|Posted on March 14, 2018 at 12:25 AM|
Feeling inspired from the International Woman’s Day event that I attended yesterday. I have been adding bits and pieces to this article over the last few months (that’s all I can manage for time right now). But I do have something to share – In fact, I have a lot to share. I am ready to start sharing my voice and my passions more frequently… I just haven’t found the right platform yet. So here it goes…
I started this article a few months ago titled “My regret as a Mother”. I am not certain it’s true regret, but it’s certainly something I would do differently next time. I thought I was doing the right thing because I was following the steps of the majority of young Mothers that I am aware of in North America. I thought I was doing the right thing by going back to work after one year, working really hard to progress my career so that I could be happy with the “whole package”. As it turns out, now that I am 5 years in to being a Mom, My one regret is working a full time job during the first five years. Now that I am at the five year mark with our child, I can see how taking it slow and working part-time for the first five years would have been the best thing for all of us (My husband, My Son and My Self). Regardless of the sacrifices that would have to take place on a part-time income, having less financially would far outweigh a career and all the time I can never get back. And it’s funny to “wish” that I had thought things through at the time because back when our son was one year and I was ready to go back to work, I was caring for a baby, new to the demands of Motherhood – I didn’t have time to “think” about what to do. It’s such a busy time in life and there isn’t much space to think things through or to “process” thoughts the way I do now (or the way I did before Parenthood). I found that whatever plan I went into Motherhood with, I just stuck to that without reflecting on what might be best now.
I think every woman should “pause” life in the first five years to spend time at home, time with their child, spend time on their relationship with their significant other – that’s when the whole family needs it most. I thought that being a Mother was difficult but when I look back, it was the lack of time I had to really be a Mother that was difficult.
I know that women have fought so long for our right to work, our right to be equal – and there is still a long way to go. I also know that no woman ever said Motherhood would be easy, but nobody ever said that it actually works in this new world of equality, both partners needing to contribute in order to make ends meet. Being a Mom and working full time in the first five years just isn’t right to me. And it may work for other people… or may appear to work for other people, however when I see the rate of divorce among new parents with small children and relationships that become torn, I can’t help but think that a little more time invested in the Family life could help people save their relationships and their families.
Tips from me to you:
· Date night isn’t for dating – it’s to communicate – never underestimate the importance of this event. Do anything you can to make it happen weekly
· Try not to make any major moves/life-changing decisions in the first two years – this one is tough because we have such an urge to change things to make being a Mother easier. Give everyone in your new family time to adjust to one another the ways things are before you decide you need to change something on the outside
· Write down your plan going into Parenthood (whether it was a planned pregnancy or not, prior to baby arriving, you have nine months to think about and write it down) – Review your plan at the one year mark, review it with your partner as well to see if this still works for you (or to remind you that you did have a plan and you are sticking to it)
· Do your research on Family dynamics – Explore options of Career Moms, stay at home Dads, sharing parental leave (taking time off at the same time), co-parenting, Sister Wives … Explore it all. I have learned that the North American “norm” isn’t what actually works
· Dive into your career after the 5 year mark - Once your child/children have passed the five year mark, they are much more independent and the family dynamics are usually settled, so you can re-focus on yourself again
For those who are only thinking about babies but you have not yet decided… You will meet people who will tell you not to have children - I don’t believe that is a fair statement. The experience of having a child is so unique to everyone; the way that each person experiences the changes that unfold as a result of bringing a child in to the world are such unique experiences. I think it is impossible for anyone to know if you should have children or not. I think some people will tell you not to have children and others will tell you you need to have children – everyone has their own reasons and own experiences. I can tell you from my own experience as once a person completely fulfilled by my passion of helping others I know that human beings can be completely fulfilled with or with-out having children. Fulfillment comes from following your true passion; for some people, following that true passion is bringing a new life into the world, others are satisfied with dedicating their life to helping others or travelling the world to experience everything there is to experience.
Whatever you decide, take some time to investigate what makes sense. Know that the systems and timelines that are in place right now to allow women to fit into the workforce “equally” have not been proven when it comes to balancing life and having a wholesome family. Many organizations have a long way to go before we can truly allow women into the workforce while still honouring the natural (human) instincts that come with being a Mother. I encourage you to follow the tips I have provided along with an endless amount of your own research to know what is right for you and your family. We have to find a way to contribute passionately to the workforce while still honouring being part of a functional Family that needs us.
Categories: Becoming A Mother - Yes, it is a process