Today is Mother’s Day (well, in the United States at least… Here in Argentina, it’s in October). Nevertheless, I believe it’s a time for me to reflect on how my life has changed since the birth of my son. To say that it has been a roller coaster would be a fairly appropriate analogy. There are times I feel up in the air, like I am positively flying at 100 miles per hour with joy… but on the flip side, there are moments of insecurity or doubt which send me crashing down to earth at a 90 degree angle.
I had my doubts before about this, but now that I am a mom, I understand and can now say without any doubt or reservation that being a parent is *the* hardest job out there… and I’m not going to lie- it’s a little daunting to comprehend that this is, indeed, a permanent, 24 hour position from which there is no throwing in the towel, no quitting, and no day off. It makes my own mom, who was a single working mother of two, seem nothing less than a miracle worker. When I think about all the trials and challenges that she overcame, while still singlehandedly always being there for us without fail, I am in awe… How the hell did she do it?!?
In any case, though I’ve only been a parent for two years and change, I, too, have learned quite a bit. Here are the top few truths that I’ve learned along the way…
1). What is best for other families is not necessarily the best for your family.
Allow me to elaborate a bit more on exactly what I mean. There have been many decisions that my husband and I have made together that affect us as a family that others might judge or deem as wrong. For example, the fact that I decided before Sebastian’s birth that I wasn’t going to breastfeed him. It was something that I kept primarily on the down low from most friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers (judgy judgy!). Moreover, Sebastian’s birth was a scheduled C-section, which some might believe makes me less worthy or less of a mother for having chosen not to go through the pushing process. There’s also the issue that in our family, I am the breadwinner, while my husband is the “house spouse.” But you know what? All of these choices that we made have ultimately been the best for *US*. Perhaps not for other families, and I completely understand and respect that. But each family and each child that they bring into the world (forgive the cliche) is as unique as an individual fingerprint or snowflake. I just wish I had known about this fact sooner.
2). Family is undeniably, unequivocally, undoubtedly one of the most important things in life.
Living abroad, especially as a relatively new parent, is not easy. I hate that I feel at times I am cheating my mother and sister out of the whole doting grandmother and super-cool aunt experiences. There are also times when being a parent in Argentina frustrates me. I can’t buy decent baby clothes or toys here, while most basic child-rearing necessities and commodities are expensive as f*ck, and crime, insecurity, and inflation are all on the rise. But at least in Buenos Aires, we have Fede’s family (as well as many members of his extended family) living all within a stone’s throw of each other. Back in the motherland, by contrast, my own family is completely scattered across the vast country, with very little concentration in one particular area. In this case, Fede and I both agree that it is of utmost importance for Sebastian to grow up with the experience of as much family as possible. After all, they are the ones who have loved, supported, cared for, and backed us since Day One. Despite all the difficulties that come with living here, I know that it is worth it, family is everything.
3). There’s nothing wrong with “one and done.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love my son with every fiber of my being. He is the love of my life, and with that being said, I am more than contented with our lives as a family of three. I want to offer my son nothing but the best and allow him every opportunity to be happy and to fulfill his dreams and aspirations. But realistically speaking, this ability of mine would be greatly compromised if we added a second child into the mix. It’s not an easy decision to make. I acknowledge that some people, particularly family, are a bit disappointed and don’t quite get it. Maybe they even think that I am being selfish by not giving my child a sibling to love, play with, and even fight with, that in some way, he’ll be missing out on something important. I understand their point of view, I have a sibling myself who I love dearly, but I still stand firm in my decision to stop at one child. It’s not just the financial aspect, but also the fact that, as much as I love, love, love Seba, I positively HATED being pregnant and had suffered an emotional and mental breakdown that nearly drove me and Fede apart and almost cost me my life. There are no guarantees in life, I feel that it would be the absolute wrong decision to compromise everything that I have accomplished to bring another child into the world.
So am I a parenting guru already ? Well, not exactly. But I do feel confident that everything I have experienced in these past two years has served and will continue to serve me well, as I continue to learn more and more as time goes by.
With that being said, I cordially wish a very HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY Mother’s Day to all moms, not just back in the United States, but everywhere.