Back before I had kids, one of my fears was that motherhood would turn me into a different person. Who I’d be as a mom was such a mystery. Would I let myself go? Would my personality become annoyingly maternal? Would I only listen to songs with titles like Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy? Would I wear clothes that say, “I’m not a woman anymore. I’m a mom!”
Well, Past Me, I want you to know I haven’t given up, I haven’t let myself go. But if there’s anything baby acid reflux and playing on the floor with two little ones has taught me, it’s that sometimes it’s important to regularly wear clothes you don’t care about.
And, here’s a confession: Not only do I have super “distressed” jeans, I also have a pair of mom jeans…they are comfortable, but not so cute. They have a “tummy slimming panel” and I got them ON SALE. Obviously.
I recently wrote about how long I spent in the corporate world before becoming a mom, because 13 years feels significant. So does 13 years of marriage before having kids. But somehow, it’s these past four years as a mom that have turned my world upside down but also changed me the most, in some pretty good ways.
How Motherhood Changed Me
My life has a more focused purpose.
Before I had kids, my life had a purpose, of course. But as a mom now, it’s easy to see that my ministry is first and foremost being a mother to my children. My life has an undeniable purpose and it’s obvious where my priorities and focus should be (God first, then marriage, then kids and family). As a person who didn’t exactly feel like I’d found my ideal job or area of service in life, this makes knowing God’s will for me a whole lot easier. Being a mom isn’t the only thing I do or the only thing that gives my life meaning by a long shot, but it’s definitely a top priority that gives my life more direction and meaning than I ever felt in the past.
I’m more dedicated when it comes to chores.
I have to laugh at how different this aspect of my life is. Before having kids, I was not as dedicated to keeping the kitchen clean or doing dishes and laundry on a schedule. I did improve more and more with each year of marriage, but having a full-time job and no little ones to look after meant I’d find time here and there during my days and weekends to get things done.
Now, you could set a clock by my housework habits. I have a pretty set routine when it comes to dishes, laundry, sweeping, making meals, etc. because I have to fit it in around my kids’ schedule. There’s nothing like knowing my deadline is coming up to keep me motivated.
Yes, I said deadline. I’m not proud of it, but I said it.
For example, I know that by 6:30 AM I should be wrapping up whatever I was working on (my online job or blogging) in order to have breakfast prepped before the kids wake up. This was inspired by the Make Over Your Mornings class that I took a year ago. I also know that by 11:00 AM I should have clean dishes put away and the first set of dirty dishes loaded.
Before having kids, if I’d known this, I would have been a bit terrified. But I actually find having a routine much less stressful than trying to fit things in whenever.
I get up early every day. And I drink the coffee to prove it.
A small disclaimer: I’m a morning person and always have been, and I realize that’s probably super annoying. When I was working full-time, I didn’t set an alarm and woke up naturally at 5:40-6:00 in the morning. On weekends, I set my “mental alarm” to sleep in a bit, and I’d wake up at something like 8:00. Told you.
So that may already look like getting up early every day, but now I look at that schedule and think it sounds pretty luxurious.
These days, I need to be ready for my kids by 6:45-7:00 AM every day of the week. But I like doing a lot more before that, so I can take care of my work and get breakfast ready before juggling anything else. I found out early on that it’s always better to get myself dressed and ready before my kids wake up.
And in case you were wondering, this schedule is brought to you by coffee.
My tastes are less edgy when it comes to entertainment.
I was never really dark or edgy to begin with, but some of my choices in movies and music are much more family-friendly. And I’m not doing that for my kids. They are asleep when I choose to watch some Netflix or listen to some music by myself or with my husband. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but for me, I just don’t even like some of the things I used to.
Motherhood has made me more sensitive to violence, swearing, scary situations, and death. I am still very much my own person, but seeing the world through my kids’ eyes has changed me. I wish this was a much happier world, and I think there’s more than enough darkness in real life. So when it’s time to relax and be entertained, I often go with something that doesn’t have a lot of murder, violence, or other dark themes. If you want to see what I’m watching and listening to lately, check out my What’s up Wednesday post.
I know what you’re thinking: Motherhood made me boring. Well, actually, I was boring to begin with. So there.
I appreciate “me time” and dates with my husband more.
Can I get an AMEN??! Pre-kids, my mama friends (which was almost EVERY single friend of mine) all warned me that I’d miss the ability to focus on self care, and all the time we had together as a couple too. One of my friends told me to take a really nice getaway before we even got pregnant, so for our 10th anniversary, we went to the Rivera Maya!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Even though I worked full time, it was just impossible to know how much I’d appreciate time to lounge around and read, or pick up and drive to the mountains with Ry (when we lived in Colorado), or thoroughly enjoy a delicious dinner, or have a long discussion while on a walk with my husband. I did those things, and I loved doing it, but NOW when I get those times, I’m reaaaaally savoring it in a way I never did before!
I am learning much more about grace – for myself and others.
There’s nothing like being responsible for a tiny life to make you aware of how human you are. Knowing my own limitations has basically forced me to rely on God and give myself, my husband, other parents, and my kids lots of grace. I’m far from perfect, my kids disobey me at times, and I’ve come to realize that’s actually okay.
I’m more true to myself.
While some parents have to work to find their identity after having kids, I actually feel like I’m more myself. I’m stronger in my convictions and more grounded than ever before. Motherhood made me grow more as an adult, and it brought out the child in me at the same time. Being a mom is sort of magical that way.
My wardrobe has changed.
Well, you already heard about my embarrassing mom jeans secret. Let me now try to save face by telling you I wear them *only* about twice a week now that my daughter is one. So I’m pretty put together.
I do try to get out of the house with my kids, and I force myself to dress a little bit like I care. Even going to Walmart means putting on my fancy pants!
I hope if Past Me were to read this, she’d understand. She knew having kids would change her life, and she also knew it would be worth every sacrifice. If she were sitting right here, I’d tell her I’m still me. I’d say that even though getting through a meal uninterrupted would be a serious luxury, this is something I was made to do. She’d be so thrilled, because she knows I’m blessed to be a mom.
What changed for you after you had kids? If you have a secret stash of mom jeans, do tell.