Yesterday, I celebrated my second COVID Mother’s Day celebration. Typically for Mother’s Day, I will spend it with the wonderful women in my life, but meeting up has been tough the past year and a half during the pandemic. I received a very cute greeting card my son made at school and lots of his hugs. We spent the day enjoying some family time—movies and games, and for me, the best part about any special occasion, I am free from kitchen duties for the night! Yes!
To celebrate Mother’s Day, I’m going to share a story from my motherhood journey.
I am honoured to have the title of ‘mother‘ and there is never a day that goes by where I think otherwise. When I was pregnant with my son, many of my friends questioned why I had a child at such a young age. I am not going to deny it: I was a young mom. When all my friends were enjoying dating or single life, I was getting ready to start a family. I was still in my masters program and haven’t really started my career yet.
Although I was married, there was so much to still do, to still explore, but I had a baby on the way, which meant one thing—my life will have to take a momentary pause. That momentary pause is still on hold today. Though, recently, with the start of my authorship career, I’ve started to dedicate more time into my personal dreams and goals with my son a bit older now. Though, even today, I admit that I gave up several marvelous opportunities since I became a mom. However, being a mother should never be defined by what you gave up to have your child, but what you’ve gained from having one. This is an extremely important thing to remember as a mom or you will live your life full of regret, which is the wrong way to look at motherhood.
So, what exactly did I gain? I gained never-ending love.
When my son was born, I made the decision to forgo the comfortable office job to be at home to take care and raise my child. My husband had the 9 to 5 office job, but unlike him, I was still deciding on my career with my graduation date approaching. During the first year, I took my maternity leave, which delayed my graduation. But, after graduating, I had multiple offers from GIS companies. I spent a long time debating on the pros and cons of taking those offers. A part of me wanted to be the mom who actually raised her children. But, a part of me wanted to start my career.
In the end, I decided to pull out on all my offers and turn elsewhere to job search. Since then, I’ve been working for multiple companies, taking up consultant and editing jobs that offered flexible schedules so I could work during hours when my son was asleep. I wanted to be there for my child, spend time with him, teach him things, work through homework with him, and engage in his interests. I didn’t want to be the parent that didn’t know what was going on with their child or didn’t spend enough time with them to know about their interests.
What did I gain from this sacrifice? A strong relationship with my son that to this day is still holding strong. That’s because he knows that I will always be there for him and make time for him. If you can build this strong bond with your child in their early years, this bond will continue to strengthen over time.
I know there will come a time when he doesn’t need me as much anymore. Even now there are so many things he can do independently and I secretly admit that I miss doing those things for him. But, because of the strong foundation we built, if there comes a time when we are physically apart, he’ll know (and trust) that I’ll be there for him still, meaning that he isn’t going to be the child that lies to his mom and hides things from her. We truly understand each other and because I raised him, I can also easily spot if he’s lying. Though, fortunately, when he does fib, it’s not to me. He’ll tell me his secrets and I’ll tell him mine. We are more than just mother-and-child. We are friends.
Some childhood experts feel that it’s dangerous being a parent that is your child’s friend. They claim that they won’t take you seriously and that it’ll be difficult to teach them things. However, my experience with my son has proven otherwise. Because we have such a strong trust and understanding of each other, he knows when he needs to be serious and when he can be silly. When I teach him things, he is always attentive and willing to learn because he trusts that I am teaching him something important and useful. If I catch him doing something bad (like when he lies to dad), he wouldn’t use excuses to cover it when I speak with him directly. Honestly, my son is the best child I could ever ask for, but all of this was possible because I gave him my time and let him know how important he is to me.
I have never regretted giving up the comfortable office job, even if my working hours are not typical and I am always sleep deprived. Kids grow up fast and you can never get back time. I am perfectly happy spending 2 hours attending my son’s soccer practice even if it means I’ll need to stay up 2 hours later to catch up on work. To me, any time with my son is priceless.
And proof that this connection is not a one-way train, the support I received from my son during my self-publishing journey was unreal. Almost every family member, including my husband, doubted my abilities to successfully publish. Some even called me crazy for taking on a book project in addition to my work and house duties. Others told me that I wasn’t qualified to write a book because I didn’t take courses in school. Despite all the negativity I was surrounded with, my son kept cheering me on. He even became a great person to bounce ideas off of because he really cared about making my dreams come true. We worked together to brainstorm the story for my book and he spent time teaching me how to use social media.
Parenting tip 101: you will gain this strong loving bond with your child if you give them time from the start. Your child is important. Although it may seem obvious, you need to make sure they know how important they are to you. The best way to show them this is to spend time with them.
Think about your relationships with others. The relationships that you dedicate time to willingly are the ones where you can count on that individual to be there for you when you need them the most. The same can be said with a child-parent relationship. Being a mother has brought me so many years of joy that I continue to enjoy today. Whenever my son calls me ‘mom’ (whether it is to show me something or to kiss his boo-boos), it puts a smile on my face. Because to one little guy, I’m special and loved. I never knew how much love my heart could hold, until my son called me ‘mommy.’
Yes, we all live busy lives. But, your kids should always come first. They need you just as much as you need them. Let them know that you care. You will see the strength in your relationship with them grow in due time.