It has taken me some time to "surrender" to motherhood. In the beginning I often found myself trying to hide it. I suppose I was a closet mom. Lol. For one thing, the toys were always out of sight. When people came over, even those who were childless, they would literally ask, "Where are the toys? You have a daughter, don't you?" (And she would peek around the corner and blow my cover.) And for another thing, I didn't want to morph into a craft loving, WalMart shopping, easy recipe seeking, trendier, less thrill seeking person. If that makes sense.
It's not that I was ashamed. Honestly. It's that I felt like I'd given up on the dream. The dream women have of having it all. And I'd cashed in my bond too early, so to speak. I was 24 when we had our first child... so, not terribly young, but definitely "in my prime". None of my friends had children. Many of them STILL do not have children. I tried to act like nothing had changed, just because I'd had a baby. "Sure, I'm still playing... why I just had a gig last week." (And never mind that it was a freebie.) But things had changed. And suddenly I was on a different wavelength than everyone else. My day was the polar opposite of their days. My responsibilities had changed, my concerns had changed, and my path in life would be forever changed.
I had a difficult time accepting this. My friends and colleagues were travelling,working their way up and gaining exposure without me. I'd see their accomplishments and somehow feel insignificant. I remember my mentor asking me when my daughter was about a year old, "What are you doing with your music?", and feeling ashamed that I had no breaking news for him. That I saw no way to be both mother and professional musician. I knew that he and his wife had found a way to have it all and that I wasn't going to be so lucky. Maybe I lacked desire. Maybe I lacked ambition. Maybe I didn't deserve it. I didn't know. But I felt guilty.
The truth as I can now see it, is that there probably WAS a way for me to be a mother and a professional. But there is no way I could have been the kind of mother I WANTED TO BE, or I was SUPPOSED to be, and a professional musician. Motherhood has set the highest standard for me... higher than my music, or my dance, or my art, or any other keen interest has. And through the years, I've learned to hold my head high and embrace all that comes with motherhood. I no longer hide my "motherness". Or have it in my head that "I can't have it all". I know Oprah recently did a show on this, and although I am not really a fan, I really liked what she said - that "You can have it all, just not at the same time." Definitely true.
Am I justifying my decision to be a mother... a decision I probably made before I was completely ready? Maybe. A little. But, as I'm sure many of you moms out there have realized or begun to realize, the blessings you receive from raising children are tenfold. You can have everything back and then some. And I would never, ever, change that. That's a full life right there. That's a life with no regrets.