All my life I quit before I built anything extraordinary. Can I stick with motherhood all the way?
I remember the first time I met my son I didn’t feel an immediate bond. I was 12 hours out of a c-section under general anesthesia, groggy, feeling airy but I wanted to see him because I wanted to meet my little man and you know, that’s the thing you do when you have a baby.
I was upset that I wasn’t first to see him (I really envy mothers who deliver their children through natural birth) but when I did see him, I felt nothing. It definitely wasn’t a textbook reaction to one’s baby. I also couldn’t imagine that this little being with no visible eyebrows or nipples was going to be my responsibility every day from then on. The pre-mom persona in me started to panic.
Prior to settling down, I was perpetually in an exploratory mode. I was never one to complete anything that I’d started. Or to be more precise, I was a short term work horse. Every job I did, I would exceed all expectations of all my bosses. I would own my job and be like, indispensable in the short term. But I would shock bosses and family by quitting and nomadic-ally move on after 1.5 years, when results of my legacy diligence was just starting to take shape.
I swear I didn’t plan my life like this. I am not a huge fan of horoscope predictions. I would look at the careers of my peers with great envy, wishing I could stay put in a job too. In my mind, I really wanted to be in a job for ten years, wind up in a swanky ergonomic designer chair of my own, with a title that implied “guru”, “authority” and “don’t fuck with me”.
What I realized after listening into a podcast that interviewed Barry Diller, that I was essentially a very quick learner. Just like Barry Diller (I can see you go, “yyyyeaahh“). I would move diagonally into a role, sweep up all legacy intel and current industry trends in my head, working double time to achieve a high degree of literacy in my job speak. I learned, I achieved the goals I had set out to achieve, then I got bored and moved on.
Unlike Barry Diller (this is where you nod approvingly), I wasn’t moving deeper and vertically into the same industry. I wasn’t strategic, boo. Instead I dabbled in this and that. I have been a teacher, a sales rep, waitress, kitchen assistant, bartender, restaurant manager, food importer, brand consultant. I used to joke that the only food place I hadn’t worked in was McDonald’s.
All my life I quit before I built anything extraordinary.
I bet you’ve done the numbers in your head and have figured out that’s at least 10 years of wasted time. Yyyuuuuup it was more like 15 if you added the adhoc work and travelling that I don’t put on my resume . I caused my mom a lot of grief back in those days. My mom who loved me so much but never accepted my wandering ways.
So when I looked at my son and panicked I told no one. How will they ever understand and how will they not judge me? The transition from pre-mom to mom was brief. I’d chosen to have my baby on the cheapest plan that was heavily government subsidized so the nurses in the hospital ward were helpful but cruel enough to leave a new mom to struggle with recuperation and a new baby.
Like any mom, I struggled my way up the steep learning curve of parenting. But the struggles gave me a sense of duty and helped me make peace with my new identity. Strangers anywhere outside of work would only refer to me as “mommy”. They didn’t need to know my real name anymore – just my email address and how old my son was. Most importantly with each struggle came problems. What I learnt from solving each problem helped me learn more about parenting, my baby and myself.
Fast forward to today, when my son is 2.5 years old and I’d been seriously blogging for a couple of months, I have realized and accepted the facts that parenting always gets harder, doesn’t stop when they turn 18 and while there’re milestones the project called “Ask Mom” doesn’t have an end date.
Blogging is my favorite way to reflect on my parenting ways and my motherhood mindset. For every post that I write I would have read many others and interacted with other parents on Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and at work. I have come to terms with the fact that parenting is not a sprint but a marathon. Parenthood is not a race but an ecosystem of influences and factors that were and were not within my control. “Mother” is a lifelong identity. If there was a life after death moms and dads will still be parenting.
I am a mom and I don’t want to see the end to this parenting.
Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation – Robert A. Heinlein