I knew I wanted kids from a young age, but I was nervous about actually becoming a mother when I found out I was pregnant. Some people have a natural maternal instinct, but I never really felt like I was one of those women.
It's not exactly a popular thing to become a mother today. The birth rate is declining, along with the rate of marriage, and most places we look in entertainment and media teach us that becoming a mother is the very thing that will stop you from achieving your goals and living your dream life. If you love your life the way it is and you enjoy having the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want, definitely don't have kids! At least that's the message passed down to young women.
I fell into the trap of thinking that having a child would rob me of the chance to do the things I love in my life, like training, hiking, and enjoying those long Saturday mornings with a cup of tea and a stack of books. Even though I knew I wanted to become a mother, I was scared that I wouldn't be a great mother or even really enjoy the journey of motherhood. Like most other Millennial women of my generation, it was easy for me to be self-centered and protective of my freedom.
But it all changed when I had my baby. Although she is only five months old, I have learned a great deal about what it means to be a woman and what it means to be selfless. I know not everyone is meant to be a mother, and that's okay if that's not in the cards for you, but I've come to fully believe that becoming a mother makes you a better person in just about every category.
Motherhood Changes You for the Better
My generation is full of women who have an extremely difficult time putting anyone ahead of themselves. That may sound strange considering we're living in a culture that glorifies self-care and self-acceptance, but the very existence of these trends only proves how self-obsessed we are. Being selfish is a default for all human beings; that's how we're biologically designed to survive this world. But Millennials and Gen Z still felt the need to create and promote the idea of self-love and "taking up space," because we just weren't getting quite enough attention from people around us.
Motherhood also makes you more disciplined and better at time management.
Motherhood thrusts you into a space where you must think about another human being for a change. You don't have time to obsess over someone else's opinion of you or your shallow physique flaws when you have a hungry, teething baby on your hands. Focusing our attention on others is good for our mental health; in fact, many people who do volunteer work actually find that it helps ease their depression and anxiety. That's the beauty of motherhood – you think you're going to lose yourself because you have this new baby to take care of 24/7, but what actually happens is you find new meaning in yourself and in your life because you're not obsessing over yourself and your petty thoughts for a change. And that meaning is much, much more fulfilling than all the free time you had on your hands when you were childless.
Motherhood also makes you more disciplined and better at time management. One of my greatest fears was that I wouldn't have the time to do the things I loved after I became a mother, especially as someone who loves her free time. I'm someone who likes to spend hours on end training at the gym or practicing jiu-jitsu with my husband on the weekends. I knew that would go out the window when I had my baby.
But knowing that I had a limited amount of time on my hands, I suddenly became laser focused with my schedule. I quit wasting time at the gym, I managed my time much more efficiently, I significantly reduced how much time I spent on social media or watching TV, and I was more disciplined with my diet. Being a mother means there is so much more at stake. Your health and use of time suddenly becomes more important because there's this little human relying on you for everything.
Becoming a mother makes you more compassionate, more patient, more self-aware, and more caring.
Becoming a mother makes you more compassionate, more patient, more self-aware, and more caring. It's impossible to take care of an infant without learning how to truly pay attention to their needs and empathize with their struggles. As a person who is naturally impatient and a little short-tempered, I have been pleasantly surprised at how much more patient I have become. Taking care of a newborn leaves you with no other choice because no matter how impatient you get, it won't change what your baby is going through. In fact, you quickly learn as a mother that babies can feel anxiety and stress, so the calmer you are, the more likely they are to be soothed and comforted.
I even witnessed myself become more organized around the house because there was suddenly so much more at stake. My husband also says I'm in a better mood than ever, and I have a glow that was never there before. All of these small things add up and make your life better than ever. It's no wonder women have been having so many kids for all of eternity. Not to mention the unmatched joy that comes with holding your child and watching them grow and change every day.
Motherhood Isn't the Only Way To Experience This Kind of Growth
Like I said, not everyone is called to be a mother. But motherhood isn't the only mode that allows women to fully embrace their femininity and nurturing tendencies. I know many women who aren't mothers (and have no plans to become a mother) yet are incredibly warm, caring women who touch the lives of many people around them through their feminine qualities.
Motherhood isn't the only mode that allows women to fully embrace their femininity.
There are many other ways to experience a similar kind of growth as you do with motherhood. Volunteering for the less fortunate, fostering children, working with special needs students, or even being a present aunt in your nieces and nephews' lives can offer you the same kind of experience that comes along with being a mother. All of these scenarios offer you the chance to put others first, be more disciplined, and generate compassion and patience.
I encourage any woman out there who is on the fence about having kids to find a worthy husband and take the leap. It's certainly not easy, but it's actually not as difficult as you think it might be. Becoming a mother is one of those joys in life that will never be replaced with anything else, and knowing that you're devoting your life to something greater than you will bring you a deep sense of fulfillment.
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