Motherhood is like a present. Sometimes it’s expected, and sometimes it’s a surprise. It comes wrapped in all different kinds of packaging, no two of the gifts are the same. We never know what’s inside the wrapping, but it’s always about the experience, not the contents of the box.
It’s a divine gift.
Regardless of which divine belief system you have, there’s no arguing that motherhood is a divine gift. It’s presented to the recipient in exactly the right time and at exactly the right place, each time. Whether we recognize it as correct right then isn’t the question.
One of the most important things we get out of life is the gift of experience. And, isn’t motherhood one big, long experience after another? We will have experiences that bring us the whole range of emotions. Each small bit of experience teaches us a lesson. The lessons are what we take with us through the journey and share with others that come after us.
It’s not returnable, refundable, or exchangeable.
The gift of motherhood isn’t returnable. Even when the experience is cut short, there is still a lesson we were meant to learn within it. Once you receive the gift, you can’t give it back. You can’t ask for a refund if you’re not happy with the gift, and there’s no customer service desk for you to exchange your gift. Even when it’s a gift you didn’t specifically ask for. Even in those gifts is a lesson we have to learn.
There’s always another lesson to be learned.
Going through life as our gifts age, we move through many experiences, and even when we have received multiple gifts in our lives, the experience will never be the same as another’s. Looking into the future, you can’t predict what or when the next lesson will come.
I learned these three things over the last 20 years of raising my four gifts. It’s been a fascinating journey for me. My experience started when I was younger than most, and slowly as I received more gifts, I became one of the older moms at school. My family has two older, and two younger gifts.
None of the experiences I’ve had with my kids are exactly the same as other moms’. Sometimes I was older when my kids hit a certain stage, and sometimes I was new to the whole idea of whatever was happening. Sometimes I had a completely different experience in the same scenario as another mom had.
Two of my gifts were unexpected, and two were expected, though the timing was never exactly when I would have wanted it to be. There are just so many things in life we don’t get to control!
I have found that I parent much differently now than I did when I had the first two to raise. I can’t begin to decide if it’s a product of all of the lessons I learned, a product of changed circumstances, or a combination of both. I also don’t know that I would do things the same way if I did it all over again. But there are no do-overs.
What I value the most at this point in raising my gifts is seeing how they interpret the things they encounter and start to try to make sense of the world. They are all so different, even when they have the same DNA. Sometimes I compare my gifts in a Venn-diagram way, comparing and contrasting their different characteristics as I discover the things that make them tick.
I also value the connection to other moms. Moms in all different walks of life, different circumstances, and geographical locations, religious beliefs, and societal beliefs. Because there’s a common thread. So many of the lessons we learn through the gift of motherhood are the same. We all grow from the experience, as much as we allow ourselves to. Because the truth is, we’re all doing the best we can. And it’s fascinating to see similarities under the surface of the experiences we have.
I don’t wish to change my gifts of experience through motherhood. Though there have been times I wish I could get a refund. All part of the experience.
Jessica Hansen is a success coach living in Oregon. She believes that growth is a natural part of life, and works specifically with mompreneurs to help them self-actualize, and to help their businesses sparkle from the inside out. You can see more about her work here.