I recently saw a facebook post from someone I know that said, “before I was a mom, life had no meaning”. My first thought was “I feel sad for this person!”
Having children is amazing, but children do not define you as a person. It’s important to maintain a sense of self. Your life.
There is so much meaning in life, and sometimes finding meaning or happiness can be difficult, but if you say children are the only thing that gives you meaning, what happens when they grow up, create their own life and leave the nest?
Does that mean your life will have no meaning again? Does that mean people who choose not to have children have no meaning?
Now, I know this was a personal remark for the person that posted it. I’m not judging and I haven’t walked in her shoes. Life can be really hard and maybe having children is where she found the most joy and stability. But I couldn’t help and feel sad because life has so much meaning, more than you know at times. You may not see it, or feel it, but the people you spend time with do. Think about it, when you go to a funeral everyone is sad, they talk about the impact this person had on their life, the memories, the good times, the meaning they brought to each individual.
I’ve always believed that people come into your life for a reason, whether it be for a short while or years of friendship, positive or negative, you learn from them, you grow, you change, you come into your own. We are always evolving. When you’re a teenager, you do the some of same things as your friends, you want everyone to like you, but then as you get a little older and know what you want and who you are, you stop giving a shit about what others think or what’s considered “in”. Your experiences cultivate your growth.
This comment really intrigued me, it made me think about my own life.
As a mother of two children, whom I love dearly and put most of my energy towards at this point in my life, I don’t believe they are what defines me as a total person. Yes they gave me new meaning, and yes life revolves around them now because they are young, but that will change. They are a part of me and bring me joy, laughter, pride, stress and a vision of being a kid again. But my life has other meaning too – being a wife, a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a listener, a teacher, an inspiration.
I make sure that I have time for me, to do what I love. My husband and I make sure we have time for us. I’d love to do mission work later in life when my kids are grown. Since I am not able to now, I’m a blood donor – that “means” something to me. Doing something good for mankind and for someone else that means life or death. I enjoy thinking of the memories we built before our children and I believe that is what helps us teach them, and share with them some pretty amazing things. What you put into life, is what you get out.
Before kids, I went to college, traveled, hung out with friends, shopped – I did whatever I wanted when I wanted. After I had kids, I still do all those things I enjoy (but now shopping is food shopping) and maybe a little differently. I chose my path and that is what makes me – ME. I continue to grow and learn each day. The old things I did then are less important and new things are more important, and this cycle will continue through my whole life.
Life goes through a series of phases pretty much with each decade, according to the people I talk to (20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc…) If you have kids they will be a big part of your life, but they will become independent individuals and begin their own journey. I recently heard someone give this advice “enjoy your spouse, make them happy, because that’s who you’re with when the kids are gone”.
If you don’t have a significant other, than it’s you. Love yourself, do what makes you happy. Children are a part of you, but they don’t define you, if anything, you have helped to define the beginning of their life.