I have always wanted to be a 'Mom.' That is a title that I have looked forward to holding. Even at the age of 16, when I shouldn't have been thinking of it, I dreamt of having a little girl. Looking back, I am so glad that I waited until my 30's to have my daughter. And yet all the fantasies of having a child don't compare to the reality of being a parent. Like most women, I didn't anticipate all the things this role requires. Who knew that after having my daughter Easton I would say, with pride, I haven't slept in two years!
Each woman is different. For me, spending my 20's thinking only of myself was the best preparation for being a mom. Who knew that those footloose and fancy free all-nighters in Manhattan would actually benefit this stage of my life? They prepared me for the sleepless nights I share with my sweet child: breast feeding, bottle feeding, teething -- and for the time they learn to hoist themselves out of the crib precariously falling to the ground with a thud. I got to focus on myself without interruption. I'm glad of that. I never feel as if there is something 'out there' that I am missing now.
I know all you working mothers out there wonder how you do it. How do we make time grow on trees? How do we create those extra hours out of thin air? To do it all: Taking care of our little ones, fulfilling our dreams and obligations and still creating quiet time for ourselves. It is impossible, right? And yet we manage to do it. I am surprised at the end of each week when I look back over all I've accomplished: the time I spent with Easton, a grueling shooting schedule on Heroes, meaningful conversation with my friends, connection with my mother in Europe and the maintenance of my relationship. Once that week is complete and there are no casualties, I think, "I did it!"
Someone told me when I got pregnant that my child would be the grounding force in my life. Another friend told me my daughter would bring me great luck. And yet another friend told me I would become a better actor because my heart was going to open up completely. I thought, "How can this be true? She's just a little girl. How can she take care of me? Isn't it my obligation to take care of her? To help her be all of those things that my girlfriends said she would foster in me?"
But isn't it true, Moms, that these children make us more focused and more joyful than ever before? Don't they make us feel more loved than we thought possible and fill us with a confidence we didn't even know was missing?
I know it's true for me that whenever I'm scared, worried or insecure, I think, "Be the woman your daughter thinks you are." Being a parent doesn't make us super heroes. We are still human. We still have flaws and we are figuring it out one day at a time. However, I know Easton has given me the assurance as a woman that delivered me to a new level of peace and inner strength. I am becoming the person I always wanted to be through my parenting. I am discovering how resourceful I am, how patient and clear I always thought I should be. I even discovered that I actually have a sense of humor. (For all of you Law & Order fans out there, you will be surprised to know that I now can tell a good joke or two!)
The truth is, children are wise and we learn so much from them. I feel thankful for the timing of my daughter because I was ready to learn from her and move through my flaws non-judgmentally. As Mothers we are supposed to know, to be able to fix, to heal and nurture. As we learn to do those things it's inevitable that we grow as individuals. Kids make us believe in ourselves on a whole other level.
To all you incredible mothers out there who are works in progress, like myself, trying to juggle and invent hours in the day, I hope you will stay tuned to my new blog and learn a little something from my daughter's wisdom.
Next week: "I don't know how to outsmart this kid." A tale of "To sleep, or not to sleep."
Watch Elisabeth Rohm on 'Heroes' on NBC at 8 p.m. on Mondays.