I was an early childhood professional for 19 years before I became a mother. During those years, my knowledge increased, my abilities become honed, my problem solving skills sharpened.
When I became a mother, I didn’t feel over-confident in my knowledge of young children, I became comfortable with it.
When I became a mother, I wasn’t arrogant about my abilities with groups of young children; I became challenged when dealing with my one child.
When I became a mother, I was no longer the great professional early childhood problem solver; I was too busy with reality.
When I became a mother, I suddenly understood the anguish, yes, anguish, of even the thought of leaving my precious baby in someone else’s care.
When I became a mother, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that no one would ever care more for her than I; no one could ever take care of her as I could.
When I became a mother, I visited different infant programs and left weeping for the parents who were forced to use them.
When I became a mother, I realized the value of spending time with my baby and that there is no such thing as quality versus quantity.
When I became a mother, I cherished each feeding, refused to use bottles, and dreaded the day when weaning would begin.
When I became a mother, I carefully screened books and toys, vigilant to monitor everything presented to my daughter for learning.
When I became a mother, every cry seemed to be a crisis – it wasn’t – but the emotional upheaval made it appear as if it were.
When I became a mother, I suddenly realized why parents feel guilty for using child care and I vowed to avoid it as long as possible.
When I became a mother, I found ways to work from home and chose an employer – with less pay – who supported my decision.
When I became a mother, I realized that sympathy and understanding for my clientele can build rapport with them, but building a relationship requires empathy.
I have always loved children; but until I became a mother and had one of my own, I had no idea what it took to give my child to strangers while I walk away, fighting fear and tears.
Because I’m a mother, I will no longer sympathize and understand the emotional agony of my clientele. I will empathize. I will comfort. I will share their experience and cherish their children all the more.
© Christine Gillan Byrne, 2008