Motherhood – Is It Worth It?

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December 12, 2014 by Katia

“So is it worth it?” asks my colleague somewhat skeptically from across the cafeteria table. We’re sitting on bar stools – her – as obliviously as someone would in their natural habitat, me – painfully aware of my status as a temporary bar stool sitter.

I’m new and she doesn’t know much about me. I am, at this point, a patchwork quilt displaying patches of 5am risings, occasionally stained blazers and usually uneventful weekends. Peeking from behind is the quilt itself, which is everything else that makes you-at-work: personality, work style, resume.

“But is it worth it?”

 

motherhood

I’m searching for the words I want to tell her – you — but they form into a ready-made, cookie cutter answer and slip out of my mouth before I can stop myself.

I could tell that you weren’t convinced. Who could blame you.

I never revived that conversation, but what I should have told you was that YES, it’s totally worth it but not because it’s the best thing ever. Or because I catch myself smiling whenever I think of my kids at work, but because of all the things I wouldn’t know about my children if I didn’t have them. What makes it worth it is knowing all those little details that make them them and which make ME the expert on THEM and which I’d never have known had I not had them. True, this comes across as some kind of a nonsense Alice in Wonderland type logic, but I know this with every fiber of my being: making these discoveries and curating that knowledge is motherhood’s greatest reward.

 

What makes it worth it is finding out that my five-year-old son would simply refuse to sleep with his socks on. He never tires of acting out the same elaborate scheme, every night as he first worms his way under the blanket then starts deceitfully wriggling and eventually tucks his bare feet triumphantly in the space above my knees holding his breath, waiting to burst out laughing as I dutifully play my part and reveal my recurring shock…

 

Knowing exactly what he means when he asks “mama, please give me a dream” or when he refers to someone as his “baddest chap”.

 

And if we didn’t have our second child (and who could have predicted a dark-haired curly sibling to our strikingly blond first-born?) would I’ve known that at two my little boy would only want to fall asleep on a blanket carefully laid out on the floor, neatly stacking his stuffies in the bottom right corner, and covering them with another blanket, his own, first? I wouldn’t know that he’d invite me to “fweep” beside him and that he’d never develop as strong of an attachment to any stuffy he owns as did his brother to blue Bear. I wouldn’t know that he would teach me what it meant to have the element of fire in your personality as he charges at me, teeth clenched, for a passionate embrace or a game of row your boat. Who knew I’d invent the game of row your boat. I would never get to experience the sense of bereavement which, as it turns out, is such an integral part of watching your kids growing out of the different stages of childhood.

 

Hell yeah, it’s worth it. You’ll become a Columbus, charting unexplored external and internal territories with your stroller and heart. You’ll be amazed at the discoveries you make, like the fact that you created the mould instead of the cookie, the vessel, not its content. Look at him. You’d never imagine that your younger one so meticulously lining up toy cars to form a row. Getting so upset if someone slightly moved one of them. Grinning at you and announcing with such pride “look I did!” emphasizing the “I” but moreover you would never assume that the mere act of toy car lining bore the potential of filling you up with such a weird combination of intense wonder, curiosity and strangest of all – unexplained pride. You didn’t know that you’ll be punched in your gut daily and that this is what makes it worth it, because you never cared so much about anything else in your life.

53 thoughts on “Motherhood – Is It Worth It?

  1. Love the patchwork quilt analogy🙂

  2. lrconsiderer says:

    This is GORRRRGEOUS. And duh – of COURSE it’s worth it!

    I bub dis more than, or at LEAST as much as I bub the picture😀

  3. It is worth it for all of those reasons and more. It is hard to explain to someone without children. Before I had my daughter I was happy. I lived a good life and would have continued to be happy and blissfully unaware of what I was missing, but once she was born I could not imagine a life without her in it. I couldn’t believe that she was mine. I never loved anything so much. I find myself crying happy tears sometimes just watching her play. It is hard to know what you are missing until you experience it.

  4. Alma Campos says:

    Wow, I loved this and so needed it. It’s been such a rough week! Thanks for the reminder. We live in such an individualistic culture, that the mere thought of doing something outside of ourselves (like motherhood, parenthood) is looked down upon by many who do not have any children. It’s awesome and humbling to be able to do that. To give love without an angle, without a special interest.

    • Katia says:

      That’s a great point. In my colleague’s case, from what I gather, she is very fond of kids and comes from a big family, she was just responding to a not very appealing scenario I had painted, but you are so right in your general observation about our culture. And so so glad I could make your week a little better🙂

  5. Gosh Katia I love this. I love the perspective and your breathtaking metaphors and beautiful words. Yes. Worth it.

  6. Or that you’d get a text from your child now studying 3000 miles away and their usage of that one word has you howling with laughter. You get it. He gets it.

