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6 Ways Motherhood Has Changed Me

Before I had Max, I was absolutely determined that motherhood wouldn’t change me: even though I knew it almost definitely would.

(Other things I thought before I had Max: that he would play happily on the floor beside me while I worked; that I would go out running every day with him in his pram; that, not long after he was born, I’d hand him over to Terry, before carefully applying a full face of makeup… yeah, I thought a LOT of things, basically.)

Well, this just in, folks: it turns out that motherhood DID change me, after all. I know, breaking news, right?  Here are some of the biggest changes I’ve noticed…
How motherhood changed me

I cry more easily

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mean, I’ve always been a bit of a crier, to be perfectly honest, but, after Max was born, it’s almost like it became my hobby or something. At first, I thought this was purely a hormonal thing,  which would pass once he was out of the newborn stage, but then, earlier this week I saw an elderly couple walking along hand and hand, and I honestly thought it might break me. So, yeah, maybe NOT totally hormonal, then. GOD.

It sounds really stupid and obvious to say it out loud, but I think the big revelation for me here was the sudden understanding that everyone is someone’s baby, and that the way I feel about Max is the same way other people feel about their babies – even when they’re all grown up. People are just so precious, aren’t they? Every one of them. And so, these days I find I can barely stand to read the news, or listen to sad stories – especially the ones concerning children – because it’s all just too much to bear. Isn’t it, though?

I’m more patient

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atience has never been my strong point: like, in my pre-Max life I wouldn’t even have made it to the end of this sentence without thinking, “FFS, why is this not done yet?!” Parenthood, however, is a crash course in patience: whether you’re answering the same question for the 100th time that day (At least 20x per day, Max and I have a conversation that basically just goes, “Mummy?” “Yes, Max?” “Mummy?” “Yes?” “Mummy?” “What is it, Max?” “Mummy?” and so on and so forth…), or realising that you’re never going to be able to leave the house in less than 30 minutes ever again, you just have to kind of grit your teeth and get on with it – even when that’s not something you could ever have imagined yourself doing.

In my case, the patience I’ve learned with Max has also started to spill over into other areas of my life: like last summer, for instance, when we landed in Florida, and then spent a full hour waiting in line for our hire car, even though we were the only people actually IN the line. At any other time, I’d have been climbing the walls with frustration by the time we were finally done: and honestly, I’m STILL not totally sure why I wasn’t. Either it’s all of that patience I’ve been practising, or I’m just dead inside now: you decide…

I’m much lower maintenance 

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used to need AT LEAST an hour’s notice before I could reasonably be expected to leave the house, and would happily spend hours planning outfits for even the most ordinary of outings. These days I can be ready in 20 minutes – 10 at a push – and while I’m not going to claim that I no longer care what I look like, I AM much less self-conscious, which can only be a good thing. 

The upside of this low-maintenance way of life is that it allows me to be more spontaneous (Well, as spontaneous as it gets when you have a toddler, anyway…): the downside, meanwhile, is that my newfound spontaneity is mostly down to the lowering of standards that’s come with the first few years of parenthood – well, something has to give, doesn’t it?
6 ways motherhood changed me

I’m a little bit more sociable

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s a lifelong introvert, I’ve always been pretty happy to just hang out at home alone all the time … then Max came along, and now if I don’t get to leave my house at least once a day, I feel like I’m going to die, basically. 

I’d always assumed that, when we had a baby, we’d see a lot less of our friends and family for a while, because it would just be too difficult to arrange meetups with a small person to work around, but actually, the opposite has turned out to be true: sure, it’s not always easy to arrange things these days, but we’re both so desperate to get out of the house, and have conversations that don’t involve at least one of us assuming the character of a stuffed toy, that we manage to make it work.  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m never going to be an extrovert, but being stuck at home with a toddler all winter has definitely made it a little easier for me to understand them… sort of.

But a much worse conversationalist 

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aving said that, I might be enjoying spending more time with other people, but I’m not sure they’d say the same about me, given that my main topics of conversation right now all revolve around potty training and how much laundry a very small person generates. (Clue: it’s A LOT.) Pretty sure people liked me better when I was anti-social AF, to be honest…

I put less pressure on myself

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efore Max came along, I used to put so much pressure on myself to do ALL THE THINGS: sometimes all at the same time. So I’d feel horribly guilty, and like I was letting the side down if I didn’t manage to run five miles a day, keep the house spotless at all times, AND publish a new blog post every single day: which meant I got to spend a LOT of time feeling like an abject failure, basically. 

These days, not only do I not do any of those things, I don’t even feel guilty about not doing them: because I finally realised that I am not superwoman, and I can’t possibly do it all. It’s not that I don’t WANT to do them, I hasten to add: it’s just that, right now, I’ve had to accept that there aren’t enough hours in the day for all of the things I’d like to be able to accomplish – and it’s OK to admit that, and cut myself some slack. I mean, you could say I’ve lowered my standards – and you would not be wrong – but I prefer to think of it as being kind to myself, and recognising that it’s not going to be like this forever: or, at least, I HOPE not…

How did motherhood change you?

 

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4 Comments
  • Steph
    March 12, 2020

    Oh god, the crying just never ends. I saw a story on the news yesterday about a service dog that was stolen from a young girl with autism and sadly turned up dead, and I swear Dan thought someone in our immediate family had died the state I was in! Then I cried because someone I follow on Instagram had a baby and I don’t have a newborn anymore. Last night it was because I forgot we’d run out of something I was intending to cook for tea! I’m still early on in the journey I guess, but I feel like I’m changing everyday. Sometimes I can’t quite put my finger on what has changed, I just know I feel different. Still working through figuring out who I am these days. I think the biggest shift for me so far is learning that life doesn’t have to revolve around work. Realising that life is still going on in the office without me has been both gut wrenching yet liberating all at the same time. I thought it would be really hard to leave, but now I’ve been away 6 months suddenly it doesn’t feel like the worst thing that could happen any more. Though I still don’t know how to dress myself without a job to go to!

    • Amber
      March 12, 2020

      Oh God, I saw the headline about the service dog yesterday – deliberately didn’t click on it, because I knew it would upset me, but I’ve been refreshing the news constantly because of Coronavirus, so I just kept on seeing the headline and wanting to burst into tears 🙁 It’s reassuring to know other people are experiencing the same thing – I feel like a complete basket case some days!

  • Brenda
    March 12, 2020

    You’re looking at the girl who cries at Ikea commercials, so yeah, having kids has definitely changed me in that regard! Plus, I became an excellent multi-tasker. One day I shocked myself when I realized I was holding a baby and talking on the phone WHILE ironing! Not so good at that anymore now that my kids are older. Another thing that has changed, I am not as much as a perfectionist anymore. If the house gets a little messy, whatever. Sometimes the clothes my daughter wears baffles me — but I can’t control what a 20 year old wears, can I? I think that has been the biggest thing for me — giving up control. It has taken me years to realize it, mind you. My kids are almost adults. But when I realized that I had to decide what mountain is worth dying on, it made for a lot of positive changes in my life. I am way more relaxed, which in turn has made me a happier person. I do believe that has come about with having children, as well as getting older and maturing. The 48 year old me is definitely not the 28 year old me, and that’s probably a good thing!

    • Amber
      March 12, 2020

      Control is a big one: I’m a self-confessed control freak, but you just have to accept that, with kids involved, most things are totally out of your control!