I can’t believe my son is almost two years old. It feels like just yesterday I was being led onto the dreaded induction ward and trying to figure out how to change my first nappy (I put an early one on back to front, let’s not talk about what a disaster that was after the inevitable poonami!). As I look back and reflect upon the last two years, I wanted to take the time to evaluate how I’d changed. I have no doubt that this tiny terror will continue to change both my husband and I, to evolve our family as time goes by, but won’t it be nice to look back on this in a few years and see my thoughts?
The 5 Ways Becoming a Mother has Changed Me
So here are the ways in which becoming a mother has changed me for the better.
- Becoming a mother has made me more patient – I am (or used to be) one of the most impatient people ever! I’m the type of person who used to say “Let’s go out now!” and I’d give my husband about 120 seconds to grab his coat and shoes. Now imagine doing that with a newborn or a toddler. Yeah… it’s not happening. I’ll admit I found it all very frustrating in the beginning, but now I feel like I have a reasonable amount of patience. Patient in parenting helps a lot, from the movies you’ve seen a million times to the endless questions or the forgotten things we have to go back for – but it’s also helped me in other ways, with my friends, family and work too.
- Becoming a mother has helped me understand children and families a lot better – I wasn’t always the keenest person on other people’s children. My son was actually the first baby I held and the first nappy I changed. At 35 I started this motherhood journey fairly late, but I’ve found the journey fascinating. Now I devour information about child psychology, development and health. I’ve even done courses in it. When you apply your own child to it, it’s a lot more interesting a subject! Now I’m happy to spend time with other peoples children and I feel like my empathy and understanding of all children has greatly improved. Not saying I’d want to spend too much time in a locked room with other people’s children, but I certainly wouldn’t turn down the odd babysitting favour for a friend.
- Becoming a mother has helped me handle money better – I wasn’t amazing at handling my finances before having my son, but his somewhat unexpected arrival required some serious budgeting. I feel like I have a much better understanding of a good budget now, and how I can make savings or make sure our money is being spent in the right way (like on ridiculously cute outfits and toys for him!)
- Becoming a mother has helped me love and respect my husband more – Of course I loved him like crazy before, we’d been married for 9 years and together for 11 years when William was conceived. But my husband stepped up to the plate in ways I never imagined. He has amazed me with his love, caring, generosity and how willing he is to sacrifice his own comforts for his family right from the start. When William was born he spent over a week sleeping in an armchair next to me in the hospital doing every single night feed, helping me to the bathroom, to wash and get dressed as I was so unwell. I feel like I see a different side of him now, and the love I feel for him just feels fuller than before.
- Becoming a mother has helped me see past an unobtainable level of perfection – I have anxiety and I’m a people pleaser and a perfectionist. It’s an awkward combination that has often led to me feeling like a failure. Whether it’s my looks, my lifestyle, my home, my work, my writing – I’ve been hyper critical. But as a mother, I know I do my best. I know I’m not failing him. And from getting glimpses into the lives of other families, I know no one else’s life is perfect either. Things have been put into perspective, and I feel like it’s helped me feel like I fit into the world more and that I accept myself the way I am.
There are probably hundreds of ways in which becoming a mother has changed me for the better, but these five ways have really made a difference to my life. Of course becoming a mother isn’t all daisies and roses and there are a lot of ways in which my life is now more difficult, more chaotic, more emotional in all ways, but it’s undeniable to me that I’ve changed for the better and I’ve loved thinking about this and reflecting on the changes.
How will I feel about myself and the changes in another two years, five years, or ten? How about when he’s a teenager? I can’t even imagine in my mind what he’s going to look like or who he’s going to be, but I’m really looking forward to reading this back and coming back to this topic over the years and seeing where this journey takes me.
How old are your kids and in what ways do you think you’ve changed the most since before you had them?
If you enjoyed reading this you might also enjoy reading:
- Embracing what you have and how I’ve learned to appreciate the positive even in times of adversity.
- A letter to my pregnant self, one year later.
- My honest take on a Mother’s love and how I felt it.
- My sense of self as a Mother of a newborn.