Before I had children, my life was very different. I was a public school teacher and as much as I loved it, overtime, I was happy when the bell rang and everybody went home. I felt like it was nice to handle children for a certain amount of time and then it was time to hand them off to their parents and go my merry way. My “merry” way?
What was this freedom really about? I would go home and make dinner for one like a box of mac & cheese or pick up Chinese takeout (note that this was before I was serious about living a natural and healthy life). I would have my television on in the background every single evening as I graded papers until I was done or it was time to stop and go to bed.
I had a few friends that I would hang out with and that was fun. I would volunteer at the church’s food drives and watch babies in the nursery on Sundays. I was always “busy,” mostly in honorable ways, but I still felt void. I still felt incomplete.
I had time…lots and lots and lots of time. Time to do so much. Time to do anything that I wanted to do. I would read lots of books for hours without interruptions, I could just get up and leave, without having to think about what I needed or if someone needed anything (like a diaper bag or a sippy cup etc.).
This is the good one: I could sleep in. Yes. I could sleep in until noon. I could watch a movie anytime we wanted. I could stay up as late as I wanted and life seemed to be great. But in reality, I was lonely. I felt alone. I definitely felt like something was missing in my life. And that made all the difference. That feeling inside made life not as enjoyable not as great.
And then I met a great guy who is now my husband of six years. We have two children (a boy and a girl) and let me tell you: this has been the most wonderful and most terrifying experience in my life. Becoming a mom is hard. Really, really hard. Figuring out how to eat healthy while I was pregnant and to have my baby grow and develop well inside me was nerve-racking. Trying to get rest while pregnant was also hard and then figuring out everything that I needed for the new baby was a cause for distress.
I wanted to get the best of the best of everything, splurging left and right, but it wasn’t always doable. And then when my first baby was born, I tried so hard to learn about breastfeeding and about cloth diapering and about scheduling and about colors of poop and types of throw up and which clothes are ok for the weather and whether I wanted to take the baby out in public right away or not. All of those decisions I had to make minute by minute would drive me nuts sometimes and I had no clue which way to go, so I found myself winging it half the time.
When my son was a year and a half old, he could do so many things that were advanced as we were learning together and doing educational activities. At that point, I started to pray about the possibility of homeschooling my children and I thought that he was still young enough to get my feet wet in it and decide whether it’s the right thing for our family or not so we started trying it out. We have never looked back. It has been such a rewarding experience for all of us and we couldn’t have it any other way we just wouldn’t we would never choose to be apart and we would never choose to not have them at home learning.
So, going back to the title of my blog post “Before I had Children,” I confess that sometimes I do think back on those times when when it felt like I had all the time in the world, when I could do anything at anytime at any place with anyone without having to worry and without having to take anything into consideration. But now, being a mother is much more rewarding having to have two little guys count on you and depend on you and learn from you and keep you company and play with you and make this place a home. Having my husband is wonderful, but having children is definitely the biggest blessing for both of us.
I cannot imagine life without my children. Even when it’s hard, even when it’s tiring, even when it’s loud and chaotic and messy and dirty and our meals have been shortened at restaurants and last forever (or so it seems) at home, having my children’s smiling faces looking at me means more to me than having a million dollars in my hand. All in all, I would never trade my mommy life for my single life. I miss sleeping in, I miss reading books for hours at a time, but the life that I have now is more than a blessing to me and I am so privileged to have them in my life.
A few days ago, my son turned five years old. It is incredible to think that time has flown by so quickly. It feels like it was just a few months ago that he was a tiny newborn and now he can do so many things! He is a highly intelligent little man who can reason and play and learn at a high-level. He is the “calendar, lists and schedules” guy. He is becoming an incredible individual.
It is the same with his sister. She’s almost 3 years old and I cannot believe it. She is loud, feisty, smart and oh so sweet and cuddly. She communicates very well and comes up with the funniest expressions. I am so happy to have a girl, too. I can see them growing right before my eyes and I love seeing that invisible lightbulb turn on whenever they grasp a new idea and have a new incredible adventure to discover their world.
Their upcoming birthdays got me thinking about my single life, my past life, and how little those things seem to matter to me now. I will eventually get sleep and I will eventually read all the books that I want but if I had the choice I would choose to be with my children instead of sleeping. Thinking about having him with us for almost 5 years and having her with us for almost three years, I realize how much my life has changed and it is absolutely incredible.
I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love being a part of their education, where they learned with me and play with me and hang out with me and love on me and reach out to me when they need my help to know that they can count on me no matter what. And this is just the beginning; it’s only been almost three and almost 5 years. That’s it.
There are many more years to come of us learning together and sharing… the most important thing is that I believe continue to do my best for them to grow to be disciplined and strong and faithful individuals but above all, for them to be a man and a woman of faith. A man and woman of God. A man and woman full of compassion in their hearts.
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