties. And when I was blessed to be what so many other women are called; a mother, my soul finally felt complete. Totally and utterly complete. It was pure joy like I had never experienced before.
The searching for my life purpose, the constant soul searching was in another human being I created. Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing can possibly compare to the love, the bond, the wholeness you feel when you become a mother. What I didn’t know then, what I know now, is that maybe the reason I never could find what I was looking for, was not meant for me. Because motherhood is what I was destined for. As a mother, I give it my all. I am always trying my hardest. I am always exhausted. But, at the end of the day, I know I do the best I can.
Motherhood has given me more gratification that any other accomplishment I’ve ever done. Motherhood has allowed me to relish in the moment of having a baby fall asleep in my arms. Motherhood has allowed me to nourish my baby with nothing other than my breast milk. Motherhood has allowed me to see how selfless I can be.
Motherhood has allowed me to see how much patience, and how little patience I have. Motherhood has allowed me to appreciate and love my body (with all the stretch marks) more now than I did in my twenties. Motherhood has allowed me not to judge others. Motherhood has allowed me to smile at a crying baby (and mother) in Target – because I get it now. I totally get it. Motherhood has allowed me to enjoy the little things in life; a hot cup of coffee, eating without being interrupted, driving in silence, taking a walk to clear my mind, staying up to 11 p.m. to watch a Lifetime movie. All of it. Motherhood has opened my eyes to everything.
It has changed me for the better. It has fed my soul. Motherhood encompasses more than just taking care of another life. Motherhood gives you an opportunity to be a better person. It pushes you when you think there is nothing left inside of you. It makes you appreciate the simple things in life. It wears you down, but it makes you get back up every time. It fills you with endless amounts of joy, but sadness, too.
Motherhood also makes you appreciate those adult interactions you have in that office for the career you were so unsure of. It allows you to see that a job title doesn’t define a person’s success. It merely provides for a livelihood. There is absolutely no greater, more important job than being a mother. Yet, there is no reward, no corner office, no fancy title – just a simple title, “Mama.” The sweetest word you will ever hear.