Thursday, May 14, 2015

5 most important life lessons I learned when I became an unexpected mother

When I became a mother (unexpectedly), my life completely turned around.

My family, friends, and the people I have worked with know I'm a control freak. I wanted to plan everything out so I laid every detail of my life.

I thought I had it running according to my plans. I thought I had already realized my purpose. I thought I'm already walking toward the path of my dreams.

But, I was completely wrong.

Our little man came when my career and my life was shaky. I just resigned from my job and I haven't achieved the goals yet I have promised myself to get. Then, it hit me.

I realized all I have was a plan. Even if I knew what I wanted to achieve in life, the direction I wanted to take, and the future I wanted to materialize, I realized I was barely there.

On that fateful day, I remember I was so nervous and my heart was beating really fast while I was waiting for the pregnancy test result. It was the scariest moment of my life because I knew I don't want to be a mother yet. When I saw the two lines, I knew my life would not be the same again.

I cried hard. I can't explain the fear I felt. I knew I had to deal with the reality but I don't know how. Why did this happen when I'm rebuilding my career, my life? How can I raise a child when I can't even pull my life together? Am I ready to be a mother? How about my dreams?

Yes, I knew I was being selfish and I was being unfair to our unborn child when I wasn't able to accept the reality while it's clear as the sun that our actions as consenting adults have led to this.

Amidst the confusion, God made it easier for us to move forward. He gave me a partner who, the moment he knew that we're expecting, was very excited and willing to start a new life with me and our baby even though he's also not prepared. Though I know they would have preferred to have things at the right time, our respective families were also able to accept our situation.

When me and my partner decided to be mature and take the responsibility, the life that I have always wanted suddenly unfolded in front me. And then I realized, having our little man is the turning point in our lives. I learned a lot more things when we had him. But, these are the most important lessons for me.

1) Your life doesn't stop when you have kids
I had a wrong impression before that when you start to have kids, you will not have enough time for yourself anymore because you would be occupied with your duties as a mother and as a wife and you should devote most (if not all) of your time to the family that you're building together.

But, this should not be the case. Whether you're a stay at home mom or a working mom, it's very important that you maintain your personal and career goals, and your individuality. No matter how hard it is, make time for the things that matter to you and for the things that you love to do. This will create a happier, more confident and more fulfilled Y-O-U which will project in your family life.

In my case, it's the other way around. My life truly started when we had our little man. Motherhood was the way for me to realize my purpose and to be able to do more things, much more than I expected. It made me the super woman that I am today.

2) It's never too early or too late to pursue your passion
When it comes to pursuing your passion, I'd say that there's no real timeline. You are never too old or too young to do what your heart desires.

Since my pregnancy was unexpected and came at a time when we're not financially prepared, I had to look for a job as soon as possible. I was really hesitant to work again because of my condition but I knew I have to help my partner and look for a source of income.

After several attempts at some companies, I suddenly remembered that online jobs are already available. This was a really good idea since it would not require me more physical activities than having to go to an office to work 5 times a week.

Online jobs require skilled workers who can deliver quantifiable and tangible results. I searched my brain as to what I can offer. Then I realized that I can write. That's when it all started. I started to offer my writing services. Eventually, I realized that writing was already in my system even before I started working. When I was younger, I keep journals, scrap books, diaries, and notes detailing moments in my life (it was still not the digital age so I have to write my thoughts on paper). I sent animated and detailed mails to my uncle who lives in the other side of the world. I wrote scripts for classroom role plays. I do copy writing tasks for some projects in school.

After 27 years of existence, I now have a better grasp of what I love to do. It's to keep writing for myself, for my family, and for other people around me. This makes me excited and thrilled to go on with my day every day. And the plus side? I get to do what I love while being paid at the same time! Time flies so fast, so don't waste your time on things you're not really happy to do. Let your passion get you through life.

3) Nurture relationships
I am guilty of being a terrible daughter, sister, girlfriend, and friend, and guilty of taking some people for granted. I had a point in my life when I only remember to talk to people when I see them on social media or accidentally see them in person. There was even a time when I intentionally withdrew myself from some people because I don't talk to them or hang out with them anymore. And if they don't communicate with me, then I also don't.

But when I became a mom and knew the real meaning of unconditional love, realized that time is one of the most essential things we have and that getting through life needs a solid and real support system, I began to change some of my perspectives on relationships.

Remember the times when you intentionally create a distance from God because you feel like He's not hearing your prayers and your life seems to tear apart and you can't feel His presence? But then, you also feel that even though you keep pushing Him away, God seems to be pulling you towards Him? God wants us to realize that loving others requires you to throw away your selfishness. He wants us to love other people unconditionally, just like how He loves us. So, even if you think the other party seems so distant, don't get tired of reaching out and making time for them. You must always let them feel that you think about them and you care for them even if you don't physically see each other.

Investing on real, healthy and long term relationships is one of the most important investments we could ever have in life. At some points, you will definitely feel burned out. Having genuine people in your life keeps you sane.

So invest more quality time with the people around you. It doesn't matter if you just drop by their house or take lunch breaks together. Just spend time with each other. Hang out with them once in a while or just give each other a phone call to simply catch up. Stop making excuses because important people deserve your time.

4) It's never right to judge other mothers

Before, I see children on the streets and I immediately conclude that their parents or mothers are not taking good care of them. How can they neglect their children and let them wander with the dangers of the street? Were they even thinking of the safety of their kids?

But when I decided to be a hands on mom, I have seen firsthand and felt the difficulty of being a mother. When you become one, you will play several roles. You're going to be a cook, a baby sitter, an accountant, a manager, and a lot more. It's not really easy when you're trying to fulfill your other obligations and you have your little one needing your attention at the same time.

While it's not right to let your kids go on their own and it's our responsibility as a parent to nurture our child and raise them to be a good steward of God's creations and an obedient follower of Christ, we never really know of a mother's struggle. Motherhood is a gift, but it takes a lot of energy, time, and sanity from you (more than what you could think of). So, always know their stories first.

5) Life has a lot of detours
I thought all the plans I made will go smoothly. But when our little man came, I had to make a stop and search within what my purpose is.

If life doesn't go as planned, you have to move on. There are some things in your life that you can't control. Let them be. There are also situations that are created as consequences of your actions, so face them with full responsibility. Either way, you have to embrace change! Be flexible and be creative to know what's your next move.

Detours are not the end. They are ways of showing you that God's plans are way better than yours. When facing some challenges, you should look beyond your situation and always ask yourself: How is it going to prepare me for a tougher challenge ahead? God really has mysterious ways of showing us the path He wants us to lead. Some things are really bound to happen so that you can be in the place where you're supposed to be.

Having our little man was needed for me to realize my worth, my purpose, and how God wants me to serve Him. Having him was the turning point where I got to know myself better. Having him was the detour I needed so that I could live the life I have always wanted. Further, with this experience, I learned what I'm capable of doing, my strengths and my weaknesses, and that you could be wrong about how you see yourself.

There will always be challenges in your life and your character will be tested through adversity. So, take challenges and tougher roads as your means to be better and to realize your dreams. Most importantly, you have to seek, listen, and trust God. Don't let go because God will not let go of you.