I have a strong and willful mind. I’ve always had a definable and distinct personality. But marriage, and particularly motherhood, has made the most significant impact on the person I have become.
Thinking about having a baby? Here are the ways I’ve noticed having a baby changed me and my life.
1 – Like the Grinch, I’m pretty sure my heart grew to many times its size
When I had William, I just started caring more. About everything and everyone. I always cared – a little. But with him around, everyone needs to watch themselves! Which leads me to my next change.
2 – I began to value sustainability and organic goods
I want my kids to have the best and purest – chemical reduced existence. I never cared about it as much as I do now.
3 – I’m more interested in other people’s kids and other mothers now
So like everyone else, before I had a baby, when people would post their baby pictures on Facebook I’d go “ok, and?” I just didn’t really get it. I’m not even sure I liked “kids” in the general sense. Some were cute and nice – some were annoying. Now I do. I’m even mildly interested in the most annoying of them. Simple as that.
4 – It’s a lot harder for me to keep in shape
Ok so it’s hard to keep in shape. For anyone and everyone. I am not saying you have it easy if you haven’t had kids. I’ve just realized it’s been a lot tougher for me to manage my weight with diet and unless I’m on a rigorous fitness routine or have a horrendous flu for 3 weeks, this weight is not going anywhere. It’s been tough to process because I’ve always been disciplined. And the time, energy and inclination for rigorous exercise is short when you’re a working mommy.
5 – My vanity is gone
I’ve found a remnant of poop on the top of my hand one time going out when I thought I’d scrubbed off everything. Bad hair days are super common and my clothes have been worn inside out and backwards. When I bother to put on mascara, I find it smudged all over half my face within a couple hours. And I feel like I should care, but I just don’t. I used to enjoy the attention of being cute. I no longer seem to prize nor take much store by my own looks. My son doesn’t care, my husband finds other qualities in me appealing and I figure one day I’ll slowly care again. We’ll see.
6 – I no longer seem to care what anyone thinks of me
If I have an opinion you don’t share, I really don’t care. I’ll hear you out and if I disagree than we simply disagree. I certainly won’t lose sleep.
7 – I prize sleep like never before
For shame that I ever experienced insomnia or sleep issues. When sleep and rest is so scarce as a parent, I look back at the days when I could have slept half the days away if I wanted to.
8 – Apparently I have phenomenal reaction time
When you have a baby there are lots of ‘close calls’ – moments where he almost hits his head on something or touches something he shouldn’t (a hot mug) or whatever, and I’ve discovered dormant lay the most amazing reaction time – and like that scene in Mr. and Mrs. Smith when Angelina Jolie catches the cup off the table, apparently that’s me now. I can’t say I’ve caught every accidental moment, but if I’m near I’m pretty sharp.
9 – I didn’t think I’d ever ____
Fill in the blank here. There were so many things I thought I wouldn’t do–bed share, swaddle, breastfeed longer than six months, sleep train, you name it. I ended up changing my mind so many times.
10 – I understand my parents better
The first thing my husband did after William was born is call up his parents sobbing “I’m so sorry – I gave you such a hard time.” He was apologizing for any misbehavior in his childhood. Now with William I get it, we’re all their little babies – we always will be. They’ll worry and they’ll wonder what we’re eating. It used to annoy me, but it’s just biological. We were once these little cute helpless waddling squishies. I also understand better when they were not so good and how they suffered lapses of patience and good judgment.
11 – I no longer care about making a ‘name’ for myself
Whatever that means…fame, fortune, recognition. It seems I just want to be a good mom, I want my son to have a good life if I can help it at least. I still want to be financially more secure – but that’s for the family. And I want to do something good for others too. And I want peace.
12 – I’m more confident than I realized
I used to ‘build’ confidence as a young adult. I had to practice poise, speaking, work on my skills, my writing, my conversation. I started life as a shy child. But as a mother I find a beast inside, something that says “I know what to do – and I’m going to follow my best instincts.” I feel natural in the nurturing role.
13 – I’ve discovered being in the moment helps me be happy
When I look back to the first months with William, I realize that the space and time I spent just holding, nursing, talking, being with my baby, smelling him, kissing him, walking with him. I experienced a joy of just being in the moment with him. He allowed me to do that. I remember fighting internal moments of impatience, but he beat me down by his need – he needed to nurse 2 hours in a row at times, and then again 20 minutes later. It forced me to go “it’s me and him – it’s our time. What else really matters right now?”
14 – I never wanted to be that domestic before
I liked working, it’s all I ever knew. I liked hanging out with friends til late into the night. Being home didn’t appeal that much to me. That changed – as much as anything can change. Now I prefer it. I enjoy home – the cooking, the keeping house, the decorating – it’s all good.
15 – I got selfless – fast
Baby’s needs come first – I accepted that real fast.
16 – I developed a ‘mom’ smile
I have a lot of different smiles – the cynical smirk, the goofy grin, the open mouth laugh, a shy smile, and a sort of flirty smile. From the moment William was born, I had a new one – it’s like a proud and pleased smile. I never had this smile before – but now I have it all the time around him or talking about him.
17 – He made me think about everyone I ever knew differently
From the perspective of ‘mother,’ everyone changes, you realize everyone has a mother. And it makes you see everyone in a different light.
18 – My relationship with my husband is different
We’re closer. He cared for me so well during a tough pregnancy and then supported a 56 hour labor and he’s a doting present father. Having him be the father of my child makes me love him even more and cherish his support and part of the equation.
19 – He makes me want to follow my passions more
As much as we need financial security, I want William to see me do what I’m good at and be happy too.
20 – I’ve discovered my favorite job
I enjoy being a mom so far more than anything else I’ve ever done and I’ll never regret deciding to have a baby. I feel it’s more important and more interesting too.
Thank you for reading “20 Ways Motherhood Has Changed Me.” How has having children changed you?