I wasn’t one of those women that dreamed of being a mom. Okay, that sounds awful considering that I’m a mother now, but hear me out. Motherhood wasn’t my only dream in life. It wasn’t the sundae, ya know? The sprinkles were motherhood, the chocolate sauce was a career, the nuts were my husband (haha, see what I did there?), the bits of fruit were friends and family, and the cherry on top was my happiness.
I wanted to be the type of woman that could successfully manage being a wife, mama and a person outside of wife and mommyhood.
But several of my friends told me that this was impossible. They said, “Girlfriend no. This cannot happen. Your marriage is your life. Your children are your life. That is it. The end.”
I laughed at them. And then I got pregnant.
The paranoia sunk in. How could this be? You mean once I pushed a baby out, my dreams of ... I don’t know ... STUFF ... just disappeared? No way. This couldn’t be true.
But I thought about it more. And I couldn’t remember the last time I went on a trip with my girlfriends with kids. They weren’t the ones joining me for Happy Hour on a Thursday evening. And they always promised to “call back” but seemed to forget to do so. I was never envious of the parent life.
I realized that I don't have to always be there to be an inspiration to my children.
I enjoyed being in my 20s and being able to travel when I wanted to. I moved across the country with everything I owned in two suitcases. I felt like I lived. And I did. I just knew motherhood would rob me of everything that I loved, and while I wanted to be a mama, I was anxious to just LIVE.
And I did live. But I also learned that I still do live.
After giving birth and falling in love with my newborn daughter, I waited for that feeling. I wanted it to envelope me and grab on to me. I wanted my daughter’s existence to be enough for me. She deserved that and I wanted that. Didn’t I? I wanted her life to be my life. I cried when my maternity leave was over.
But I only cried the first day. I traveled away from her for the first time when she was only 5 months old. And then the day after she turned 1, I flew to the other side of the country to attend CES for almost a week. Mommy guilt followed me on each and every trip.
I have fought hard to maintain a bit of my pre-baby life, but I also wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to be a domestic wife who had a meal ready for her husband when he came home for work. It took a while but I realized that isn’t my calling. I wanted my desire to work to just disappear, but it didn't. I worked when baby slept, and I was somewhat okay with being stressed out and living the life of a working mama. It was exhausting and overwhelming but it made me feel .... whole.
The beautiful thing about womanhood is that it doesn’t have one track. It doesn’t have one definition.
I wasn't sad that I missed my daughter's first steps because I was in Las Vegas planning a meeting. I was happy that she learned a new skill and I looked forward to all of the times that I WOULD see her walk. The guilt of not having to be there for her every single moment slowly began to slip away, and I realized that I don't have to always be there to be an inspiration to my children. I come from a home where both parents worked outside of the house and I don't ever recall feeling abandoned. My mom was attentive and supportive, and as I got older, I admired how she was able to manage the home and then manage a job. She inspired me.
Stay-at-home moms inspire me too. How they manage to work all day and everyday without even an ounce of a break is beyond me. They often make it look so easy that many of them don't feel like they've made any sacrifices because raising their children full-time is what they want to do and enjoy doing.
And that's okay. The beautiful thing about womanhood is that it doesn’t have one track. It doesn’t have one definition. Womanhood and motherhood have so many layers to them and there is no right or wrong way. I can still travel for work and be a fantastic mother. I am allowed to love what I do outside of motherhood.
More than anything I promise to always love what I do. If I have to spend time away from my children, it better be for something that, I hope, will make them proud.