Having kids is a huge comfort. By using the word comfort, I don’t mean that my children are second-best, a consolation prize or a safety net, but rather that they couldn’t, shouldn’t and won’t be the only essence of my life. No doubt being a parent is the hardest, most important, and most satisfactory mission I have undertaken in my adult life. From the moment I became a mother, I took my responsibility very seriously, not only my role as a nurturer but also as an educator and guide.
And yet, throughout the years when I put my parenting role before my other duties and interests, career and aspirations, not once did I let myself believe that being a mother and raising children was the only thing that would bring me pleasure and fulfillment. I was raised to believe that being a mother is the ultimate accomplishment for a woman. Confronting this dogma means defying many of the values I was raised with. I am not fighting this lesson or making a judgment; I assume that many women are inclined to accept it. But from where I stand on the mother/career scale, it is not only myself that I am trying to console by saying that kids are a huge comfort. This observation is derived from the realization that making parenting THE mission of our lives may have an adverse impact on the lives of both the parent and the child. Our kids are their own beings; they have their own paths to follow and hopefully their own dreams and destiny.
Our circles of life happened to meet and intersect extensively, and our kids may share a vast part of our DNA and resemble us, their parents, greatly, but that doesn’t mean that their lives can fulfill our lives. That is why they can be only our comfort.
Finding the right place where we feel comfortable, meaningful, contributing, achieving and challenged—this is the place that brings us happiness but also allows us to let go of our babes and let them explore for themselves what they want to do/be in life rather than trying to fulfill our wishes, dreams, and expectations.
It is from this understanding that we as women and mothers can grow, let go of our pangs of conscience, and fight to find the place where we feel fulfilled and satisfied. It is from this place of self-actualization that we can focus on going back to how we were in our pre-parenting days: motivated, idealistic, achieving and be proud of OUR accomplishments. Thus, we won't be distracted from the essentials and, as a result, we will also free our children of our expectations and save ourselves the frustration of comparing their performances and competing with our fellow mothers.
Once we concentrate on creating OUR reality, the comfort we will find in also being mothers is intensified by giving us a sense of proportions, perspective, and priorities. At the end of the day, it is the intimate environment that we build for ourselves that matters: the meaningful relationships that we succeed in cultivating, the love and support that we wisely nurture—these are the things that create the solid foundation for many happy moments and potential self-growth. Strong roots are those which allow a sprout to grow into a robust and healthy tree. This strong bedrock is what enables us fly to new places and reach for the unknown, knowing that this wonderful support will always be our place of respite and sanctuary.