I became a mom, and then it happened. I abandoned pretty much all of my dreams, and I'm okay with that.
- I no longer need a successful screenwriting career; I just want my children to sleep through the night, every night for a week straight.
- I no longer need to be a high-powered executive; I just want my children to meet every developmental milestone that they can.
- I no longer need to be a loaded yachtie, as long as my children are happy most days.
- And even though I gave up on being Janet Jackson's tour choreographer long ago—it was what I ALWAYS wanted to be when I grew up—I still would pick an ear-infection-free year over hanging with Miss Jackson any day.
Becoming a mom changes your perspective, your priorities, your everything … and it happens in an instant. I admit I was completely blown away by just how fast my entire life shifted into a new universe. Motherhood was a territory that was completely foreign to me for so long, and then, in a literal moment, it became my world. You would think that since the old me and the new me were so unbelievably different that the change would have been gradual; but, as trite as it sounds, it was like somebody just flipped a switch.
Just like that … flip.
Before I became a mom, I was well into my 30s and plugging away at a communications career with some amazing corporations. I had just attained my first personal salary goal—I wanted to hit a certain number before I turned 40—and things were going well. Even better? I was about to become a mom! And after an entire pregnancy of contemplation, I made the decision to stay home with my baby (now, babies). Flip.
Just like that, I was no longer concerned with whom was invited to which meeting. I was concerned with how many ounces of formula my baby had consumed that day. Flip.
I was no longer focused on my next promotion. All I could think about was our next nap. Flip.
And, no longer did I care what the rest of the world was doing—I was consumed by this tiny baby, and not much existed outside of our embrace. Flip.
But the remarkable part of all of this is the amount of regret and sadness I felt about this complete life change: none.
Thinking back, as a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be a choreographer for an artist like Janet Jackson or Madonna. My dreams shifted as I grew up, went to college and grad school, and fell in love with communications theory and journalism. My focus was redirected on a respected title, a fat paycheck, and the corner office.
Then, my kids came along and flipped that upside down. And I have never felt such peace about such upheaval in all of my life. Being a great mom to my two little boys is now the weightiest goal I have; but, I have to admit that I do have my eye on that PTA president position one day.
The thing is, we are constantly talking about how parents need to pay attention to their own self-care. They need to be sure not to lose themselves in parenthood—I’ve even written about this myself. And while I still consider my own life to be of importance and value, my ultimate happiness is now wrapped up in my two little boys. And that’s ok.
Don’t feel sorry for me because my life has so drastically changed. Don’t think that my goals are now less than. Don’t think that the old me is completely buried and that my life is over. It is just beginning.
It’s easy to give up a lot when it means you get so much more in return. Being a mommy is now all I really need. I’m sorry, Miss Jackson … I won’t be available to join you on tour after all.