I know how much I love you. I know that I will sacrifice my life for your happiness, my ambitions for your wellbeing, and my dreams for your comfort in a heartbeat. I (try very hard to) live selflessly day in and day out, and I really don’t mind the hard work with minimal thank you’s, a whole lot of sloppy kisses, or cheeky grins. I really don’t, because I love you, just like all mothers naturally do. I know that I was born to be your mother, but I can’t seem to shake off the nagging feeling that keeps gnawing at my heart that maybe, just maybe, I was made for something more.
When I gave birth to you, every time one of you came out of me, I was determined to abandon everything I had going on in my life to tend to you 24/7. But then a week later, I couldn’t wait to go back to work. And every time, I questioned myself: Am I weird for feeling like I belong in the marketplace, to work, to have a purpose outside of our home? Does this make me a bad mother?
I hated myself for saying it at first, that being a mom simply just wasn’t enough for me. I love you and I really enjoy being with you, but there’s something more that I wanted to chase. Like the strength I feel at every creative brief meeting, the triumph I feel for a well-executed communications strategy and well-formulated key messages, or the satisfaction I get from a well-written article that not only brought website traffic but also stirred emotions and at best, brought impact.
I’ve come to understand that the need I felt to create, to be successful outside of the home, and to contribute to our family’s economy cannot be suppressed or guilted away for it makes me who I am. I admire the women who had the courage to leave the life they knew the moment they became a mother to completely take on their new role, but I have accepted that I may never be able to do it. I surrendered, for a period of time, to self-induced guilt after every failed attempt. Then I reminded myself that we are all created uniquely to fill a purpose, made especially for us, and I focussed on finding that work/life balance and the notion that “we can really have it all”.
This is what I believed: that by fulfilling that desire to achieve more, I am setting a fine example for you. I believe that my daughter will learn to think of a future filled with possibilities and my sons will learn to appreciate a woman’s worth far more than her natural capabilities of childbearing and child-rearing, but for achievements that are beneficial for your generation. By leaving you to build a business, I am giving you an opportunity to be independent, while showing you, first hand, how to manage your time properly. And, contrary to most beliefs out there, I am raising emotionally strong children who can appreciate the value of teamwork in a marriage and in a family.
I know that I sound like I’m trying to convince myself here. I’m not going to lie to you, it does feel that way sometimes, but my children, the world is changing so rapidly and I’m grateful that the rules of working aren’t as rigid as it used to be since many have addressed that push-and-pull sensation in our hearts as we leave our children at home or at daycare to go to work. I pray that as you build your family later on and find yourselves in the workplace, you may cross paths with generous companies who understand the importance of your presence in your children’s lives and to contribute to the workplace at the same time. Or better yet, I hope that you will build a workplace for yourself and for other people like you, to achieve this balance together. But in any way, when you find yourself guilted into choosing just one – work or family – I pray that you won’t have to. We are each created uniquely, with an innate desire that only we can understand. So, answer your call – even if it involves leaving your children for a few hours every day. Use your talents. Share your gift. Let go of that guilt for wanting something more.
Your children’s happiness begins with your happiness. And yours begin with mine. So I hope that you will understand as I click away on my laptop with headphones in my ears, I am pressing forward to answer a call and that I look forward to shutting down my computer to wrap myself in your tight hugs soon.
I love you (much, much more than my work, I promise!),