Everything I learned in motherhood, on being all generous and selfless in the most practical sense, I learned from my two friends- 1: Logical and firm, loving limits, and 2: Selfless love.
On my first year of living in Thailand, I had the chance to meet Ate Chelle- my amusing, courageous confidante who meant the world to me. She taught me how it is to take the unimportant lightly, to not fret when things don’t go your way, to love without limits those who are worthy, and to give your best at work but to give time to pause, relax and let things be. That time, her daughter was a year old. And although sleep-less and overworked days were taking the toll on her, she would always be positive, telling me this is what she does best- finding the balance between work and family life, because motherhood doesn’t give you any choice but to be no less than best for your family.
I pondered and stressed on it. I was crying tired but without child then; I was complaining about the pettiest reasons in the world, and I thought I had to have a say on everything, that everything is worth fighting for.
Throughout the years, I learned much, whined less, embraced life and challenges as I worked with Ate Chelle. I started building my own family. I got to know different kinds of ‘tired’, as in baby-is-colicky tired or pump-milk-and-run-to-class tired, and how to stay afloat and faithful despite everything. My world shifted from me towards my family, and I was soon on the brink of losing myself. Ate Chelle held me up.
Then I met friend number 2- the epitome of a firm and loving limits, told me, choose your battles; life is so short and time, too fast. Ate Wendelle, my beacon of strength with grace, had a little boy then.
I was saved. I did not entirely lose myself in motherhood. I tried to carve my own in between the two overlapping worlds they weaved for me. I watched how my two friends, both loving moms, marveled at their child, raised them brilliantly, giving their selfless, best. I was inspired beyond words. I watched them fail at times, but their brave hearts took U-turns and made things right again, never fazed.
When things get draining, one would pick me up, remind me what life is all about- absolutely not only lesson plans, the expectations and meetings, the deadlines, and students’ evaluations.
Life is about putting yourself first, because you are only able to give your best when you have loved and taken cared of yourself fully, and understood your weaknesses and superpowers.
Life is about striving for the work and family life balance that works best for you; it's about choosing battles and letting go of some, being kind with limits, giving yourself second chances and a big space to do a complete turn-about.
Life, in its most precious sense, is singing Wheels on the Bus, flying paper airplanes, grunting like Peppa Pig and stomping on muddy puddles, and running along the fields like there’s no tomorrow. Life is about those two little arms around your neck, wet kisses, soiled hands, nursing for hours on end, lifting your little one along with all the knapsacks and school bags you’ve got because he refuses to walk.
Life, love, limits. Hope you create a place for yourself in those three big words as I did.
And to my two friends, all the amazing moms out there, thank you and may you always, always be present and at your best!