I’m am just a few months shy of celebrating my son’s 3rd birthday, and I feel as though I’ve learned a lifetime of things that I could have never even been exposed to, had I not become a mother. The saying "having a child is a life changing event" is always true, but I never took the time to see how life changing it really was for me other than the physical symptoms (you know, lack of sleep and the random bruises from toddler play).
I’ve learned that my heart can experience feelings I never imagined, from pure joy to stone cold fear and everything in between. Who would think that something so small could invoke such huge emotions? Especially in someone like myself who liked to "stop and smell the roses" but never really took time to appreciate the smell.
I’ve learned to be young again. The man or lady who is giving me the strange face while my son and I sing Jingle Bells in July while driving our pretend racecar down the aisles of Target, don’t really understand how to play without rules. It’s OK to sing Happy Birthday in the bathtub and to make silly faces at the fish in the seafood section of the grocery store.
I’ve learned that boogers happen. From the runny noses to the big green booger monsters, they happen to everyone, there’s no reason to be grossed out by them anymore. Besides, anything that my kid can eat and not cause instant projectile vomiting, I’m OK with. And yes, boogers fall into that category.
I’ve learned that I will never be the mother I thought I would be. There were times I was certain I would fail as a mother and other times I was certain I’d be Wilma Flintstone meets Jill Taylor (remember the mom from Home Improvement?). Thankfully, neither really came true, I became my own style mother and certainly didn’t fail, at least not yet. But I’ve realized that a lot of my preconceived notions about motherhood were either false or just something that could be worked around.
I’ve learned that I can still be who I am and be a mother, cherishing both but not separating them into two different identities. Seriously, I have enough psychological issues to worry about without trying to give myself a split personality. I take great pride in being a mother, whether I am playing with my son at home, while I am in a meeting at work or while I am relaxing in a bookstore. Being a mother isn’t something I shut off and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to.
I’ve learned that I can face most anything when given the right motivation. And imagine, that little boy that yells at me, pinches me and makes me gag with diapers is that motivator. I’ve killed spiders that I typically wouldn’t have been in the same house with, let alone touched.