19 Ways Life Gets Real After The Baby
I LOVE being a mom. I love it, I love it, love it. I think that all moms can agree that our lives have changed significantly once we became parents. I wanted to share with you some of the many ways my life has changed - both the expected and unexpected changes. Although you may love certain changes, and dislike others, all of them are worth it for our babies and our own personal growth. Check out my list, and be sure to share some of the changes you've experienced too!
So Here We Go:
My sleeping habits are absolutely horrendous. I don't recall ever sleeping during Bella’s first year - slight exaggeration, but almost accurate. Even after the first year, I would wake up in the middle of the night to nonexistent cries. I had become so accustomed to Bella’s cries at night that I had begun to hear things! Lol. These days, I wake up during the night and go to Bella's room to creepily stare at her to make sure she's alive. On top of waking up at night, I do not have a bedtime. Nighttime tends to be my prime working hours for homework, blogging, and catching up on reality tv (a girl’s gotta live). I never wanted to be a part of team no sleep. I thought it was a stupid hashtag, but here I am.
2) Social Life
Social life? Sounds interesting, but not really sure what that is anymore. If I can barely fit sleep in my schedule, there’s probably a good chance I can’t fit you in either. It's pretty rare that I have time to go get drinks with friends. I wrote about my girl's weekend in NYC, but something is telling me that was probably the first and the last time I write about such a trip. Lol. With a family, work, and school all simultaneously demanding my time, my social life will probably be limited to text and g-chat. Good friends understand, at least I hope they do. LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH GUYS.
So the fact of the matter is that I gestated a whole entire baby. Things got stretched out and didn't return to their original size and shape. I was a lazy pregnant woman, and I put on EXCESS weight. Imagine being inactive and eating your life away for 6 months. That was me *hangs head in shame*. I have been able to "snap back" as they say, but I have accepted that my body has gone through a transformation. I’ve lived a little, and I’ve borne a child. My body speaks to that, and I love it.
4) Views on Parenting
Before I had Bella, I was the person who would say things like "I would NEVER let my child tell me 'no,'" or "I would NEVER let my child embarrass me in public." Ohhhh, how those tables have turned. Parenting is so much harder than it looks. Kids are essentially little humans, with personalities and attitudes just like everyone else. They're not robots that can be controlled with a switch (although that would be kind of nice). Even when we don't do everything the right way, I believe most parents, including myself, are doing their best.
Hustle. Hustle. Hustle. I stopped talking, and started doing. You have to take advantage of every hour, every minute, and every second. Managing time is crucial when you have a little human sucking up most of it. I don’t wait for opportunity to find me, I search for it it, and pursue it like my life depends on it. My daughter motivates me to get this money, to get this degree, and to advance my career. She needs me, and she is watching. Giving her a chance at an amazing life pushes me further and further. I want success more for her more than I want for myself.
Imagine a world where every choice you make is decided by another person…. Hello, welcome to motherhood, so good to see you! It’s just a fact of life. Your coworkers invite you to a happy hour the day of, and you say “had I known in advance, I might have been able to,” and even that is a lie. You have to pick up your kids after work, and even if they’re already home, you may feel guilty that you haven’t seen them all day. Wanted to go shopping on Saturday? Well you just might be able to fit shopping in after your child's swim lessons, and before her friend's birthday party. Probably not gonna happen actually. My life revolves around my kid, but that’s okay. She’s mostly deserving.
Some people eat healthier because they want to be a good example to their child in how to live a healthy life. People like me, eat worse because you’ve been reintroduced to the not-so-good for you, but yummy snacks that your kids crave. Bella’s latest obsession is doughnuts. One day, my husband brought her a doughnut home and ever since she asks about them all of the time. Now we go out for a doughnut almost weekly, and WE both have one. I try to work them off in cardio sessions, but I have no regrets sharing sweet treats with Bella here and there.
Either you will learn patience, or you will go insane. Kids are clumsy. They drop things, spill things, break things… KIDS GET INTO EVERYTHING. I never knew patience until I was scrubbing my foundation out of the carpet, gritting my teeth, and holding back expletives. Potty training has also taught me patience. I begin to understand that learning takes time, and I can now deal with inconveniences much better. Not saying I magically stopped getting annoyed, but I eventually started to take things as they come without overreacting.
9) Personal Space
When I was pregnant, someone told me “having a child is like having a shadow.” I don't know if I've ever heard a statement so true to my life. Toddlers love to follow you around. Another mom told me that her school age kids still follow her around the house. I thought this would be ending soon... Yes, I enjoy that she loves me so much, I really do! However, it's still an adjustment. Sometimes when I'm enjoying my shower, Bella will come in the bathroom to ask when I'll be finished. You say lock the door, I say I don't want to deal with Bella's anger when she can't "find mommy." No privacy allowed.
