I am a driven person. I have goals. I have aspirations. In high school everyone knew I was going places. I attend an elite university. I have an A- grade average. I am tough. I overachieve. I can do hard things. But when I tell someone my deepest desire and goal in life, they scoff at me. Scruntch up their face. Blank stare. Walk away.
Why isn’t my goal good enough? Why do people think I am limiting myself? It is a “real” job. Isn’t it the toughest job on the planet? Motherhood is not for wimps. It is not for the faint at heart. It is not an excuse to escape the corporate world. It is not subjecting oneself to be less of a woman.
Being a mom does not simply mean bearing children, cleaning house, folding clothes, preparing lunches, or chauffeuring kids around town. It is the day in, day out tasks that keep a household running. It is being the optimist, cheerleader, and believer. It is nurturing the body and soul of another human being. Being a mother involves being a teacher, nurse, maid, philosopher, coach, seamstress, chef, organizer, therapist, body guard, and business woman. How many “real” women actually fulfill all those careers in a lifetime?
We need mothers in this world. Women to clean up throw up from the bed, down the hall, and splattered across the bathroom floor. Women to keep a calm face and stand firm as their toddler attempts to push the limits. Women to hold their sons’ hand with a stiff upper lip as a doctor sews his shredded skin together. Women to teach their teenage daughters virtue and grace, and their sons to recognize and acknowledge the value of such a woman.
I am not picking a generic or easy goal. I choose the hard road. I choose to give up sleep and privacy. I choose to bake 6 dozen cookies to help a fundraiser. I choose to struggle and fight until the Eight Times Tables are memorized.
I will be sick and miserable for months, knowing more struggles are soon to follow. I will bring myself to the gates of death, in effort to welcome a life. I will sacrifice my body and mind to take care of another person.
But I also choose to smell the sweet aroma of a clean baby. I choose to pull the sweaty curls away from my sleeping toddler’s face. I choose to have my daughter run to my arms after school. I choose to see my son’s surprised face at perfect birthday cake. I choose to watch my child grow and implement what I’ve taught them. I choose to see my daughter’s eyes glitter and her smile dance as she tells me of her first kiss.
I find beauty in the snot stains on my favorite blouse; joy in the scissor cuts on my grandmother’s quilt; humor in the scattered toys creating a wondrous city; and peace in the tattered bear and much loved blanket.
I see potential. I see an actress, an astronaut, and an accountant. I see their future: bright and free because I created a world for them to dream.
I choose motherhood. Not because it is what my body is built to do, not because it just happens. I choose motherhood because it is hard; because it the road less travel; because it will require every drop of physical, mental, and emotional strength I have; because it is the most honorable and noble title a woman can ever have. Mom.