It’s not about me. He comes first.
My mom always encouraged me to experience life. Get an education, go on the trip, take the new job, move, have your fun. She always told me, “Once you have children, it’s not about you anymore. It’s all about them.” Growing up, my parents lived this motto. Their choice to put us first, to be present, shaped me and informed everything I am. It gave me a strong sense of self and courage to dive in to life. Now, this belief is at the core of “how I mom.” It’s not about me anymore. He comes first.
I am deeply and forever transformed by the little person we brought in to the world. It means my husband and I may not take another trip alone for a while. It means we may miss that party or that night out. It means I now work at a job that makes sense for family time. It means I am different. It means disciplining when I’m tired, feeding him when I’m hungry too, and comforting when I could use a hug myself. It’s making sure he knows it and feels it. He comes first.
Why he comes first:
This was especially jarring when he was a baby. I left my career of 12 years to be a full-time mom. I was ready and eager to embrace my new calling. I had no idea what awaited me. Motherhood demanded my existence, my soul. I think that description feels pretty accurate to a new mom. I was knee-deep in breastfeeding and diapers. I morphed from girl-on-the-go to 24-hour mommy. Those were some eye-opening days. Now, he’s four, potty-trained and in school. He still comes first.
One of my favorite authors and speakers Marianne Williamson said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “You either play life deep or you play life shallow.” You are going to get out what you put in. I play life deep, always. I play parenthood deep, always. I am sowing the seeds of a man that, I pray, will contribute to the world in a meaningful way. I want him to be smart, kind, good, confident, spiritual. I pray all this and so much more for his life. I keep this end goal in sight. That’s why he comes first.
Building up our boy:
This does not mean being a push-over mom. This does not mean forgetting the joy and fun in childhood and parenthood. This does not mean neglecting my health or marriage. This does not mean I never go on a girls trip. This means making choices that are best for his stability and well-being, not for my enjoyment. This is knowing the power of my actions and words, as his mother. This is realizing my decisions have consequences for him. I am always and forever on his side, rooting for him, wanting the best for him, and expecting the best from him. The same is true for his father. We are a team, building up our boy.
This is “how I mom.” I have an important job here. I don’t take it lightly. My time to step back, take a deep breath and relax will be here soon enough. He will one day go out into the world, and fly on his own. I will stand back and let him soar. For now, for me, he comes first.
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