When first thinking about having a baby, I thought about how my life would change. I thought about the sleepless nights, the lack of cash and freedom that comes with having a child. I also questioned my abilities to parent: would I be good enough? Would I be capable to raise a child given I’d never changed a nappy or spent a lot of time with babies?
What I never thought about though was the impact becoming a mum would have on me. How motherhood would change me more than just having a child. The way I felt I had to build a new identity for myself after shedding my old skin and becoming someone else. The old me no longer existed – and I needed to work out who the new me is. Something I’m still growing into.
Motherhood has changed me. Yes, it’s turned my life upside down – in many ways for the better.
10 ways motherhood has changed me
- I have a greater sense of purpose. To clarify, I always had a purpose pre-child and pre-relationship and don’t believe having a baby makes you a better human. The difference is now I’m very aware that every penny I earn is providing for my son and the time I spend in the office is for him.
- I’m in a permanent state of surprise. My son literally surprises me daily with things he’s learnt and can now do. I love seeing him develop and the pleasure it brings him when he’s mastered something new.
- I’m far less judgmental. I’ll admit it; I judged people who I saw in supermarkets giving food to their kids and thought to myself that they should wait until the goods were paid for. I am now the person giving a banana to a screaming toddler. Hypothetical parenting is much easier…
- I’m much more empathetic. I’ve always been reasonably tuned into people’s feelings. I’m now I’m on turbo. I also cry a LOT more.
- I understand what ‘being in the moment’ means. I’d read so many stories about women setting up successful businesses or writing books on maternity leave, I assumed that would also be me. It wasn’t. I wasn’t capable of much more than getting both of us dressed. But for the first time in possibly forever, I switched off and did nothing more than just be with my baby. I stayed in the moment – and it was good for me.
- I’m more patient. My son is 15 months old and switches from one thing to the other all the time. There is nothing else to do other than just go with it. I’m also much more patient with myself. I try not to give myself a hard time if I don’t achieve
- I have a sense of perspective. What is the point of worrying about the little things? I leave work in the office and I try not to get bogged down in internal politics. Motherhood has changed me because I now see those things don’t matter.
- Guilt is part of my life. I work because I need to financially. If money wasn’t an option though, I would still work because I need to use my brain. I feel guilty that means I’m not a good enough mother. In all honesty, I feel guilty about pretty much everything to do with my son. From what I’ve read, this is pretty standard.
- I’m now a routine person. I work for a fairly flexible company and that suited my personality. I loved the fact I could work late one day and finish early another. Now life is totally different. I have to be on the train to pick my son up from nursery and yes, there are days where I’d like to go for a glass of wine with a friend, but mostly I love it.
- I’m winging it on a daily basis. I know what I’m doing 50% of the time, the rest of the time I’m making it up. And you know what, I’m ok with that.
Just so we’re clear, I don’t believe being a mother makes you a superior being in life any more so than not being a parent. I don’t like that narrative at all. This is a reflection of my feelings only and what I’ve learnt about myself.