I was a babysitter growing up…I mean full on babysitter. In addition to the weekend babysitting I did throughout my high school years, there were two summers in a row that I worked as a “nanny” for children from 8:30 AM- 5:30 PM while their parents worked. The first summer I cared for a 5 year old and the next a 2 and 4 year old. After that, I was about to enter my Junior year at college and was invited by a friend to live and work on the Jersey Shore. Not surprisingly, I worked at a summer camp as the “field instructor”, organizing and playing games with 5 year olds all summer.
And yet, I never “dreamed” about babies. When asked how many kids I wanted, I had my canned response of 2 or 3, most likely because I am the third child and I have an affinity for my siblings, but I didn’t have an image of what that would look like or how I would be as a mom. And so, motherhood has been an interesting journey thus far.
As someone who is passionate about their work, I struggled when I first became a mom. My son was an accident. I was going through an “I don’t want to take birth control because it may cause cancer phase” (totally unfounded) and so I decided that I would keep track of things myself. Obviously, that didn’t go so well. My husband and my original “plan” had been to start trying at 30… Don just came 3 years early when I was 27 and still, admittedly, pretty selfish.
I didn’t know what I was doing and in looking back, I had nothing to go on. In all my years of babysitting and family experience, I had never cared for an infant. I longed to go back to work as I took care of this baby whose needs seemed never ending and such a threat to the work I felt so passionately for. My husband and I argued and fought quite a bit as we were forced to change and take on new roles and responsibilities we were not prepared for.
And then, something happened…we grew together and we adapted. As people and parents, we continue to grow, and luckily we are committed to doing that together. We welcomed a second child in to our lives…this one at age 30. We had also previously established a plan to have kids 3 years apart and since I botched the first part of the plan, I was determined to get the second part right…the type A in me. Number 2 was much easier because I had the infant experience with my first and knew that a personality would eventually emerge.
What I find fascinating, and why I mention my past babysitting experience, is that it appears I am truly passionate about being a mom to a “kid”. As my son gets older, I fall more and more in love with him. I so enjoy our bizarre conversations and his endless questions. I love going to the playground or the spray pad or anywhere we can explore and go on adventures. I love playing make believe and singing songs and reading stories. And, I get such joy from his “I love you’s”, attempts at humor, and hugs.
This all brings me back full circle to my days as a babysitter and how that always felt like a natural role to me when becoming a mother did not. Ctworkingmoms.com recently did a photo shoot about judgement free parenting and it has motivated me to take an active role in not judging others or myself. So, here I am, 4 years into my journey as a mom and I realize that although I never dreamed of having a baby, I certainly dreamed of having kids. And now that I have one, and another one emerging, I couldn’t be happier.