29 April 2010, by Daphne Ling
Thanks to an overdose of Gilmore Girls, I’ve always wanted to have kids young. Mostly so that I could go shopping with my teenage daughter and try to pass off as her older sister. Or share clothes because I would still be young enough not to have to wear silk blouses and pants with tacky flower motifs. Or go for parties and get picked up by boys half my age just so I can finally say, “dude, I’m way out of your league”.
I used to picture myself with lots of kids gathered at the dinner table trading stories of our day and bonding over my homemade creme brulee.
Then by the time I got married and could actually have a baby, I realized that before I got to the fun part, I’d have to do all the difficult stuff first, like get pregnant for nine months, figure out how to take care of a screaming baby, struggle with breastfeeding, forego sleep for a year, deal with childcare issues, worry about finances and pretty much give up what I want for what’s best for the kid.
That was sort of a dampener.
On our wedding day, my husband and I made a pact to not have babies for at least two years, so that we could enjoy our vacations, splurge on ourselves and get our careers on track before even having to think about diapers and milk powder. We just didn’t feel ready to take care of an entire human being for the next 25 years, not to mention all the financial obligations that came along with it. It was fun and good to play with our friends’ babies, just as long as we could return them after we got bored.
Of course, I should have known that none of my perfectly-laid plans ever came to pass. I found out I was pregnant 8 months later and after my schizophrenic celebration that involved some panicking and mild hyperventilation, I kissed goodbye to my life as I knew it.
I hung up my dancing shoes, drank my last shot of tequila and went out to buy a truckload of giant yoga pants and hair curlers. Well, not literally, but I basically traded my life as a media person for a life as a mom.
Two years and two babies later, I look back on the day that changed everything and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The cliches are true. Being a mom is perhaps the toughest, most undervalued job in the world, and also the most rewarding. Sure, babies somehow find a way to take everything you’ve got and more, but they make up for it by being all chubby, cute and cuddly. Also, they look at you with those baby eyes that make you lose all reason and want to have more.
The sacrifices of having a baby may seem monumental when you look at it from the outside. But take a walk down the other side. For once, the grass is really greener there.
Daphne is a mother of two and blogs at www.motherinc.org.