by Gwen Jimmere
He doesn’t know it yet, but my baby saved my life.
“How?” you may ask. Don’t worry ““ anyone who knows me will assure you that I have never been suicidal. Instead, he has forced me to stop doing things that don’t make me happy. A novel idea, yes, but one I’m willing to bet most of us fail to practice. I recently heard hip hop star Drake spit a line that says, “”...everybody dies but not everybody lives.” Truer words have rarely been spoken.
I had gotten myself into a bit of a rut. The lively, fun, spontaneous Gwen had somehow died and been reincarnated with a dry, boring workaholic who didn’t have time for anything but”...well”...work. I started to complain about my hair; it never did what I wanted it to do and I hated how I looked. I didn’t feel like me. I started to feel as if I didn’t know myself anymore. My sense of purpose had all but dwindled and I finally knew exactly what it was like to view myself as a hamster running in a perpetual wheel.
But something sparked inside of me once I had my son. In my time on this earth, I have written extensively about finding happiness in dating and relationships, but it often takes more than a good man to bring balance to a woman’s life. I’ve had a very successful career and met just about every one of the goals I said I would attain. But clearly I needed more. Here’s where my two-month-old, Caiden, comes in.
Since he’s been in my life, I find my time to be more valuable than ever, as it is so limited these days. We slave away at jobs we loathe because the almighty dollar is what keeps the lights on. Our kids spend a limited number of uninterrupted hours a day with us because we exchange our time for a paycheck; and our time is more often than not spent fulfilling someone else’s dream. No more; not me.
Not only that, but Caiden forced me to realize my natural beauty. Prior to him coming into my life, I never once missed a weekly appointment at the hair salon. Once I became pregnant, getting my hair dyed, fried or laid to the side wasn’t an option, which, in hindsight, wasn’t such a bad thing; I hated how it looked anyway. By the time I delivered my son, I had 42 weeks of new growth and I could not have been more excited. My hair is gorgeous! I never knew how curly it was or that it seems to have more waves than an ocean when I brush it back. Hell, I’ve been getting relaxers since I was nine, how was I supposed to know? Crazy how I’d never seen what my actual hair texture looked or even felt like. Now I can’t keep my hands out of it. All thanks to my little man. A clever one, that Caiden is.
Furthermore, he needs a less-stressed mommy, so these days I spend my time making Gwen happy. I’ve resorted back to regular spa days, actually taking vacations, and sleeping in ’til noon if I feel like it. I now dance to my iPod in my living room with the blinds wide open and couldn’t care less if the nice Asian couple next door walk by and spot me acting a fool. I recently purchased a pack of bright, multicolored socks solely on the strength that they made me smile. And now my husband and I are back to packing up and going on random, spontaneous road trips when we’re sitting around doing nothing. We look at the map, close our eyes and point. Then off we go.
Since birthing my son, Caiden made me realize that I need to be fulfilled. Nowadays, when it comes to what I wear, where I go and what I do, if it doesn’t fulfill an inherent core need of mine, it gets a pass.
That little boy is the reason I was born, for sure. Without him, I couldn’t be me.
Gwen Jimmere is an award-winning and nationally syndicated editor who authored the relationship manual for young women, If It Walks Like a Duck”...and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me. She blogs about relationships, dating, marriage and parenting at The Duck Walk and works in social media/digital marketing.