There’s something truly fascinating about becoming a parent that happens to you as a person. Before that little bundle of happiness arrives, you (most likely) have a clue who you really are. You can, at least, name some of your qualities and flaws. Simply put: you know what you know, and what you don’t.
When I became a parent, I discovered that there is so much more to me as a person than I thought. I felt complete before, I thought I was whole. A finished product, sort of.
When my son came into this world, however, I soon realized how wrong I was. How much more there is to life, and how much more I can do. No one was there to tell me how to become all these things, yet they came to me quietly, together with that little boy. I was suddenly able to do all these different things, some not even being directly baby-related; although, everything is somehow baby-related, when you’re a parent, I learned. You live and breathe to keep your tiny human alive and you gain superpowers that help you create a good family environment. I gained some, too!
I became an actual cleaner
Not that I didn’t care about the hygiene of our home before, it’s just… I didn’t worry so much about what drops on the floor since we didn’t have a habit of putting it in our mouths 3 days later. It wasn’t just about the baby being in a clean house, either: I quickly learned how a pile of unwashed laundry can escalate into a whole night of hard work, if not handled in due time. A night that I definitely never look forward to!
I started to cook (and love cooking!)
Well… I cooked before the baby, somewhat, too. We survived, at least.
However, since he was born – and especially since he’s started eating solids – I’ve discovered how much I enjoy cooking family meals that we all enjoy! I take pride in setting the table for a perfect family atmosphere and putting a great dish on it. Seeing our son thriving and becoming such a great eater, as well as a core part of our family at the table, fills my heart with joy!
Also, we’ve started eating a lot healthier since there’s three of us at the table – that can’t possibly be a bad thing!
I learned how to handle money
Again, this is something I kind of knew how to do before – but I‘ve had a lot more money fails and irresponsible moments than I’d like to admit. As I started organizing our family budget, I’ve learned to appreciate smart shopping, good deals, saving and giving. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but I hope to raise a savvy money handler and I better be setting a good example!
I started studying more effectively
I used to study all day before the baby – and I probably had 3-4 hours of actually productive work. The rest was mostly a waste of time thinking about how I’d enjoy doing something else instead!
Considering that my life looks a lot different now, meaning that my “adult day” starts at 8pm with coffee and a bunch of books, I’ve mastered the skill of not messing around and getting to work!
I take less safety risks
I wasn’t much of an adventure person before. I hardly ever went out during the dark and I didn’t often forget to fasten the seatbelt on the back seat. I did sometimes, though. All of these things, and many more. I loved myself, but I don’t think I fully understood the meaning of someone else depending on me… on my survival. That woke me up. It changed me to the core.
I didn’t become paranoid… well, not overly paranoid; however, I don’t leave the house alone at night. I never cross the red light. I’m far more observant than before. I try to stay away from any situation that could pose a risk to me or my family. For now I know: I matter. My life matters.
I started talking to people a lot more
As a sworn introvert, this has been one of the most difficult changes I’ve gone through. Partially because of SAHM’s Loneliness Syndrome, but mostly out of desire for my son to see that he’s really not the only baby in the world, I started getting myself out of my comfort zone. I started talking to moms in the park, in the supermarket… moms everywhere. Not every interaction has been fruitful so far, but I’ve gotten a lot better at it. Mostly because I realized they’re as lonely and desperate as I am!
I care about how I look
Honestly, I’ve grown tired of looking like a worn-out mom in baggy clothes. I know that my family will love me no matter how I look – but I feel better knowing that my husband sees my effort to start the day and get myself ready. I am more comfortable when my son sees me happy, as well as with my hair brushed and in a shirt that matches my size. I don’t particularly care about makeup – looking “sharp” is enough for me to feel sharp and have more energy to start my day!
I sleep more
Believe it or not, I do. I now know how excruciating it is to wake up early in the morning and literally dip my face in ice cold water just to know I’m alive. I hate mornings like that. Those are the days during which I struggle to smile, talk and teach my son about the world. Who would ever want to feel like this?
Luckily, I’ve changed my habits quite a bit – I’ve learned to take advantage of a good sleeper and actually go to bed before midnight, knowing I have good eight hours of sleep. When I wake up, I see a toothless smile coming my way from the crib – and I’m ready to shoot out of bed!
I practice self-care
Drinking water, eating healthy food, having hobbies, taking long, daily relaxing showers and maintaining social life are only some of the things that have improved. (I’m still working on getting myself to exercise, but I’ll get there!) A happy mom is a good mom!
I appreciate life
My son has changed many things, but this is probably the most important one for me. I don’t waste my time on Earth anymore – every breathing moment has a purpose. To love and be loved. To feel alive and satisfied. To watch your family grow.
I’ve come to appreciate making it this far and I’m doing my best to live as good as I can, so I can have as much time with my loved ones as possible. It may sound cheesy for many, but I’ve found my purpose in life. This, along with many others, is my purpose. It’s what gets me out of bed every morning (and I’m not a stranger to days when that wasn’t even possible).
Love your life. Love your kids. Love your family. Human beings don’t often grasp the concept of mortality, but it is very real. Breathe your whole life in. Grow old knowing you’ve lived. Felt. Cared.