I was the first born in my family which immediately gave me a leadership role full of responsibility and obligation. First-borns tend to fall into two different categories personality-wise: *compliant, nurturing and caregiving OR aggressive movers & shakers. I was the latter. I did my duty with babysitting my siblings, but only because I had to, it was not my natural instinct to want to mother or nurture. All through high school I preferred restaurant jobs and administrative jobs over babysitting for other people. When I was young I imagined that one day, in my late twenties or early thirties I might have children. But that was a long way off in my future, and definitely not one of my short term goals in life.
And then...at the age of 20 I found myself in an unplanned pregnancy with my first son, Nicholas. I did not feel ready for motherhood and my life was a mess at the time. My first instinct was to go the adoption route as I had no tools to be a good mother, and I did not want an innocent child to have to enter into the crazy world called my life. However, over time and with the help of loved ones and family, I realized I was ready for this adventure called motherhood. And I'm so glad I said yes to that adventure! I will never forget the waves of love that rolled over my heart and left me speechless and in awe the first time I looked at my son and held him in my arms. I realized that even though the high-nurturing instincts were not apparent in my life up to that point, they were still there in my heart, waiting for the day when they would be needed.
When that new bliss wore off and the reality of motherhood set in, I realized there were other obstacles I was going to have to face on this journey. Like, the fact that I have a high need for change and can't stand the daily grind of mundane routine. Also, the fact that one of my primary needs in life is to have a significant impact on my world around me (see my blog about the 4 main motivations in life - http://nicolesthoughtsandmore.blogspot.com/2010/05/4-main-motivations-in-life-which-one.html). And then there was the day when I took the test to find out which love language I am, and I found out "touch" was not even in the top 3! Kids need a LOT of touch. How was I going to bridge that gap? How was I going to change the world when I was stuck at home all day long changing diapers? How was I going to do the same routine every day without losing my mind?
It wasn't until recently that I realized for the past 10 years I've been (for the most part) operating outside my strengths. All the things I'm bad at, thats what I've been doing for the last decade. No wonder I had doubts! No wonder I felt insufficient. I imagine someone who is high nurturing by nature, has touch as their top love language, and is motivated mainly by connection would feel the same way if all they wanted to do was be at home raising their kids, yet had to work full time outside the home to make ends meet. The grass is always greener right? So even though this motherhood thing has been difficult for me, and not as "natural" as it is for other women, I've also realized that I would have been incomplete without the experience. My kids have taught me so much about life. And I hope I've been able to teach them that we all have strengths and weaknesses, but we shouldn't let the weaknesses hold us back from embracing all life has to offer.
When I'm stuck in the trench of doing all the things I'm not good at, I think about what makes it all worth it. Like the fact that I have four healthy, smart, amazing young men in my life that continue to impress me every year they are alive. I think about the snuggles, the giggles, the funny sayings, the accomplishments, their personalities, the vacations, the holidays, their futures and the possibilities of all the things that are still to come. Now that I understand myself better, I don't even wish for this part of my life to hurry up and get over with. It will go fast enough, I know. I embrace it fully. The other side will be a new adventure. It isn't going anywhere, it will wait for me. For now, bring on the hugs & kisses, the daily grind, the messes, the homework, and even the part about being hidden away changing diapers instead of changing the world. I'm not trapped, I'm blessed!
*You can read more about this in the book "The Birth Order Book" by Dr. Leman