I’ve always wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I think I knew going in that being a mom was going to be a physically tiring endeavor. However, I don’t think I was prepared for how emotionally draining it would also be and how easy it would be for me to set aside myself and prioritize my kids instead.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my three kids. They’re the best gifts God ever gave me. I also love being a mother. Motherhood, based on my experience, can be fun and is possibly the most fulfilling job ever. It has lots of good times, precious memories, proud mommy moments – all the things that we treasure.
It’s just that it’s also a roller coaster ride of emotions and oftentimes those ugly ones that drive us to cry, get depressed and go crazy are the ones that don’t get talked about often.
I say it’s emotionally draining because, as a mom, we go through so many different emotions all in one day. We think of and worry about a multitude of issues involving our children, some real and some imagined, that causes us not just headaches but heartaches as well. Elizabeth Stone got it right when she said…
Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart
go walking around outside your body.
It’s so true. We oftentimes try our hardest to give the best that we can to our kids and at the same time control the situation so as to protect them from the harsh realities of life. We want them to explore the world and yet try to let them do so without them getting hurt. We do what we can to protect them and in the process we forget to protect ourselves too.
The thing is, by having kids, we open up ourselves to the possibility of being hurt, ridiculed, disappointed, worried, scared, mad and heartbroken. Oftentimes, our sacrifices and efforts go unnoticed. Once in a while, like on Mother’s Day for example, we get showered with thanks and adoration for all that we do. But sometimes, we wonder, “Do they really get it?”. Do they really know how much of ourselves we give to them?
Until when should the protecting and the worrying for our kids last? When do we say stop? Does motherhood ever end?
I asked myself those questions about a week ago when my girls made their final decision to move out of our house and move in with their dad. It was an agreement that their dad and I made years ago when we first separated. We agreed that the girls will move in with him once they hit high school and now that time has come.
It was inevitable, yes. Therefore, I should have already prepared myself for this. I thought I did. But as a mother, when are we ever 100% prepared to let go of the kids we bore and took care of for years? Until the last few days I had hope that it wouldn’t push through. That the girls would make good with their earlier decision not to transfer anymore. But they changed their minds and my heart broke in a million pieces.
The logical part of me knows that this a great opportunity for them to get to know their dad and his new family. I know it would also give them a chance to enjoy the life he can give them and enjoy going to a better school too. Of course, I KNOW that. It’s the emotional part of me that finds it hard to accept and to let go.
The “mommy” part of me was fighting to hold on, always worried that my kids will not grow up the way I want them to. It also hurt to think that they chose him over me. But again, the logical part of my brain reasons out that they don’t love me any less. They did not do this out of spite. It wasn’t because they weren’t happy here. They just want this chance to be with him.What’s so bad about that, right?
No matter how logical it is though, it hurt so bad. I’ve experienced failed relationships and heartbreaks in the past but none of them compares to how much this hurts. Nothing can possibly hurt this bad.
However, I knew that if I didn’t get hold of my emotions that they will end up getting the best of me and put my relationship with my son and hubby at risk. The two of them are still here. I didn’t want to be so depressed that I forgot about them. They’re just as important. They deserve the best of me too.
I can now understand what Christina Romo meant when she said…
If there is one thing motherhood has taught me,
it is the fact that part of being a parent is experiencing heartache
and knowing that you would endure it a million times over
because your child is worth it.
And so, because I now expect to have more heartaches in the future, I resolved to have a stronger heart, one that isn’t so vulnerable that it breaks so easily. Sure I would still worry about them, sure I would still feel scared. I can still feel all those things. But at the same time, I can control what I do with those feelings. I can control myself.
I actually expected to be depressed about the situation for weeks, possibly months. But I surprised myself. It has only been a week and I’m proud to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I stopped crying on Day 2. I made good on my promise to myself that I will not bother them with non stop text messages and calls. I was pretty chill. I AM pretty chill. I survived the first week. I can survive the next few years.
So in the end, I was able to answer my own questions. The worrying will never stop. We just learn how to deal with it, maturely. We just learn to trust the process and have faith.
Motherhood also doesn’t end. It just evolves. I’m a long distance parent now. I now have to mother my girls from afar. But only the circumstances have changed. I am still their mother. Forever and always. I’d still be their mother when they’re all grown up and have kids of their own. I just have to mother them differently then.
Letting go is not easy but we have to do so if we want our kids to live their life and for us to live our own too. We just have to toughen up and this mothering job is helping me do just that.
It is within the journey of motherhood
that a woman will discover how strong she really is. – Anonymous