When I became a mom so many things in my life changed. Not only was I now responsible for this tiny, helpless human, but I had to rediscover and redefine myself as a person. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in “just” being a mom, but really there are so many things that motherhood has changed about me for the better.
1. I’m a better driver.
It might be hard to believe that with screaming kids in the car, I’m somehow a better driver as a parent than before I had children. My driving record before children included an embarrassing amount of speeding tickets and undocumented road rage. Now that the lives of my children are literally in my hands, I’ve realized just how important being focused and safe on the road is.
Also, I know that my choices as a driver will influence my children’s driving habits in the future. In 2015 an average of 6 teens per day lost their lives in car crashes and one of the biggest dangers to teens is riding in a vehicle with another teen driver. Parents can make a difference and have a huge influence over their teens’ driving habits. I want to be a good role model so my child can be a safe driver someday.
2. I’m less judgmental.
Most of us have seen the mom in the checkout line with a screaming child, grabbing at every piece of candy she can. That was never going to be my kid. How could she just allow that?
Well, as a mom I’m looking at the world with a fresh set of eyes. I want to uplift other women and support other mothers because I think mom-to-mom support is so important. I know sometimes I’ve been super hard on myself or extremely embarrassed when my child was less than perfect in public. I want my children to be accepted for who they are and to be a part of a world full of love and acceptance. I know that to promote that kind of world I have to shed my predisposition to be judgmental and learn to be gracious toward others.
3. The world doesn’t revolve around me anymore.
No longer am I number one on my own list. Now there are two small children that my world revolves around, most days without much thought for myself at all. A large part of my happiness is rooted in them and their happiness. Their smiles brighten my days and spending time with them trumps all other activities.
Before children I was somewhat self-absorbed. I loved other people. There were other people I would make sacrifices for. However, nothing compares to the complete and total shift that happened my I held my sweet baby for the first time. My world stopped spinning and started revolving around this tiny, sweet human.
4. I love silence.
As a parent silence can indicate that you’re about five minutes from finding the mayhem you silent children are causing. This is not the kind of silence I am referring to, though.
I’m talking about when you wake up thirty minutes before everyone else. The house is quiet. Maybe it’s even dark. You brew a cup of coffee, splash water on your face and bask in the glorious silence.
When you have children, the noise seems nonstop. Someone is always crying, laughing, screaming, talking, etc. Their silence is usually more alarming than reassuring, but all excess noise that is a side effect of having children can be so overstimulating.
I no longer need music or a TV or any kind of background noise. Sometimes when I have the luxury to drive alone, I don’t even turn on the radio. It’s almost like I’m taking some time to meditate.
5. I’ve learned to love myself.
The world can be harsh for women of all ages and sometimes more so for young women, but becoming a mother gave me a love for myself I’m not sure I would have found otherwise. I’m amazed at my body’s capabilities and the beautiful children I grew with it. I love what I’ve accomplished with my body, but it’s more than just my body.
I have a daughter now and being a strong, confident woman is important for the development of her own self-image. I can’t expect her to love her beautiful self if I’m incapable of embracing my mind, body, and soul—flaws and all. I’ve learned to not be so hard on myself and embrace the qualities I love most about myself and the ones I love a little less.
It’s beautiful and it’s freeing.
6. My priorities have changed.
I have always strived for an immaculate home. I hate dirt and clutter and general disarray. With several children running around, not everything can be a priority. Some things are at the top and some things that used to be important have been knocked further down on the list.
Whether you’re a single mom, working mom, or stay at home mom… Being a mom in any of these situations presents its own unique challenges in finding balance. Sometimes you eat a dinner full of unhealthy, overly processed food from the drive thru, but you managed to make it to a parent teacher conference and dance recital on the same night. Sometimes the dishes don’t get done before bed, but you were able to have dinner together as a family and read a story before bed.
The things that were important as a childless woman often seem to have less meaning now. Sure, I still like my house to be clean. However, I’m not going to beat myself up over it when I’ve spent my time doing something else that was of more value to my life or my child’s life.
7. I learned to be late.
Now, I don’t like being late. I never have. Before children, I was religiously 15 minutes early. Being on time felt like being late to me. Anyone who has children can testify that you must multiply the expected time required to get out the door and to your appointment on time by two or three. Then you must expect to have an unexpected problem (lost shoe, diaper explosion, unexpected construction) that will probably make you late even though you planned for it.
I’ve learned to embrace the fact that getting out of the door in a timely manner is nearly impossible. I still try to be on time, but I’m not going to begrudge myself if I’m a few minutes late. If I’m going to be really late, I just call and apologize. Sometimes I’ve even had to reschedule. I’ve learned to roll with the bunches and embrace life as it is.
Being a mom is hard and rewarding. It’s not just my children who are growing and learning. I am growing and learning with them and developing myself as a mom and as a human everyday.