Over the years I’ve learned so much about myself, through parenthood. Before my daughter was born in 1999, I largely drew my identity from work. I was good at what I did, and enjoyed being the ‘ambitious career woman’ since I was 16 and landed my first job at a community newspaper.
I also tended to have unconventional friendships. And it took awhile — through my 20s — before I realized that, despite my traditional wedding to a wonderful man when I was 25 — I was not particularly conventional. So it probably should not have come as a surprise that I took an unconventional path to motherhood. Thanks to my known donor, my daughter was born shortly after my 37th birthday, and my son nearly five years after that.
It DID come as a surprise to many that I opted to become a mother at all. Not returning to corporate publishing life at Time Inc. — well, that was a surprise to me as well. Eventually moving OUT of New York City, after 18 years, was perhaps the biggest surprise of them all.
The truth was, motherhood had quickly become my new heart center. Work in the City That Never Sleeps no longer defined my purpose.
Granted, with my little girl now in D.C. for a week on a Close-Up trip, and my son preferring friends and afterschool programs on a seemingly non-stop basis, I am regularly reminded of how short our day-to-day purposeful life as parent is.
So… always adapting… always transforming… I look always for “what comes next.” This is the Type A personality.
Over the years, I’ve gravitated toward connection with so many Type A Choice Moms. One of those women is Holly. When I met her, she was stressing about Doing Everything as parent to the daughter she had adopted as an infant from the foster care system. The next time I was in Boston, a few years later, we got acquainted even more. She spoke at my Choice Mom networking event about how her life had changed in the few years since we’d last met.
Holly’s motherhood path is not much different than most of us: we would do anything to have our children, and then do anything for our children once they are here. But listen to Holly’s story in this Choice Chat podcast, and you’ll realize that every single one of us has a unique drive that has the potential to surprise us, teach us, humble us, exhaust us, enervate us.
Whether our children have special needs or not, we learn how to love deeper than we ever thought possible.
Happy Valentine’s Week! A time to lift up what, who, how we love.
Other good stories of the strengths that surprise us:
Jennifer connects with Choice Moms (Podcast)
Surviving baby boot camp (1 hour radio show)