It started (not too long ago, might I add) as a response to feeling judged and insecure. I desperately wanted to find other ambitious, smart, loving mothers who started families a little earlier on the spectrum. I needed to create a community that could inspire and encourage one another (read: inspire and encourage me) to have a strong marriage, successful career, and a full life despite the statistics and nay-sayers. I just wanted to know, to prove, that it was possible.
I envisioned nothing but positivity — partly because I choose to live a positive life, and partly because I felt too much negativity about younger parents/younger marriages/younger decisions.
And while I still very much cling to that original mission, I'm in a different place now.
This has been a difficult year for me.
I haven't talked about it — publicly and even privately — mostly because they're not my stories to tell. (And, believe it or not!, I'm a very private person about private matters.) And nothing that I've been dealing with has anything to do with being a mom. In fact that's the brightest, purest, most grounding part of my life.
Never saw that coming.
I was so blinded by the enormity of being a parent that I figured all roots would lead back to that. Any struggles or road blocks would be attributed to having a child, when really having a child only changes how I cope with the struggles and road blocks that inherently come with growing up. The struggles that I'd be dealing with whether or not I had the title of "mom."
I'm a runner. If we were all reduced down to our flight-or-fight instincts, I'd already be out. At the slightest discomfort, confrontation, or boredom, I pack up boxes and move — literally, figuratively, all of the above. I've transfered school, moved about 83 times, mentally checked out of situations that get rocky. And sometimes, in my darkest moments, I fantasize about packing up my perfect little boy and moving far, far away.
But he wouldn't be my perfect little boy without the people he loves. (The people that I love too, of course.)
So I'm choosing to fight — for my family, my marriage, my career, my sanity — when my gut reaction is to lace up my running shoes. And ultimately that feels like the healthier, more mature, route to take — which I'm taking for him.
It's an interesting place to be in, I think. Deciding to start a family "early" means that we make these huge life decisions — decisions that dictate our lives in the most permanent way — while we're still essentially growing up. And it's not only our own decisions, but the decisions of the people around us that we have to deal with. It's easier to just throw up our hands, right? To get discouraged with our finances or marriage or career goals and just call it a loss. To give up when things get difficult — because we don't have that life experience behind us, telling us to fight through it.
How do we make the right decisions — and can we help one another make the right choices? And when we don't, how do we steer ourselves back on course and encourage each other to fight, not flee? How do we grow as independent women without being confined to all of the new roles that we've been thrown into?
If I didn't have a son, I would most certainly have taken the easy way out of the mess swirling around me. Yet I think I'll be a better person, a happier person, by problem-solving my way through it and committing to fight.