Motherhood has been a complete whirlwind.
I went from a very well organized spontaneous young woman who had tons of time for herself and her husband to learning how to be (me) all over again. Having to care for my daughter has been such a privilege and a huge moment-by-moment learning experience. There is never a moment where I can confidently say I’ve definitively figured anything out. Ironically that’s also what’s beautiful: being a mother has allowed me the freedom to let go of control.
I think I experience motherhood though several cultures.
I am a black immigrant from Central America. I often feel like I am learning how to be a black American. Even though I was married to my husband (a black American) for many years before we had our daughter, I never felt the need to understand black America or American culture for that matter. After a combination of relocating to the south, then giving birth to a black American child and the reality of parenting a black child in American became all too real. I had to learn a history I never quite thought affected me. However, after becoming a mom it suddenly felt very personal because I knew it would affect my child. In the last few years I have had to shield or explain so many situations to my preschooler. To be honest, I have been learning through each situation at the very same time as my child. It is still very difficult for me to fully process a culture that isolates another based on sheer exterior existence. I will say however, having spent my earlier years in a society that was based on character has succeeded at helping to maintain the optimism for humanity that comes naturally from childhood innocence.
Motherhood has taught me to be open and spontaneous.
Children experience emotions moment by moment. They can have a full meltdown one second and a giggle-fest the next. Watching my child learn, grow and excel inspires me to do the same, because we were all once fearless little tiny humans. Witnessing such bravery packed into a pint-sized package can defeat any thoughts of failure… or at least inspire you to try harder!
The very moment I knew I was going to be responsible for another human life, I discovered the strength to begin living.
Before becoming a mother I was hesitant to take the necessary steps towards my personal goals. I want to teach my daughter to be fearless, unapologetically. To live in a way that is unexpected of women: to be strong, deliberately. The moment I began to do just that was the moment I began to feel immense joy – the kind of happiness that can only come from fulfilling your personal dreams and desires.
Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, wellness advocate, and mountain mama. She is the founder of The Mama Sagas, writes for several publications and hosts a regular parenting TV segment on Colorado's Everyday Show. When she's not huddled over edits, you're likely to find Saralyn climbing peaks or skiing down them, and reminding herself that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her.