How did becoming a parent change you? I’m inspired by this HuffPost article When Will I Feel Like Myself Again After Baby? The answer is NEVER. And I’m so glad because now i’m:
1) Patient. In ever area of my life now. Even though I was always patient with kids as a preschool teacher, postpartum doula, etc. You have never known patience like letting a small person put her shoes on by herself while you are late to a doctor’s appointment or waiting for a breastfed baby to poop after 5 days of no poop. Yes first there is anxiety- but then you realize it will kill you if you don’t let it go. And then you’ve learned patience. I realize it might have taken 2 years to get there.
2) Smarter. After the initial brain drain of pregnancy and postpartum and then the sleep deprivation, I got smarter. Smarter about priorities, common sense, time management, creatively making anything work out. I’m more emotionally intelligent because I have observed closely as the emotional intelligence of a young being grow steadily each day and I’ve figured out how to nurture that. I’m talking about smarts that actually count for living. Still I won’t pretend I’m not sad that I have lost species names memorization for marine invertebrates and the ability to solve for x.
3) More Spiritual. Even though I used to have time to meditate a lot. Now I congregate more with a spiritual community that my child is a part of- we know our higher power through our connection to other people because I desperately have needed the community. And that is a more real spirituality and when I tried to attain nirvana on my bed or in self help books. I have seen a person come to creation out of thin air. I have found love in my heart of a calibur I could not have fathomed. Spirit is about giving and receiving love and kindness but I couldn’t have told you that before becoming a parent.
4) More Ethical. Your ethics change when you no longer live for yourself. I have an example to set. What is my child hearing me say? What is she watching me do? What sort of planet am I leaving for her? How do we treat people? Living ethically used to seem confusing and challenging. Now it is has become second nature. What would you want your child to do?
5) More Self-Loving. Our children become us (even if they aren’t of our flesh). And one’s child is as worthy as worthy gets. Though self-care has gotten harder for me because of time constraints of parenthood, my drive for it is stronger than ever. I’m trying model self-esteem so my child can see how it is done. I stopped complaining about my big saggy boobs. They really make fabulous cuddle pillows.
6) More Present. I was always trying to escape that fancy and free young adult life I had. Drinking, weed, sex, (Okay I’m keeping the Rock and Roll!) and fiction and someone else’s drama- were all fun escapes. And yet now that life is more challenging than ever, my desire is to be more present to it and not less. Maybe because children grow up so fast and I know it. Maybe because the joy of watching a tiny person you love grow is higher than any high I had before. Okay maybe I still have some work to do putting down the iPhone more often. Nobody’s Perfect!
7) More Powerful. I am not so humble anymore. Many of us had bumpy roads to motherhood that showed us what we were really made of. Vunerabilities that brought in our true strengths. Multiple times in my very difficult pregnancy I though I would die. Maybe you had a traumatic birth? Maybe you had a terrible time conceiving but stuck with it or decided to adopt and now you are so trusting in that intuition that told you you must become a parent! And the baby is surviving while so dependent on you? Amazing. I brought a frikkin’ baby into the world. I had to get up the nerve to fire two disprespectful nurses in order to birth that kid while battling painful gallbladder attacks while in labor. I can do anything I set my mind to. I am beyond powerful and I walk around like that now. I own my strengths and I make the most of them and because I do that I can also share my weaknesses and I ask for help.
How did Parenthood Change You for the BETTER?