May 16 / Richa Bansal

5 Lessons From My 5 Years of Motherhood

“There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill
This Mother's Day was extra special. My older one turns five in a week. That’s five years of being a mother - five years of sleepless nights, cleanups, and shouting matches, but also five years of endless cuddles, kisses, laughter, and fun.

Some days are pure bliss and full of love. Others end in exhaustion, making me wonder why I decided to have kids. My 28-year-old self couldn't have imagined a life with two kids, but my 34-year-old self cannot think of a life without them.

Motherhood has been transformative for me, and I know I am not alone when I say this. It has made me face my vulnerabilities and find the strength to continue growing as a mother and person.

As I savor my special mother’s day coffee and reflect on the journey of the past five years, I thought I'll share the lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) from my first five years of motherhood.

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Five Lessons from my Five Years of Motherhood 

1. My identity extends beyond being a mother

When I became a mom, my identity shifted. No one forced the change on me, but in my mind, suddenly, I was a mother first and a wife, daughter, sister, friend, and employee after. I always included "I'm a mom" in my introductions, and when I didn't, it felt inauthentic. Maybe I was trying to conform to the expected social norm that now that I have a baby, my primary identity must be a mom.

When I had my second son, I struggled even more with my identity as an individual and as a parent. I constantly wondered, “Who am I as an individual?”… “What is my purpose on this planet other than being a parent?”… “What legacy do I want to leave behind?”

I love my kids more than anything in this world. But I also strongly believe that to be the best parent, we must maintain our identity as individuals. We must find our purpose. That purpose acts as our pillar, our support, our happy place to come back to when the days feel never-ending. For me, that purpose is to help more women enter the workforce, thrive in their workplace, and claim their rightful place at the table. It is a tough guilt-ridden exercise, but I implore every young mother to introspect and find her purpose. Your 45-year-old self will thank you for it.


“Be the Mom you want them to remember.” 

2. Happiness is in the little things

As adults, we are constantly chasing happiness. When I become 10 pounds lighter, I'll be happy… when I buy my dream house, I'll be happy… when I work for a big company like my friends do, I'll be happy. Social media has only made it worse.

There's something to be learned from kids here. My kids don't need a lot to be happy. My older one finds joy in eating a whole boiled egg in one mouthful, and my little one finds tremendous pleasure in picking little rocks off the street in an attempt to make a rock collection for me.

Here are the little things that made me happy today:
- Making coffee side by side with my husband as he made me Mother's day breakfast
- Waking up with a huge "Good Morning, Mama" from my kid
- My kids pouting to give me a kiss
- Learning about my older one's school friends during a car ride
- Giving my neighbor's pup a belly rub

3. Love is unconditional

My kids have always been daddy's boys. While I cook, clean, and schedule appointments, my husband, bathes them, watches their favorite shows, and plays silly games with them.

Some days, I resent their bond. Why does my son need daddy to tuck him in at night? Why does he run to daddy when he gets hurt? Why does he want daddy when it's time to play ball? Those days I conveniently forget that my son always asks me to read him a book, do a science experiment, or bake a cake together.

Motherhood is slowly teaching me that love is unconditional. I cannot confuse my kids' preference for a parent with how much they love us. Our kids love us with no strings attached, and we do the same. That's the only way to love. That's the only way to live.

4. Keep up with your passions

Before I had kids, I was a multi-passionate person. I played tennis three days a week, traveled every other week, was curious about photography, and read books like it's nobody's business. After I had kids, for one reason or the other, I let my passions slip by, except for my love for traveling. Before COVID-19, I was averaging a dozen flights a year with baby food, stocks of diapers, car seats, and all the fanfare that goes along with traveling with kids.

Letting go of my other passions was a big mistake. When the pandemic hit, and all travel stopped, my sole passion got shut down. That hit me hard and took a toll on me, both mentally and physically.

I'm hopeful that I'll soon be able to resume plane hopping and trail wandering. In the meantime, as the lockdown stretches, I am practicing gratitude, picking up my passion for reading and writing, and learning to appreciate the Canadian outdoors.

5. Days are long, but years are short 

A wise friend once told me, "soak in every moment, as the days are long, but the years are short." How true is that! It feels like yesterday when my baby was born, he took his first steps, read his first book, and rode the bike without training wheels.

These five years feel short, almost too short. There isn't enough space in google photos for all the memories I want to capture before the moment slips by. All I can do is to live in the present. And when the day seems endless between office work, house chores, and picking up toys, I remind myself that the best moment is now because this too shall pass.

So what lessons have parenthood taught you?

I hope you related with the five lessons that the first five years of motherhood have taught me. As I continue this exciting journey, someday, I wish to share my ten lessons from ten years of motherhood. Until then, I am curious to hear from you - what lessons have parenthood taught you?  



If you have a personal story and lessons learned to share about how you’re owning your career, write to us at richa@pinkcareers.com.

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Richa Bansal is a seasoned professional with a decade of experience in strategy, operations, engineering, supply chain, and management. Richa earned a Bachelor’s from IIT Delhi in India, a Master’s from Purdue University, and an MBA from Rice University. 

Richa founded Pinkcareers so that women can get access to career development and coaching through a learning format that is flexible, effective, and meets the needs of modern working women.

When she is not working on Pinkcareers, she loves to travel the world with her husband and two little boys. 

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