The Watering Hole Blog

Travel BEFORE You Have a Child

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Here is one reader’s response to the first Mothering Matters blog, Getting to the Heart of the Matter: To Be or Not To Be…A Mom? 

There is so much outstanding insight in this feedback, submitted by Jackie Fawns, I thought it deserved it’s very own blog! So here it is: 

This is such a big topic! It’s been on the back of my mind to add some discussion but where to start……? Great job on covering so many of the aspects concerning this matter.

I don’t think I gave it a lot of thought in my early twenties. It was just something I always wanted, To be a Mom. Looking back, (now as age 39, married, new mom, widowed, remarried and 2 more kids) I think I wanted to be a mom because in all my circles of family and friends, that’s just what every one did.

And I absolutely love the baby stage and even being pregnant. All those exciting changes, and cuteness! What’s not to love?

I was even migraine free for the first time in my adult life after the first trimester of pregnancy. So I felt better being pregnant! I never gained access weight, just a giant basketball in my belly, so to me it was cute!

I don’t need tons of sleep so getting up with babies in the middle of the night was not that big of a deal either.

I still say that if they would stay babies I would have more. But they don’t; they grow up to be demanding, taxing, tiring small children and then exhausting teens, so 3 is definitely the limit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my 3 children very much and I dedicate my life to raising them the best I can. And by that I mean I don’t just work my butt off to give them everything they want. I work my butt off to give them great opportunities and teach responsibility and work ethic to become as you say responsible, caring citizens, and, highly important to me, open minded and tolerant!!

I have had very open discussions with my 15 year old daughter about this very topic. I have told her, I love you all very much and I don’t per say regret becoming a mom, but I kinda wish I had done a few more things in life before becoming a mom.

But that has a double edge sword as well, because her dad, my first wonderful husband, appears to have only been in my life long enough to give me that gift of becoming a mom and then quickly exited when she was only 2 months old! So I don’t regret our short 3 1/2 years we had because it is better to have loved and lost than not loved at all and that we did have, a wonderful love.

I never liked it and still don’t but do feel that I was meant to raise her on my own. Why? I have never come to any great conclusions but that’s the hand I was dealt, so there I was left to pick up the pieces.

I did thankfully take this new and unwanted opportunity to now go and ‘do some more things’ in my life. I didn’t per say have a strong career going for me but had done a bit of travelling at age 19, (ventured off on my own for nearly a year, travelling and working in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji), then fell in love with someone (husband # 1) within 6 months of returning, who didn’t share that travel passion…so promptly gave up any plans or ambitions to do any more.

With his passing (after 2 years of incredible sadness and grief), I decided I was sick and tired of being sad and pining away for him was not going to bring him back. I didn’t need to prove to any one any more how much I loved him and I was now going to start living and be happy again, damn it!!! So I did. I decided to do what made me feel fulfilled. Which was not a career, like it is for many women, but rather explore and travel the world! Some with my daughter and some with out.

I have been to 30 plus countries. And most of them not 5 star resorts. I like to see how the locals live, eat their food, listen to their music and do their work. We have volunteered at orphanages…. Ok I better stop talking about that….. Getting off topic and dreaming too much. But it brings me back around to my point of how much I miss said passion.

I have not set foot on a plane in 8 years…why? Because I chose motherhood again.

So my point to my daughter (and I think plays in nicely with parenting her about safe sex and all) is that if you want to do all sorts of these things in your own life – which surprise, surprise she wants to travel – it’s a lot harder to do when you choose motherhood.

And she gets it. She’s not offended. She sees how much work kids are and how it’s not just all cute babies, and that you give up A LOT to become a mom and she’s not sure she wants to do that. She is an aspiring adolescent that has a big check list of things she wants to do – and when you pick motherhood, it becomes all consuming.

So I have opened up options for her. Options that were not really options for me. Of course I could choose and did choose motherhood, no one forced me, but what I’m saying is I was raised in a very strict, religious, close minded family where it was unthinkable to not want to have children. And even my circle of friends, were, small town people who mostly picked motherhood because that’s what society tells you to do.

I didn’t have as broad of spectrum of influences in my life at that time who opened my perspectives. And interestingly enough, after being single and not really fitting into the couples crowd of friends we had had, my new friends were mostly single women, choosing not to have children and therefore that was the first time in my life I was reflecting on those choices and seeing the benefits of not choosing motherhood. And wondering if I had made the right choice.

Of course it was too late for me. But it planted the seed of openness on that ever-so-important topic…because as you quoted me saying: make sure you accomplish a lot of the things in your life that you want before choosing motherhood, otherwise sometimes the child pays the price.

We see that all too often, some making the best of it and others failing, sadly. Had I been a part of discussions like this prior to choosing motherhood at age 24, would I have chosen differently? Who knows?

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!

I may have only pined away for all that cuteness of babies and even all the wonderful joys they do bring as toddlers, preschoolers and teens, not knowing how hard it can be, like your mom said.

And Terry, you are so right. So many have had children for those reasons. Maybe it’s natures way of keeping our species alive! If we all knew how much we had to give up to become a parent and how exhausting and frustrating it can be at times, we’d probably die off in 2 generations!

Haha…. And I’ll end it at that. :-)
Take care,

P.S. It’d be so fun to be a part of another group discussion like the houseboat documentary, again. So much more insight 11 years later…

If you would like to participate in the Mothering Matters blog series, here’s the link to subscribe. 

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