Becoming a parent is confronting and forces you to see the world in a different way than you previously imagined. The only thing I can compare it to is hindsight but without the inevitable wisdom. 


Never has anything been more important to me than motherhood. In the beginning I felt vulnerable and unprepared, knowing more about what kind of parent I did not want to be than how to be a parent. The pressure I put on myself was intense and unfair. I’m still not sure about what kind of mother I will turn out to be, least now I’m cool with figuring it out as we cruise.
Sixteen months into my parenting journey I feel my consciousness shifting the way it did when I first became a grown-up.  Maybe it’s a confidence thing or maybe it’s about making informed choices and taking responsibility.

Upon turning 25 I found my adulthood sea-legs. I negotiated for and bought a car by myself (bringing my Dad along for one test drive.) I ended a rotten relationship (dude wouldn’t even come with me to pick up my new car.) I owned a wardrobe that reflected my personality (bought on credit.) Grad school was ending and I applied for a job that would take me overseas. I stopped blaming my parents. The world was wide and waiting.

Surprisingly, today feels just as full of promise as it did at age 25. I struggled into my 30’s- adjusting to a new country, a new name, a new life. Even after all that becoming a parent was next level challenging- but we’ve made it through that historically difficult first year.

In the first year of parenting time stands still and lunges forward with little predictability, it makes you feel completely uncoordinated. At least now I’m getting used to the mother-dance and its ever-shifting steps. More importantly, I’m finally comfortable with how I’m moving along with it.

My little girl is a mirror. When I speak, I hear her voice now; the drawn-out American way “Bye” sounds like it has two syllables (a bit annoying). Or the way our tone rises when we say “hmm?” Or how she pats people on the shoulder when giving hugs like I do while comforting her. Soon it will move beyond the physical and she will mimic the way I handle change, growth and stress.

Lavinia sees me more clearly than anyone ever has or ever will.  She makes me want to be a better person, like falling in love, not because I want her to love me more but because I know she will benefit from the work I do on myself.

I’ve cast out a weighty anchor but I don’t feel stuck. In this stillness I have the opportunity to focus on passions I neglected while running around the world. Yes your travel becomes limited when you have children- for at least another 18 years or so- but that forces you to take more of an internal journey.  At this time in my life I look forward to steering toward my dreams.

What are the moments in life where you felt a change in perspective?

Author: dawnrieniets

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