Becoming a Mom is the most wonderful journey of our lives. Perhaps inevitably, that means that it changes us. Not just in relation to our children either, but in the way we approach everyday life – and it’s not something that fades either.
Some of these changes are lighthearted, as we find ourselves doing things we never would have before motherhood. Others, such as the impact on our relationship with our spouse, can be more complex. But they are all part of the package of bringing a new life into the world and discovering a side to ourselves that, until that point, we didn’t know.
So let’s celebrate these changes – from the silly and absurd to the more alarming. They’re a part of us now, and most of us couldn’t imagine stopping them if we tried. Do you recognize any of the things on the list?
We live in a world where new Moms are expected to snap back into shape. They just brought a life into the world and are struggling with those initial phases – who cares about their figure at that time?!
Even when the newborn time is past, it’s impossible not to notice that your body has gone through something. For the vast majority of us, these are nice reminders of the things we have been through and the efforts that went into getting us there. Our figures might return, but the thin silvery remnants of stretch marks and thinner hair stick around as well.
- Your relationship with your husband changes forever.
Up until the point of becoming a parent, you are the most important people to one another – bar none. Then along comes your little bouncing ball of joy, and suddenly, you both have to get used to being second best.
Some parents don’t deal with this transition well, feeling neglected by their spouse. If left unchecked, this can result in a painful separation and a call to a family attorney but most couples recover eventually. This is a new state of being and when you have both adjusted, you will find there is still plenty of love to go around.
- You get used to having both sides of a conversation.
On to a more cheerful subject (I think we all need it after that!) – having conversations with yourself. We all do it; yes, even you, thinking you’re above this, we know your secret too!
It begins before our child learns to speak. We fill in “their” half of the conversation. Sure, we take the occasional behavior or facial expression as a cue, but we still end up effectively talking to ourselves. The day you find yourself tittering to a joke your baby – i.e. you! – made is a little alarming, but hey, got to keep yourself smiling somehow right? And who knows your sense of humor better than you?
- You get a new name.
Our kids call us “Mom”, or at least that’s what social convention says they do anyhow. I think that we can all agree, however, that our new name is not a singular “Mom”. We become: Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom – repeat until attention required has been given!
Parenting teaches us patience and nurtures our protective instinct, but it also makes us ace at multitasking. We’ve all had days where we don’t have enough hands, and we have got no choice but to juggle things. You can sterilize a bottle while wiping down a work surface, all the way thinking up words to ask the child trailing behind you to spell.
- We don’t get off days.
Working is hard, and there is no way of saying whether being a stay-at-home Mom is harder than a career. They are both difficult, trying, testing and rewarding, though in very different ways.
One thing a lot of people forget is that there are no days off. This is one job you’re in all the time, whether it’s all day or just for the hours you’re outside of the office. You’re a full-time life coach, personal assistant, guardian and – on the bad days – disciplinarian. Suddenly the idea of giving a presentation to fellow staff doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
- Sometimes, our kids really push us to the limit.
We adore our children and nothing could ever make us want to give them up – that should go without saying, but just in case, I said it anyway! Even with that though, there are days when you just want a minute to yourself. You sit down, breathe deep, close your eyes and try to pretend you can’t hear the plaintive voice requesting more of your attention.
It’s important to try and take a break every now and again, though what we call a break is different from non-parents. Five minutes to sit and look at the garden or just going to the restroom unaccompanied is a break to us now!
- We become health freaks.
The explosion in “Mommy bloggers” has been fiercely debated, both for and against, across the internet since it began. What these debates tend to ignore is the natural desire to protect our children. When you become a parent, you suddenly start noticing all of those warnings on labels and have concerns about certain chemicals. We want to know what’s going into our little ones and what it is going to do while in there.
This can lead to a lot of paranoia, scanning labels and panicking about cleaning products and air fresheners. Some may look down on us for this, but we’re just lionesses protecting our cubs. And we can’t see someone trying it on with a lioness any time soon…
- We realize we have more than one child…
… and we’re not just talking about siblings. Even if you just have one biological child, there will almost certainly be moments where your husband feels like a second. Having kids brings out the repressed, playful side of guys and they really let rip and indulge themselves. You can fondly be watching your husband and child play, and find yourselves wondering who is actually the more mature.
Before becoming a Mom, did you ever promise to yourself, friends and family you would never do any of the following:
- Post “cute” social network updates of things your kid said?
- Only be interested in conversations about your child, parenting and other related topics?
- You’d do something radically different in how you raised your child, so they weren’t brought up like you?
We all want to think we won’t fall into these things. Then you find out your kid has been doing something you disapprove of, and like a possession, it happens. The words flow out of your mouth seemingly unaided: “while you’re under my roof, you’ll live by my rules!”
Where did this side of you come from? You broke all the things you said you’d never do in the first month, for goodness’ sake!
Don’t give yourself a hard time. You’ve changed and if you have the right people around you, they’ll get that. No one should expect you to still be the exact same person you were before baby.
- Your relationships with your parents change.
We soon begin to see things from the other side. We recognize that many of the limitations that our parents put on us as kids were for good, caring reasons. It gives the relationship a whole new dynamic, as we find ways to understand them that we never would have without becoming parents.
You also get to watch as your child rails against the things that you were furious about when you were younger. Luckily, you can sit back and feel smug, knowing when they have their own kids they’ll realize what it was all for.
For any Mom, the way we used words before baby and after baby are very different.
- “Tired” meant “I haven’t slept well these past few nights and I am yawning during the day”.
- “Busy” meant “I have too much work on and I’ve not been able to binge-watch the latest TV show as much as I wanted”.
- “Sore” meant “I ache a little bit” (though you knew a good hot bath would sort it out)
- “Tired” now means: “I am beside myself with exhaustion. No person in the history of humanity has ever been this tired. I am scared to go to the toilet in case I fall asleep, having been sitting still for a minute”
- “Busy” now means: “Time to watch what TV show? I didn’t know it was such a hit. In fact, I’m not even sure where the TV remote is. Finding it is on my to-do list…”
- “Sore” now means: “Everything hurts and I’ve given up trying to figure out why”.
- It’s all 100% worth it.
Reading the above might have some complaints, some things that are a cause for concern. But we’d never change a moment of it.