I’ve been many things in my life so far.
First, I was a daughter and then a sister. After that, I was a best friend and then a student. Pretty quickly I was an A+ student, an honour roll student, a scholarship student. Soon after, I was a dedicated, model employee.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, I became a girlfriend, a lover and a wife…the happiest roles of my life which led to me becoming a mother.
I have been many things in my life so far, and the most important of all of these has been becoming Dorian’s mom.
But what does this mean practically, for my future?
When I first became pregnant and was plagued by severe anxiety and began to see my psychiatrist, I couldn’t stop obsessing over when I would be able to return to work after having my son. Every session came back around to the fact that I defined myself in terms of my job, and felt like becoming a mother and having to be on leave to take care of my son would take away from my true identity as a career woman. My psychiatrist urged me to relax and focus on enjoying my time off with my son. She reasoned that I had gone from pushing myself to achieve insane marks in high school, to pushing myself to maintain my scholarships through my Bachelor and Master’s degrees, and then to pushing myself to be the best employee my company had ever had. This didn’t really leave any room to enjoy my life, to focus on my own passions and desires, and to truly get to know myself. Sure, I could spend my whole life defining myself by how well I could contribute to someone else’s company…but was that more important to me than relishing the short time I would have with my child?
At the time, I felt like I would be counting down the days until I could return to work from my leave and pick up my career from where I’d left off. Yes, I wanted to be a mother and have a beautiful family with my husband, but I had always told myself that I would never, ever be a stay-at-home mom and I would always be committed to advancing my career.
And then, abruptly, the clock started ticking. The days on the calendar started speeding by. When I looked at my 10 month old son, sleeping peacefully in my arms at 8:00am with his adorable little thumb tucked in his mouth, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I couldn’t fathom popping out from under him to rush into the shower, put on a pair of dress pants and go into an office. I couldn’t imagine waking him prematurely from his calm slumber to stuff him into clothes and his carseat and take him to someone else (even if it was a close family member) to be watched for the day. At the thought of being parted from him, even for 8 hours, my heart ached.
I have been many things in my life so far, but I have never been more happy, fulfilled and accomplished in any other role than being Dorian’s mom.
After several talks with my husband sorting through all the logistics, I made the decision this week to not return to work for the foreseeable future. We don’t know what this means exactly, but our idea right now is that I will be home, watching Dorian, until he starts kindergarten. Who knows if there will be odd jobs I do before then (if Covid has taught us all anything, I think it’s that we can’t predict the future), but for the time-being, my main focus will be caring for Dorian with all my mind and heart.
I never, ever expected that this would be the decision I would make…but looking at Dorian’s sweet cheeks and big brown eyes, it is so obvious. Dorian doesn’t want to give me a grade or a performance review – he only wants to give me hugs and licks on the nose. Dorian doesn’t care if I am the perfect mom or how many zeroes are at the end of my bank balance – he only cares that I cuddle him in bed at night and sing sweet Disney songs in his ears.
I always thought that if I stayed home with my child, I would run into an old teacher or friend from high school and feel ashamed to admit that I wasn’t going to work. I always thought that I would feel like I had lost or sacrificed myself if I devoted so much time to being at home with my child. But now I see that being a stay-at-home mom is being a working mom, because caring for anyone other than yourself is damn hardwork! Not only that, I don’t think anything on this planet could make me feel prouder than watching my son grow up and knowing that the things he says and does, all the nuances of his personality, were directly influenced and shaped by me. What could be more important and significant and rewarding?
I have been many things in my life so far, and I have wanted to be many more. The most important of these, though, has been becoming Dorian’s mom, and it is the only role I can ever imagine prizing this highly.
Janille N G
Girl with a Green Heart