enriched beyond measure
I want you all to know: I’m not always a whiner.
Okay, maybe sometimes I am. Still, in case I misled you in my recent posts in this series (based on Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira’s book), I want to take time to recognize the amazing ways that I’ve been enriched by becoming a parent.
Here are just a few ways motherhood has blessed, transformed, and enriched me:
1) My heart has expanded
I don’t think I quite understood how far love could stretch until I started taking care of another totally dependent being. It started with a puppy when I was six months pregnant (yes, a crazy idea). For the first time I felt that loving ache– almost like a stretch in my heart. When my son AJ was born, my heart expanded as I bonded with him. Then NT was born looking completely different from AJ. It seems funny, but that silly appearance factor erased any doubt I would have to divide my love. I thought, “Oh! This is a completely different child!” as my heart ballooned for both little boys. My daughter’s birth magnified my love even more, and I now understand how folks with quivers of children love each one uniquely, not equally. I truly believe that parenting has expanded my capacity to love.
2) My priorities shifted beyond myself
Yes, I do gripe sometimes, but without a doubt, parenting has shifted my priorities for the better. My younger hopes and dreams were all about what I wanted to accomplish. Now I must consider how every choice impacts my family, and most of the time that happens automatically. By design, parenting has taught me to be less self-absorbed and more focused on others, and I believe I’m a better person for it. As Caryn writes,
“When your day’s agenda includes learning about and enjoying the people your children are becoming, it makes sacrificing easy and rewarding–to a point, that is.”
–p. 16, Mama’s Got a Fake ID
3) I “get” God just a little bit more
I’ve got a long way to go, but parenting has magnified and clarified my faith in so many ways. Being a mother has shown me how God loves us for who we are rather than for what we do. I begin to understand how God might allow us to struggle so we may grow through hard times. And I really can see how it breaks His heart to watch us suffer, but know that he wants the best for us no matter what. I’m beginning to “get” that, and a parental perspective has given me a metaphor to help me on my faith journey.
Add these three to countless other benefits of motherhood, such as learning to survive without sleep, multitask like a maniac, and trust my intuition: without a doubt, I’ve been enriched beyond measure by motherhood.
How has parenthood (or another life-changing experience) refined or enriched you?