10) My Food Is Not My Food
If I’m eating something that Bella wants, who do you think gets the last bite? Bella is a very picky eater, so when she likes something and wants more of it, I oblige mainly because I don’t want her to starve. Who knew she would like beef patties? The other day I sat and watched her eat most of mine because how could I tell my 30 pound kid that I needed it more than her? You just become used to putting your child’s needs before yours a lot of the time, especially when it comes to food. Sometimes it hurts, but you can always have a snack when your baby goes to sleep.
I hardly shop for myself anymore, and on the occasion that I do, I probably bought Bella something too. For me, there’s no such thing as spending too much on your child IF YOU GOT IT. It’s my personal duty to provide her the best life that I can afford. This is not saying that I max out credit cards to get her the latest and greatest. As my father once told me, "your child is an investment." Paying for her education, and paying those ridiculous registration fees for soccer camps are all worth if it means enhancing my daughter's childhood and preparing her for a bright future.
12) Romantic Relationship
Parenting with someone changes the entire dynamic of the relationship. There are good changes. You may feel more connected through your equal investing in the life you both created. You will share proud moments watching your kid take his or her first steps, and laugh when your child tells a funny (probably not funny at all) joke. That’s one of the fun parts of the change. What's not as fun are the new pressures put on the relationship. You have to collaborate and agree on how to parent, while still attempting to make time for each other. Things can and do get stressful.
Have you ever seen a child perform gymnastics on a couch? My heart drops with every tumble. I can only trust and pray that she is safe when I am not around, because I know how much Bella loves to play, with no regard for safety. My grandmother once said something along the lines of “once you have children, you will worry forever.” You will worry about their safety whether they’re toddlers, school-aged kids, teenagers, or adults! Trust me, I know. My mother still calls me daily, and has recently started nagging me to get a security system for my house. I tried convincing her that my neighborhood is safe, but she's not hearing it.
I recently wrote a post for another blog about how having a child has forced me to speak up more. I’ve been “pipin' up” you can say. I can speak with authority because I believe in myself. I believe in myself because my baby believes in me. I am her world. I am her hero. When there’s a problem, I’m who she calls for. How can a real life hero not have confidence? Because of Bella, I am much more fearless. I have to represent both of US. As I’ve said before, “how can I represent her, if I can't represent myself?”
15) Fashion and Beauty
Call me shallow, but I didn’t want to be the mom that “fell off” after childbirth. I am always tired, but I don’t have to look that way. I am very aware of my looks. I’m nobody’s fashionista, but I do what I can. Even if I don't have the time to do my makeup or wear a stylish outfit everyday, a quick application of lipstick and some good mascara reminds me that I still got it. As moms we have to remember to not let go of ourselves. I’m usually into dresses and really feminine pieces, but I’ve even started buying cute sweatsuits for me to wear, so I can still look good while being comfortable at my daughter's sports practices. I've adapted my looks to my lifestyle without having to forego feeling beautiful.
16) How I Drive
I’ve had a ticket or 2 in my day, but none since becoming a parent. I take less risks when I drive, because now I have precious cargo in the car. When Bella is with me, I drive as if I’m taking a road test. I drive at the speed limit, and I’m especially careful when it’s snowing, even with my all-wheel drive SUV. I don’t play games with my kid’s safety. When it's just me, I may go a little faster, and pull out into oncoming traffic with just a few seconds to spare. I should probably stop playing with my life too, huh? But yeah, I don't think I could ever forgive myself if anything happened to her because I was too much in a rush.
17) Watching My Tongue
You probably can’t tell from my blog, but I definitely can get “creative” with my words when I’m excited or upset. I grew up with very Christian parents who never used profanity, so I feel some personal conviction about this. I try my best to refrain from using certain words around my daughter. I do slip up from time to time, and I’m working on it. I’ve had to even make mention to others to please not use certain language around her. Watching my language is my own self-discipline, in which I’m learning how to express myself better without needing to say things that are offensive to the ear.
18) Thinking About And Planning For The Future
I think about the future a lot. I’ve always thought about the future, but these days I plan more. I don’t just think in the “now.” Only thing constant about life is change, right? My situation this year won’t be my situation next year. I have to plan for Bella's schooling, and consider how our financial situation will change when God blesses her with a sibling. I have to think of the future today, so that I can be prepared for tomorrow. I believe in the phrase, “if you stay ready, you won’t have to get ready.” Thinking ahead and planning is critical to parenting.
19) Happiness and Fulfillment
It is a special experience loving and raising a child from birth. I now take joy in the most mundane of activities. I relish in the moments that bring a smile to my daughter's face, whether she's enjoying a bag of her favorite chips, or running to me for a hug when I come home from work. Finding happiness in another person's happiness is one of the most unselfish experiences of becoming a parent. I find such fulfillment in hearing my daughter sing her ABC's, and talk about shapes and colors. I take pride in all of her small accomplishments. She is a reflection of me, but also her own person. I wholeheartedly appreciate watching her grow into a unique, beautiful, and smart individual.