10 Things That Changed Once I Became A Mom
Where Do I Begin...
I had a thought, what are 10 things I've had to change since becoming a parent? I had my first child at the tender age of 23 in 2014. I was terrified. I didn't know what I was going to do. I had a lot of fear and doubt and even some regret. What if I'm not good at this parenting thing. Ain't no refunds.
As soon as I got pregnant everything changed. I was so sick with morning sickness I had to constantly call off work and I eventually lost that job. I was unemployed for a couple months before finding a job at a daycare making minimum wage. It was better than nothing because I had bills to pay and refused to move back in with my mom. Eventually things smoothed out and I had pretty tolerable delivery.
Holding him in my arms and knowing I did that was priceless. But I was still scared. I had to take him home with me. And that's when everything changed and I experienced the unexpected. Here is just 10 (because there's definitely more) things I've had to change since being a parent.
- Newborns have rules and you better follow or ELSE.
I call it the newborn rules. No sleep. No shower. No time to eat. No me time. I made a post on Facebook playing off the rhyming scheme of Dr. Seuss lol. But anyway, I had no idea that I would have to be on some one else's time let alone a baby's.
I'm used to getting sleep, showering uninterrupted, and enjoying a meal without begging eyes. Those days are over. In the first 6 months I am getting at most 2-3 hours of sleep a day, rushing to take a shower sometimes not even getting to take one that day, not having time to eat, constantly rushing to the baby's every cry. I am like a walking zombie these days (he just turned 3 months so hopefully 3 more to go and I can get more sleep).
- It's no longer all about you sis
I was so use to only having myself to worry about and to think for. When you have children their life is in your hands and you have to do EVERYTHING for them. This includes feeding, clothing, bathing, carrying, holding, thinking and decision making. This is exhausting. A lot of times I have to slow down and remember I have a whole child that I need to think for and of. Those decisions will impact US for the rest of our lives so tread carefully.
- Becoming more patient and present
I always prided myself on being patient and tolerable but these children definitely test my gangsta. I've had to go back to the basics in elementary school, stop, breath and count to 10. Parenting is hard and frustrating and it's very easy to lose your temper over something so minute especially when also dealing with lack of sleep.
I have also learned to be more present with my children. I constantly feel like I'm in a whirlwind and always running late (I am a horrible procrastinator). In the midst of that I sometimes leave my child behind. I've had to intentionally tell myself to slow down and take advantage of every teachable moment. Be present and take this time to bond, get silly, show love. It seems like it should be automatic but when you're constantly on the go it can be difficult to balance.
- Treat each child as an individual
Boy o boy is this harder than it sounds. Every child is different. Each one of my children is different. They learn different, they love different, they express emotions differently. I have 4 now so I have to split myself 4 ways. What works for my son doesn't work for my daughters. What works for my oldest daughter doesn't for my youngest. My youngest daughter doesn't require extra help mentally but needs more discipline on not being a bully.
I see each of them as an individual and not a one size fits all. Some things are universal such as right from wrong, having manners and respect, and discipline. Every thing else has to be tailored to the individual so they can learn at their speed and highest potential.
- Having to think outside the box
I still struggle with this one, but every mistake is a lesson learned. You can't remain one track minded. There are multiple ideas and solutions, you just have to know where to look and ask the proper questions.
- Being more responsible
I've always been responsible with my money and paying bills like rent, utilities and a phone bill, but children are a whole separate bill and boy are they expensive. I not only have to take care of myself, I have to buy their clothes, shoes, food, and pay for the little activities we go out and do. I have to be a lookout keeping an eye on them at all times. I can't be lazy, I have to constantly work and keep up on ways to take care of them. I've had to come up with a schedule which is something I've never done but it has made life much easier.
- R.E.S.P.E.C.T goes both ways
This was easy because I remember how I felt as a child, unheard and not respected. I make an effort to listen and understand how each child feels, listen to them ramble about their day even when I don't want to or don't understand a word they're saying. Just being engaged makes them feel appreciated and seen.
I can admit when I'm wrong. I've told my children sorry when I was wrong. I have no problem with it, we all make mistakes. The bad thing is some people feel they shouldn't have to explain themselves or admit when they're wrong. Children don't care about pride. Just give them the respect they earn.
- Stop worrying about everybody else's opinions
This is how I know God is working on me. Everybody else's opinion of me and everything I did would matter so much it would give me anxiety. I've had to learn to weed out the negative that does not serve me and my children. I just need to do what I feel is best for us because nobody else knows because they're not there.
- Stop trying to follow other people's parenting style
I can get so caught up in people pleasing that I lose focus on who I am. That includes how I choose to parent. I didn't know anything when I had my first child just changing diapers and feeding. Now I see there is much more to this parenting thing and it has many layers. What works for somebody else doesn't always work for me. Some parents can let their baby cry for 30 minutes I can't, some parents practice religion, others don't discipline their child or do it a different way. We all have our own style and values that translate in how we decide to parent.
- I'm not perfect but I'm a damn good mom
Just accept it, nobody's perfect. We can just do the best we can with what we've got. I deal with negative doubts and feeling like I'm not doing enough. But that's not true, I'm doing just enough. My children are clean, healthy, no cavities, happy,polite, and liked by just about everybody. Some things are natural but others are learned and I'm doing a great job teaching them what they need to know.
So even in the feeling of failure, I just have to remind myself of all I do and the sacrifices I make. I am enough has been my mantra for 2019.
So there you have it, 10 things I've had to change since being a parent. It has been a tough journey and we're nowhere near done. That's ok I'm up for the challenge. Even though a lot has changed since 2014 and having my first child, I've come to appreciate the journey. I see now God is molding me into who I'm really meant to be. I've learned so much from my children and have come to appreciate and love them more each day.