I regularly read a blog by a friend of mine's wife about her experiences with motherhood. She's a young mom. And I love her honesty. It's not an ultra-positive-motherhood-is-the-best-thing-that-ever happened-to-me kind of blog. It's not a negative-depressing-being-a-mom-sucks blog either. It's just honest. Honest about the struggle against selfishness that you must engage when you become a parent. Honest about how being pregnant does weird things to your body that aren't always pleasant or "glowing." Honest about how much she loves her kids. Honest about how terrifying it is was when she thought she was going to lose one of them. Parenting isn't always pretty. In fact, regardless of what Barnes and Nobles tells you, it cannot be covered in 300 page book on the subject. But I believe it is a wonderful thing.
The reason parenthood is on my mind is simply because it's a phase a lot of my friends and family are starting to enter. It's probably one of my next phases as well so naturally I am going to think about what it will be like to be a mom, when I might become one, and about babies in general.
There are lots of beliefs and opinions about when you should have babies, how many you should have, how you should raise them, etc. But I have no intention of addressing any of that here. Instead, let me share with you where my heart and mind have been lately.
I've been thinking about the phases we go through in life. The phase I'm in currently is that of being married but not a mother. I'm a wife. I feel oddly smashed between two phases of life: being single and being a parent. This phase tends to be short in the grand scheme of your entire life, but here I am.
A lot of my friends are getting married, but I'd say the majority are either still single, or parents. And I'm neither. But to be honest, socially, being married really isn't that much different from life before marriage. Sure there are differences in your actual relationship, but socially there's still a lot of freedom in marriage before you have kids. You can hang out with your friends on a whim. You can can go out when you don't feel like cooking. You can go away for entire weekends without telling a single person.
I don't want to say "I'm not ready for a baby" because that implies that if I were to find out I'm pregnant today, I'd panic or be upset. And that's simply not the case. I also don't want to say "I don't want a baby right now" because that is also not true. Honestly, most days I do. I have always looked forward to motherhood. I know there will be sacrifices and less freedom. I know that there will be joy, laughter, pain, worry, irritation and a difficult journey towards selflessness---one of those journeys where you never actually arrive at your destination, but mostly just visit. But what I don't know is when that phase of my life will start. I honestly have no idea.
But I think it's a pretty safe bet that if I live a long life, I'll probably be a mother for the majority of it.
And I want to appreciate each phase of life as it comes...every phase is different and unique. Every phase has its disappoints and struggles. Every phase has its perks and disadvantages, its highs and its lows. Every phase is the gift of life in a different packaging.
Marriage, like parenting, requires a lot of education in being selfless...but being a parent changes your life entirely. Well, it should. I believe it changes in a good way, but it is a big change none the less. One I look forward too. But since I don't know when that phase of my life will begin...I want to enjoy all the wonderful things about where I am now. The freedom. The flexibility. The extra investment and energy I can put into relationships around me. Naked Saturdays....just kidding. ;)
Every moment can be wonderful. And right now...certainly is.