June 18, 2024

I was Meant to Be a Mother—His Mother.

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Sometimes, I feel like I wasn’t meant to be a mother.

My rearing taught me to be nurturing and loving, but it also taught me to be impatient, critical, have high expectations, and yell.

Back in 2008, I was experiencing an irregular menstrual cycle and symptoms. After evaluations, not one but two gynecologists told me that I did not ovulate and would most likely never be able to have children. It wasn’t the most disappointing news. I was a youthful and free 24-year-old and it was actually quite liberating.

I went about my life that year, setting off to work and live in South Korea. I embraced my wanderlust and let it blow me like the wind around the globe.

About a year into my stint in Seoul, on a drunken night with an old and familiar face from my hometown, I created life. Flabbergasted. Distressed. Ultimately though, I embraced it as what life had bestowed on me.

My son is now 13-years-old, and I have mostly been a single mother to him. It’s been a journey of numerous ebbs and flows. I have navigated life with him living in different cities nationwide, as a military spouse, enduring a divorce, coping with his absent father, struggling financially and professionally, grappling mentally and emotionally, and so much more.

Through it all, my boy has always come first.

Everyone says kids can’t come first: “How can the children be happy and healthy if they don’t have a healthy mom?” Blah blah blah. In theory, it’s totally true, but in reality, especially solo, it’s a hard feat to manage.

My boy is not only a teen whose brain is pruning daily and who’s going through all sorts of peculiarities, but he also has severe ADHD. As if motherhood wasn’t hard enough, raising someone neurodiverse is the topping on the cake.

Life with him has been merry. He’s got a killer sense of humor. He’s creative and his masterpieces—Lego, comics, drawings—are magic to the eyes. He has so much knowledge about countless astounding random facts. Just ask him to read an almanac and you’ll get a synopsis for the year to come. He’s a rad kid.

Life with him has also been taxing. His ADHD makes him forgetful. It makes him stim at all hours of the waking day; since he was born he’s made noises of all kinds: humming, singing, and rhythmic sounds. He can be oppositional and argumentative. He’s generally never satisfied. And he whines, a lot.

The demanding moments make me feel as if I should have never been given this child. I feel like I was ill-prepared with the foundation for loving and guiding him the way he needs to be.

When I want quiet and he hums insistently, I ask him nicely but it continues and then I shout just to get a few minutes of quietude. When he answers back, from time to time I shutdown and stop talking to him. When he forgets his chores, I find fault in his abilities. Then I am left with the catastrophizing—I am potentially ruining him.

I often question why life made me a mother. Could it have been someone else who was more developed? Someone who was actually ready, willing, and able to bring a life into this world? Someone who did the work to heal and grow before their offspring graced their life? Just…someone else.

In the midst of all this rumination and questioning, there’s also the thought, “No one can do it better for him.” Who knows my boy better than me? Who knows his needs better than me? Who desires more than me to be better for him? No one on this planet.

Even though life as a single mom is arduous, it’s also beautiful. For every howl, there’s triple the hugs, smiles, kisses, caresses, and back scratches. For every reproval, there are so many moments of pride and admiration. For every irked cold shoulder, there are a multitude of memorable and engaging conversations, and lots of laughter.

To end, a cliché that is truer than ever: life’s not perfect. No human is ideal. I am not flawless, nor is my child. No place, person, thing on Earth will ever be. We are all just humans having these human experiences.

What I am certain of is that I am the ideal mother for him and he is the best child for me.

In this journey of motherhood, the biggest thing I can give each of us is grace. Grace for what I have done, am doing, and will do even better. Grace for who he was, is now, and will be in the future.

I was meant to be a mother—his mother.

And if you are a parent in the midst of it too, life intended for you to be their parent, their guide. I send you light and love, and may you send it back to yourself everyday.


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