There is absolutely nothing in life that changes you like becoming a parent. Of course, other things can leave very deep imprints and impacts on our souls, but parenting changes you from the core of your being right away and keeps changing you every day as your child grows. Parenting changes us for as long as our child is a part of our lives, and possibly even longer than that!
Our kids bring out parts of us that we didn’t know about, or that maybe didn’t even exist at all. They mature us and make our hearts grow so big we think we might burst. There’s literally nothing like the love we have for our kids.
Before having a baby, I would have described myself as pretty insensitive. My words were exactly what I was thinking at the moment and I had no regard for others feelings. I didn’t hold much anxiety about life at all. I believed that whatever happened was just the way it was and I didn’t want to waste any time worrying about the future.
And, looking back, I’ve realized how selfish I was as well. If someone didn’t make my life easier, I usually just dismissed them and was never afraid to say negative things about others that didn’t live up to my standards. The standards I set for myself and others was impractically high and when I didn’t live up to my own standards I ended up in panic mode and/or depression.
Since having my child I have noticed so many changes. Some of them were extremely sudden and forced because of the changes I had to make in my lifestyle to be a parent. But some of these things I’ve only noticed over time and I know will just continue to change as my child gets older and teaches me more!
I’m less of a perfectionist.
I have a type A personality all the way. All the personality tests through the years have revealed the same thing… I love for things to be perfect, or whatever way I perceive perfection to be.
That was probably one of the hardest transitions into motherhood: realizing that everything wasn’t going to be able to always go my way. While I still love for everything to be in order, my anxious and controlling tendencies have gotten softer and I am so thankful for my kid helping me out in this area.
I’ve become a morning person.
Nobody who knew me as a teenager would guess this, but I now much prefer mornings! I get sleepy around 7:30 in the evening and my hubby and I are usually in bed by 9-10. I would say this happened because my husband is a morning person, but for our entire year of marriage before our son was born, I stayed up later and woke up later than him most of the time.
Now that we have a child, our sleeping schedules have all synced and we are a family that likes to be up with the sun! I truly never could have imagined being a morning person, but now it’s my favorite time of the day when everything is quiet and still.
I’m more social.
While always a big talker, I have always liked to be alone and stay away from people sometimes for my sanity. As someone who needs to be in quiet to rejuvenate, I would definitely consider myself to be an introvert.
That first month or so with my baby was rough. I was alone yet not alone… basically my worst nightmare. But eventually I got used to that time with my little buddy and now I get really lonely if I’m in our house entirely alone.
There’s also the fact that I only get to talk to a toddler all day long. When I get the chance to be out with other adults it’s a lot more appealing to go to a party or event than it was when I wasn’t stuck at home all day with my baby.
So, I’ve grown in that in need less alone time and want more socializing time! I really like the change in my personality and it’s made my friendships a lot deeper.
My patience has grown.
Like I said above, patience has never been a word that anyone would use to describe me. And while I’ll never be perfectly patient because it’s just not in my DNA, I have definitely learned it since becoming a mother.
There’s really no other option. When you love someone, sometimes you have to choose patience to keep the relationship healthy. Because of having to practice patience every day I have become a lot better at showing it (even though I don’t always feel it).
I have more stamina + motivation.
While I was pregnant, I would go for days procrastinating on something I needed to do. Whether it was the dishes or a project, I would put it off forever and think nothing of it. I just did things when I wanted to do them.
When I had a baby and suddenly had to do things whether I felt like it or not, I learned a new skill of just doing things. Even when I’m sick, I still have to feed my kid. Even when I’m feeling lazy, I have to give him his prescription medication on time. Even if I just threw up, I have to get my kid out of the bath. Even if I’m depressed, he needs breakfast.
This daily practice of putting someone’s needs ahead of my own has given me a new ability to push past my own feelings and needs to meet the needs of my family and I love the fact that I’ve had to learn this because it’s made me such a better human being.
I have higher pain tolerance + strength.
Of course, labor.
But there’s also trying to wrangle an almost 40 pound toddler that’s crazy and wiggly. My biceps are even bigger than I was in high school when I was actually working out!
A lot of my daily life requires me to go above and beyond what my normal strength would require and to physically drain myself to ensure the safety and happiness of my child.
I’m much more emotional and sensitive.
As I said above, I never was a very sensitive person. I laughed inside at my friends that cried about everything (okay, I still don’t quite understand these people..), and I was really harsh with others when they shared their emotions. I always shared what the most logical solution was and ignored their feelings.
I remember as a kid always being embarrassed by my mom. She would burst into tears at the stupidest and littlest things and it drove me nuts because it just seemed SO unnecessary.
I noticed it happen a bit more during pregnancy (those hormones, tho), but it was after having my son that it was brought out in such a full and obvious way. Just about anything can get me in a full blown tear-fest.
Having a child and empathizing with their emotions helps you to have compassion on others; because, after all, they are someone’s child.
My anxieties have changed.
I used to be totally chill when it came to big things. Traveling across the world, for instance? Piece of cake. No worries. But when it came to little things, like a room being cluttered, I would go into full blown panic mode.
I wouldn’t say that being a mom has made my anxiety better… but it has changed it. Now I’m the opposite of how I always have been. Little things don’t really bother me anymore. I’ve learned to let things go so I can enjoy life more.
But those big things… they really bring out the worst worries in me. If I don’t hear back from my husband, I immediately imagine the worst. I struggle to leave my child places in fear that something might happen to him.
While I wish I didn’t deal with anxiety at all, that may never happen. But having a baby definitely changed some of the ways I react to life.
My brain can shut off outside distractions more easily.
I’ll never forget the first time I tried to yoga after having our first. I’ve always been someone who needs quiet and alone time to revive my brain and spirit. I used to do yoga all the time, read books, write… I could do all of that so easily at home knowing no one would bother me or walk in on me.
Then, all of the sudden, I had this baby. I never knew when he was going to wake up and bother me. I never knew what to expect out of my alone time. It was really hard for quite a while and I was a pretty irritable mess for several months.
But then, the most magical thing happened… I’ve learned how to adapt. While I still love to be alone and have stillness, I have learned how to grab ahold of the quiet seconds. Maybe he stopped talking for 20 seconds. I soak it all in! If we are in the middle of playtime together and he turns for a moment to play with another toy I take that moment to process my day.
I feel like this adjustment happened so slowly I hadn’t really noticed. Until the other night, I came home from a busy day and my husband was watching NCIS. I just plopped on the couch next to him and picked up my book. At some point during that evening I realized I never would have been able to do that before. Being able to think and rest in the middle of chaos is something I have learned to do and it has helped me become a more cheerful and pleasant person because I don’t require being completely alone to rest.
I’m much more confident.
It doesn’t even make sense to me that I would be more confident after losing my pre-baby body. But I am. There’s something so empowering about carrying and birthing a child.
But more important than a better body image is that having a child made me realize how unimportant physical features really are. My love for my child has nothing to do with his looks, and his love for me is the same. He tells me he loves me and shows it too. There’s nothing quite like having your own baby throw his arms around you and say “I love you, mommy.”
Nothing, and I mean nothing, is so special. The first time he told me he loved me my hurt just about flew out of my chest. Being a parent really drives home the truth that your looks don’t matter. Your child loves you because of who you are, not because of what you look like on the outside. You are beautiful because they love you, not the other way around.
If I could pick just one, this is the one I would choose. My son has not only made me a better person, he has loved me despite not being the best person and that’s the coolest part about it. Love covers over a multitude of sins and there’s no one that can show you the truth of that in a deeper way that family can.
How has becoming a mother made you a better person?