I must admit that, sometimes, I get frustrated that my kid won't grow up faster. I know that's kind of ridiculous and most mothers grow sad when they see their child gaining more independence and becoming less dependent on them, but I can't wait for my son to continue to learn and grow and find himself and evolve into a complete human being, so that I can share even more experiences with him. There are things I want my kid to know about my life; things that he isn't old enough to understand; things that are going to make sitting down with my kid and having a beer over dinner, one day, that much better.
I think one of the many reasons I am looking forward to those conversations, is because I have just started to really experience them with my own mother. Now that I'm a mom and have a family of my own, I have grown closer with my mom and have talked to her about things I didn't even know were actual things. I have learned more about my mom in the last two years, than I think I had during the first 27 years of my life, and those conversations are some of the most cherished I've ever had the privilege of experiencing. To know that, one day, I will be able to have those same conversations with my kid, makes me all the more excited and not all that weepy about him learning how to use the potty or no longer wanting to hold my hand when we cross a street.
There's so much about our lives that our kids simply don't know, and will never know until they're old enough to understand and we feel comfortable enough sharing with them. Until that time, of course, I will enjoy my son being young and needing me and being blissfully unaware of the many trials and tribulations life offers, but I will also be spending my time looking forward to sharing these 15 things about my life, one day, too:
I can understand not wanting to share every not-so-great aspect of your life with your kid (especially when they're younger and not at an age to understand just how complicated and multifaceted life can be) but I, personally, am looking forward to the conversations I have with my son that involve the dark parts of my life. I am going to tell my son that I am a sexual assault victim, and I am going to tell my son that I was abused when I was a child. I am going to tell him about the time I moved to a new city, worked three jobs and had to wash my hair with hand soap because it's all I could afford.
Being real about my life with my kid, for me, is vital. I want him to see me as a human being who has been through things, and was always able (with help, of course) to come out on the other side. I want to be an example of what resilience and self-care can do for a person, and why he will always have the ability to get through whatever life throws his way.
I've Made More Mistakes Than I Can Count
Parents are not magically incapable of making mistakes once they successfully procreate. If anything, motherhood offers you even more opportunities to mess up in some spectacular, cataclysmic fashion. I want my kid to know that I made a lot of mistakes before he was born, even while he was born, and definitely after he was born. If anything, it will humanize me and give my kid silent permission to make his own mistakes, because it's going to happen and, when it does, he needs to know that it's normal.
I Have Accomplished More Than Just Procreation
Whether a mother works after she has a baby, or she doesn't, she has accomplished much more in her life than just procreation. Of course, this isn't to downplay the amazing capability that is growing and birthing and sustaining a human life, but a mother is so much more than just a mother. A mother is also a partner and a worker and a business owner and a daughter and a student and a friend and any of the million things a woman can be, and I think it's important that every other aspect of a mother's life is also shared with her children.
I Didn't Always Know Who I Wanted To Be/Should Be
I'm sure this isn't true for everyone. For example, I knew (ever since I was five years old) that I wanted to be a writer. I didn't know, however, if I wanted to end up being committed to a partner, if I wanted to live in one specific city, if I wanted to go to college. I mean, do people really know who they are or who they're going to be, until they suddenly look in the mirror and recognize the person staring back at them?
I think the more we're open and honest with our children about how confusing life can be, the more at ease they'll feel when they inevitably realize that they have no idea who they are, either.
I Didn't Always Like Being A Mother
It's this unspoken thing that mothers rarely feel comfortable sharing for fear they'll be endlessly shamed into oblivion, but every mother doesn't like being a mother all the time. It is completely normal to sometimes not want to parent. I mean, parenthood is exhausting and frustrating and tests every single fiber of your being so, I mean, it's only normal and natural to want to take a break.
I think being honest about what parenthood actually entails, better prepares your kid if/when they decide they maybe want to be a parent one day, too. Or, at the very least, it humanizes you, debunks that whole "mom is a superhero with no real feelings" myth, and gives your kid an opportunity to be thankful for your ability to put up with them when they were the worst.
I Have Spent A Lot Of Time Being Exhausted
Look, parenthood is exhausting and while mothers tend to put on a tough face and hide their all-consuming fatigue, I think it's important to be honest about how difficult it is. I mean, why lie? It's hard. There, I said it.
I Have Second Guessed Myself (And Will Again)
Whether it was before she became a mother or the countless times since she became a mother, moms second guess themselves on a daily basis. I, for one, am going to be completely honest with my kid and let him know that I even second guessed (and third guessed and fourth guessed) whether or not I even wanted and/or was capable of becoming a mother. I wasn't always steadfast in my decisions (read: hardly ever) and I think it's important to let your kid know that it's okay to not be completely and totally certain about your life decisions.
The Big Life Decisions That Changed My Life
There are so many gigantic life decisions we face and make, just as humans. I think what a woman decides to share about her life is entirely up to her, but I know what I am personally going to share with my son, when he is old enough to understand. I am definitely going to be open and honest about the abortion I had, prior to becoming pregnant again and deciding to have my son. Again, I know this isn't a decision every woman will make, and I think in the end, what you decide to share with your kid regarding the big life decisions, is (and should always be) entirely up to you.
How I Met My Partner
I've already told my son this story countless times. I mean, I whispered it to him when he was a newborn and breastfeeding and sleeping and now that he's a toddler. He won't remember the many times I have already told him how I met his father, which is why I will tell him again. And again. And again.
How I Was Raised By My Parents
Again, the kind of a childhood a person had probably changes what they feel comfortable sharing and what they don't. Everyone is different, and everyone deals with trauma (if there was any) differently. If you had a great childhood, maybe telling your kid about their grandparents and what it was like living with them will be a breeze. If you're like me and you had a toxic, abusive parent, it might not be so easy. I, personally, am going to tell my son that I was abused as a kid, and be open about that experience when it's an age appropriate time to do so.
I Didn't Always Want To Be A Mother...
I'm going to be pretty honest with my kid and let him know that I didn't always want to be a mother. In fact, I was pretty emphatic about the fact that I didn't want to be a mother, at all. I think going through the thought process and explaining to him that just because I am a woman, doesn't mean procreation was an inevitable experience I would undergo, no questions asked. Every woman deserves the right to make her own decisions, and there are plenty of women who choose not to become a mother. There is nothing wrong with either choice.
...And Why I Made The Decision To Become A Mother
Whether it was something she always knew she wanted to experience, or it was a choice she made later in life, a mom is going to want to tell her kid about the moment she decided she wanted to be a mother. I'm looking forward to this discussion, personally, because it really was a complete change of mind and heart for me, and that moment was as intense and scary as it was exciting and joyous.
All Of The Other Things That Make Me Happy
It's extremely important to me that my son knows that I find a lot of joy outside of his existence. Yes, he makes me so very happy, but so does my job and so do my friendships and so does my romantic relationship with my partner and so do three finger whiskeys. My son is not the sole joy of my life, and I think letting him know that puts the pressure off of him. He won't feel guilty when he goes out into the world and away from me and has his own experiences, separate from his parents, because he'll know that mom will have so many other things in her life that make her happy and fulfilled.
How Much I Love My Kid...
Always. I will always make sure my kid knows how much I love him.
...And How That Love Has Changed My Life
And, of course, that the love he has allowed me to experience has changed my life. Not only can I no longer watch a commercial or movie or music video with a kid in it, without crying, but I can't view the world the same way I did when I didn't have a child. He has altered who I am as a person, and that alteration has only made me a better.