While chatting with a friend who is due to give birth to her first baby, she confessed that she is a little nervous about welcoming her little one after having so much time to herself. Unlike me, who had four kids by the time I was 28, this friend did things a bit more responsibly and waited, reaching a more respectable age and doing a few more adult things before having kids.
Listening to her talk about how she worried she might be too selfish after all this time, I couldn't help but smile to myself because as a veteran mom, I know exactly what will happen when she welcomes that little baby into the world: everything will change and the love for that baby will overtake everything, even your own physical need for sleep.
But still, despite knowing that she will be just fine as a mom (Also, spoiler: We're all selfish! It's called human nature, right?) I know what she is saying and it is something that I've often thought about simply because my own journey into motherhood was very different.
The truth is, I didn't really have time to be selfish before I became a mom because it all happened so quickly. I was just starting my senior year of college and was full of hopes and dreams to switch my major to writing, study abroad and finally purchase an adult wardrobe that didn't involve pajama pants that I had picked up at Goodwill, when I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test. (This is not an exaggeration–I took the test just weeks into my senior year.)
I stumbled my way through, became a hot mess and learned right from the beginning that I needed to go with the flow.
Because of my fast-track into motherhood, I never fully experienced adulthood completely alone. Sure, there were the brief stints with my roommates and two glorious months I spent living alone during my internships over the summer, but my entrance into adulthood fully coincided with my entrance into motherhood.
And you know what? I'm glad it happened that way.
I'm glad because I know myself and I definitely would have wanted the picture-perfect life plan and the picture-perfect motherhood experience and I would have set myself up for disappointment from the very start. Instead, I stumbled my way through, became a hot mess and learned right from the beginning that I needed to go with the flow.
My path to motherhood was exactly what I needed, even if I didn't know it at the time. Now, I'm so grateful for it.
I fully believe that there is no "right way" into motherhood and that all of the different paths of parenthood hold different lessons, beauty and meaning. But there is freedom in being able to look at where you stand on your own and think, "I'm OK with this. I feel at peace with where I am." You can drive yourself absolutely mad trying to wonder if you did things "right" or if you waited too long to have kids or didn't wait long enough or maybe you shouldn't have kids at all.
So, no matter where you are on your parenting journey, whether you're a mom-to-be wondering if you're doing the right thing or a mom of many looking back and asking yourself if you did the right thing, know that it really all will be OK because honestly, we're all going to end up in the same place: hiding in the bathroom away from our kids.