Mother’s Day is just around the corner and many things happened to me in the last month that made me wonder about the hardest thing I have ever done, the most important thing and the best thing of all.
I have done a lot in my life. Luckily, although some things were incredibly challenging, my life has been very rewarding overall. I am the kind of person who goes to work and it does not feel like a work, more like serving a purpose. I am an educator in every cell of my body. I teach parents how to be the best they can be and how to raise happy kids by being happy themselves and I have changed the lives of thousands of children. Still, the best of all my talent, I have given to my own children: Eden, Tsoof and Noff. Being their mother always seems to bring out the best in me.
All this wondering started when one of my clients had a daughter. She had given up her career and the search for a partner and with her mother’s help, she had gone through the journey of having a child on her own. I saw a photo of them and it reminded me of the first day I met my daughter Eden, my happy thought. Her birth was the birth of many new feelings and since then, I have been a different person. A better one, I think.
Then, Gal was talking on Skype with a man who wanted to do business with him. I was working next to him when they had a very serious discussion about web developers. The other man talked about “them” as being a bunch of stupid people who could not see that working with him would make them part of a network similar to Facebook or the companies owned by Richard Branson. After a while, Gal felt uncomfortable with all the judgment and asked him, “Do you have kids?” The man hesitated and said, “No”. Gal tried to say to him politely that when people have children, they think twice before giving their time to someone they do not know in exchange for promises. This made me think about the feeling I had when Eden was born – pure joy and happiness, hope and excitement, mixed with a heavy burden of responsibility. Kids cannot be sent back to the manufacturer for a warranty replacement! You can only truly understand this when you have your first child.
Another client of mine discussed her time management issues with me this week. She has 3 kids, a live-in maid and a cook. Her kids go to private schools, she does not work and once a month, she travels with her extended family somewhere in the world, because they are very wealthy. She asked me how I managed and I told her about all the projects I was involved in. She was shocked and asked me, “Who cooks in your house?” I said, “I do, and if I am busy, Gal does”.
“We eat together at home every day”, I told her, “We do not have ready cooked meals, we eat out once every two weeks or so and never junk food”.
“I don’t even do the laundry. Who does the laundry in your house?” she asked and I said, “I sort the clothes and put them in the washer and everyone helps hang them to dry, take them down and fold them”.
“I give my maid a list for the supermarket. Who does your shopping?” she asked. “I do most of my shopping on Saturday. Gal and I go to the market and the supermarket together”.
“Who takes your kids to and from school and activities?” she kept asking. I said, “Gal and I share this. Until 6 years ago, I did it on my own, because Gal left home at 7am and came back at 5:30pm. While one child was in an afternoon activity, the others sat in the car with me and we did homework, sang and played games”.
“Don’t you have a family to help you with picking up, dropping off and babysitting?” she asked again. I told her that in the last 19 years, I have been very far away from my family and have had to manage on my own.
“Where do you find the time?” she asked. I told her that we both have the same 24 hours every day and that I manage it well because I have to! Sometimes, that extra help from your maids and your parents cripples you and makes you helpless. Every time a child was born, I became more efficient, more creative and better at prioritizing and managing my time. I simply had to.
Another client of mine came to coaching completely overwhelmed by being a mother. She kept saying she had not known what she was getting herself into. She loves her daughter very much, but is in total overwhelm. She is well educated, mature and in a good relationship with her partner, yet she finds being a mother the most challenging thing she has ever done. I was 24 when Eden was born. No one knows what they get themselves into with the first child. People can tell you stories about it for years, but when the time comes, it is all new. So I asked her, “If you could change it, would you?” and she said, “Never!”
Another client of mine, who has been married for 15 years, used a surrogate mother to have a child, because she could not bear the thought of her body changing. Her son is the most important thing in the world for her. It made me think of the huge scar I have after 4 cesareans.
Another client of mine celebrated her second child’s first birthday this week. She had her two kids through an egg donation and IVF treatments, because as she was 40 and the doctors said she had no more eggs of her own. The treatments were expensive and were done overseas. She stopped working and dedicated every second of her life for those treatments. During her first pregnancy, she was in hospital from the 20th week and he doctors told her every day the pregnancy would not go to term. When I asked her, “Can you keep going?” she said, “Of course I can”. She reminded me of my two kids that I have lost and how when Tsoof was born, I said to myself, “He is worth every second of this torture”. The whole experience has made me a better, more appreciating person.
Having all these interactions made me realize that motherhood has brought out the best in me. It has taught me things about myself I had never known. It has helped me develop skills that I would never have developed without the need to care for my children. It has made me happier and more caring. It has made me prioritize, made me time efficient, made me more creative, made me more efficient, made me a better chef, made me more friendly, flexible, grateful and loving, more courageous, more helpful, more hopeful, made me try harder, made me stronger, made me more curious, made me a role model and a leader, made me positive, made me grow, made me powerful, made me make a huge difference!
For me, motherhood is the best thing I have ever done in my life – the best job in the world.
To all the moms out there (and all the dads), congratulations on doing an amazing job!
This video says exactly what I think about being a mother. Have a tissue handy.
Be a happy mother. Happy Mother’s Day!