The mere existence of humanity is proof that mothers have been around forever, and yet, no one in the history of mothering can really tell you what exactly being a mother is all about. It’s the ultimate enigma. Up to this day, we are all still collectively dumbfounded (and sucker punched) by the events that ensue during our personal experiences as mothers. But maybe, that’s what makes motherhood so special–you’re not supposed to know what it’s all about because it’s not a mere concept or job. Instead, it’s a life experience meant to be discovered, enjoyed and at times, anguished over.
I read somewhere that when a baby is born, the mother is born as well and there is no one like her anywhere in the world. The spirit of the woman before the mother dies but is reborn again with her child. Unbeknownst to her, while she cheers her child on through each milestone, she is going through her own milestones as well… taking her first steps in a completely different world, not unlike the first man on the moon, discovering the world and her new self through brand new set of eyes. It’s no wonder motherhood is such a struggle! In the words of writer, Lisa Jo-Baker, “Mother will always be the bravest, least ordinary, most difficult and utterly challenging career that anyone ever hopes to lay claim to.” While no one can deny this truth, motherhood, while producing beautiful little humans, also produces the best kinds of people in the world: Mothers.
In celebration and in appreciation of all mothers, we asked moms to share the most unexpected things they have discovered about themselves as mothers. And as you will read from their inspirational quotes, it’s all about giving more, loving more, gaining new perspective and becoming much better versions of themselves.
“Ever since I became a mom, I learned how to be patient. It is truly the most difficult job in the world. And it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to not be perfect.” – Cathy Cantada-Dizon, 37, Makeup Artist, Yoga Teacher, Entrepreneur
“When you see each of your children bloom into the person they dream to be, in every stage of their lives. Seeing their eyes light up at every goal they’ve reached assures me that I’ve done a great job.” – Jane Kingsu-Cheng, 38, Editor-in-Chief, Working Mom Magazine
“That I am strong. I went through a very stressful pregnancy, the early months post-birth, I was still in an abusive relationship. But every time I would hold my baby, everything would go away. The most unexpected thing I’ve learned is that I could give so much of myself just when I thought I was already empty inside.” – Mayen Juico, 32, City Councilor for Quezon City
“Parenthood just changes your perspective and personality. I never thought I would be the disciplinarian. I thought I’d be the ‘cool mom.’ It turns out I am more of the stern, ‘oh-no-you-didn’t’ type.” – Jo Evangelista-Manuel, 37, HR Service Consultant
“I’ve only learned recently that it’s NOT about being a super mom after all. That I should forgive myself for shortcomings like forgetting my freezer is empty and having to run to KFC before rushing home. Accepting my faults and imperfections are part of being a mother and that I am my own worst critic. That doing my best is all I can give and that should be enough. That it’s okay to love myself because when my kids see this, this too will teach them self-acceptance that will build self-esteem & self-confidence.” – Mawi Fojas de Ocampo, 43 Wife, Mom, Working Mom Advocate, Parenting Blogger, Yu Hezu Bamboo Wand Teacher, Communications Consultant
“As mothers, we surrender all of what we have to our kids. From as simple as the channels to watch, to the itinerary for the weekend, to what job offerings to accept and where to buy your house, we do ALL these things unconditionally.” – Miriam Miranda, 33, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, New York, NY
“The emotional roller coaster that motherhood takes you on—experiencing your ‘highest’ highs and lowest ‘lows’, oftentimes over the course of a single morning is enough to make any person break down. However, I find that being a mother brings out this unexpected capacity for strength, resilience and resourcefulness that allows you to survive and enjoy the ride.” – Bianca Nunag Sigeda, 33, SAHM
“Two things: That I didn’t care what changed with my body. I will definitely try to shape up but for the other things I can’t change, I’ll accept them with a grin because something beautiful came out of it… Chloé! I will wear my battle scars well. Being a mom changes you. Sometimes, certain situations may seem insurmountable but there’s this uncontrollable urge to go the extra mile for her.” – Claire Seelin-Diokno, 40-ish, Makeup Artist
“The most unexpected thing I have learned about being a mother is how emotional I get when it comes to my kids. Every milestone, every accomplishment they make, however big or small like their 1st day of school, or teaching them how to ride a bike without trainer wheels, or to see their adorable artwork, it makes my heart burst with so much pride and makes me cry like a baby all the time!” – Kathrine Capulong, 40, Orthodontist
“Maybe that your kid’s poop and snot and farts and boogers don’t gross you out? Haha! I always see videos of dads gagging when they try to change a baby’s poopy diaper but the smell never bothered me that much (until they were coming out of the diaper pail). And my hubby made a face when he saw me eat something the baby had already put in their mouth but moms do it all the time without even blinking.” – Liz Hendrickson, 38, School Bus Driver, Virginia, USA
“Supporting and being there for your kid has no boundaries. From cheering them on and motivating them when they’re trying to fulfil a task to kneeling down on the bathroom floor so my constipated 3-year old could wrap his little arms around me while I cheer him on as he sweats bullets of cold sweat, crying on the toilet. I have to be there to tell him ‘You’re amazing sweetie! It’ll be over soon, you can do it!'” – Anna Kathryn N. Bodestyne, 32, General Manager
“Your kid will teach you a thing or two about so many things in life and from a different perspective especially if you pay attention more closely to what they have to say.” – Donnabelle C. Pe Lim, 38, Hair Accessory Designer
“That everything is all about perspective. How else can you stay sane, right? And I was able to understand that there’s a lot of strength in being meek.” – Liza Jacinto, SAHM
“There’s exactly enough time for the important things in your life.” – Nikki Santiago-Rivera, 33, Managing Editor
“Your capacity to love—to give and receive love—is boundless. Your understanding of ‘love’ changes. I admit I wasn’t much of a mom in the early years; I was still too selfish. But once you really get into it, like spend time with your kids and immerse yourself with them, you’ll get it. No dramatics and ‘sacrifices’ here—just sticking to the commitment that they matter most. The flipside of that is that your capacity to hurt is also magnified. When my daughter (she’s 18) says or does something that hurts my feelings, I linger over it longer than I would linger over a review of my work. Being a mother makes you more human.” – Regina Abuyuan, Journalist, Development Communications Consultant, Educator
“Motherhood is full of the unexpected! Variables come and go and they make it more exciting and fun! I guess what I didn’t expect was to have this much love in me to give to these beautiful creatures that I gave birth to.” Ian Galliguez, 40, Agent, Publicist, Writer
“Finding yourself lifted to new heights, discovering and pushing the limits you once set for yourself and being healed by your children’s giggles, their everyday wonder and pride in their accomplishments. Being a mom is the most extreme measure of being alive and it gives me an excuse to stay young forever.” – Nina C. Canoy, 36, Mother to Natalie & Renee
“That my mother was always right! Haha! And you only realize how hard and complex motherhood is only when you become a mom yourself.” – Mica Diva Tuaño Fuentes, 37, Makeup Artist, Writer
“I learned that your threshold for physical pain, one’s patience, time, and your heart just grows by leaps and bounds and makes room to give and love more.” – Bianca Reinoso, 34, Freelance Fashion Stylist
“You’ll be surprised how being a mother is in each and every one of us. How we put our kids needs above everything else.” – Amanda Tirol, 38, Owner, Boracay Weddings and Events Management.
“I didn’t expect my OCD to be cured when I had kids.” – Krisbel Domingo Lapuz, SAHM
What did you discover about yourself in your journey as a mother? Share it in the Comments.