Growing up, I feared that I didn’t inherit the maternal gene from my mother. I wasn’t a fan of talking about getting pregnant or having a family with my high school cohorts. When it was time for sex ed class, I dreaded having to carry around a fake baby for two weeks. I always knew that there was more to life than changing stinky diapers, going to PTA meetings and staying up all night with a crying newborn.
On the other hand, I also knew that there was more to life than putting a ring on my finger. Besides the fact that I was extremely awkward and hardly attractive in my teens, I’d gone through enough experiences to know that coming together with a man would be a careful and complicated journey.
I watched my mother raise five children on her own. Married and divorced twice, it seemed that she and other women in my family just couldn’t balance marriage and children. And even though I wasn’t old enough to completely comprehend it, I knew having to do it on her own wasn’t what she wanted for herself.
I didn’t want that for her. As a result of my parent’s divorce, I spent more time with a babysitter than I did with my mother who worked two jobs just to make ends meet. There were things that a father is supposed to do that my mother couldn’t. Maybe our unfortunate circumstances brought us closer, but she let us know that she didn’t want the same for me and my sisters.
I really didn’t understand or appreciate the love a mother has for her children until I moved out on my own. The moment I told my mom that I had accepted a job in the big city and would be moving out, the tears welled up as she tried to explain a strange mix of sadness and pride. Sad that I was leaving home, but proud that I had made this major life decision the right way.
Like a bird leaving its nest, I can’t comprehend what it’s like to watch your daughter essentially say, “Mom, I got this.” I know my mother wouldn’t be the amazing person that she is had she not known what it’s like to sacrifice for others. That’s what being a mother is to me- it makes your purpose in life that much bigger and sweeter.
I want that. And I want a husband to love as well. I don’t think I should have to choose between the two. I want it all!