  7. Natalie DeYoung says:

  8. Tricia says:

    I love this! It’s a powerful thing – knowing that no one knows these little people like we do.

  9. twentyfirstcenturymomma says:

    Reading your post entry has made my day. Many may view having children a life-time responsibility. But there isnit a day that I cannot imagine having my girls around me. There are my rock and the sunshine when my world is raining cats and dogs. The moment we feel the life growing inside of us, it’s a blessing from God. Nothing compares to the feeling of listening to your little’s one heart beat.

    Please visit me toos at http://www.twentyfirstcenturymomma.wordpress.com

  10. This is really great. Gets you thinking of just the simple things in life. As a parent it can seem like a constant struggle sometimes but then they say something funny and cute in their own language that only you as a mother can understand is the best feeling ever. Nothing like the feeling that you have created these little people in your life.🙂..

    • Katia says:

      Absolutely. It’s an amazing, amazing feeling. I am often struck with it when I look at their little fingers, knees and I find myself in absolute amazement that I had something to do with this🙂

  11. katerina says:

    Katia…..you are right to everything! !!!!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, my dear. Do you know that I started writing this post probably a few weeks ago, but then our correspondence made me rewrite it? I’m glad you agree. xoxo

  12. Well, of course it is worth it! (I have to admit that no one has asked me that question, but I know how I’d answer it!) I’m curious, how did it end with your co-worker? Did she agree that having kids was worth it?

    • Katia says:

      I never spoke to her about this again. I think she was reacting to some not very appealing scene I described to her and along with what she knows about the routine 5am wake ups she must have found the conversation a bit discouraging and was looking to be reassured. I’ll try to be a better advocate next time🙂

  13. busy lady says:

    Thank you for asking and answering the question! After raising my 2 daughters and now watching my 7 grandchildren grow up, I say being a mommy was well worth it. Hard work, sometimes discouraging, sometimes sad, but it was worth it.

    • Katia says:

      I agree. I said it in another forum where this was posted: it’s a harder job than I’ve ever imagined. It has a lot of discouraging moments. A lot of disappointment (and most often it’s with myself and the way I react, as oppose to what I imagine to be the ideal mother’s reaction) but to me it is totally worth it. Without a shadow of a doubt.🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your perspective!

  14. amycake76 says:

    Beautifully eloquent, Katia!

  15. I love the way you write, thanks for sharing may follow this x

  16. firebailey says:

    I love your line, you become your own Columbus. Motherhood (parenthood?) is definitely a journey worth taking. Even if it means you crash onto a beach.

  17. Dana says:

    So worth it. That bittersweet sense of bereavement – I’ve been searching for a way to put that into words for so long. And you just did it. Thank you, Katia.

  18. Tarana Khan says:

    I agree with everything. We know our kids in a way that anyone probably ever will, and nothing can give us happiness than in seeing them happy.

    • Katia says:

      I was going to respond that very same day and say: we’re equal then. But then life happened. Nevertheless still very much appreciated and thank you!

  19. I agree that it’s the best thing ever. I agree with pretty much everything.

  20. This is full of beautiful imagery. Of course it’s worth it! But yes, not for any obvious reason.

  21. Kalyn says:

    Meplusthreemakescrazy.wordpress.com
    Please check me out & please leave some advice I’m just starting out. I promise to return the love 😁

  22. lac83 says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Before I had kids I had no idea what I was missing out on. It’s worth every sleepless night, every crayoned wall, and every stretch mark. Loved reading this, and can’t wait to read more!

    • Katia says:

      Oh, thank you so much! Yes, and the thing that always strikes me is how unexpected are some of those moments of bliss. I was putting away 5 Year Old’s pj’s and socks this morning, having woken up at 4am, and all of a sudden I caught myself looking at these items and thinking “life is great”.

  23. leighbroady says:

    Love this! It is written absolutely beautiful and I believe every mother will be able to relate. When I pregnant with my daughter (only have 1 kid so far) I kept asking all my friends with kids, “is this 9 months really worth it?” My 9 months of being pregnant were easy compared to others, yet I am a perfectionist, a planner, someone who likes to know the end result and how I’m getting there. Since I couldn’t see my end result I was so unsure if I would enjoy motherhood, if I would get that feeling most moms have, was I missing something…I was worried for 9 months. And now I know why no one could answer my question…It’s something you can’t describe. It’s an unreal feeling that only you know or others who have kids can relate. As you said, its that feeling that overcomes you when thinking about something funny your kid said or did. You nailed it!

    • Katia says:

      First of all, thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment and apologies for taking so long to respond. Since starting my full time job I am constantly overwhelmed. I think that you’re on to something very true here with the observation you make about perfectionism and many people’s need to be prepared. I’m so glad this resonated with you and so thankful for your warm and kind words!

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