Before I became a mom I was a pretty selfish person. I didn’t know it at the time but I do now. But I think everyone is like that before they have kids, I don’t think I was uncommonly selfish. I was just used to looking out for myself and my own needs and I cared more about myself than anyone else. Since becoming a mom a lot has changed for me and here are just a few ways that parenthood has changed me.
1. I have so much more patience.
I used to be so impatient about everything. I would get so frustrated if something didn’t happen when it was supposed to or if my plans changed all of a sudden or people were late. My time was valuable and there were just no excuses when other people would waste it or mess it up. I actually lost friends over my impatience. I would just get so mad that their time management skills weren’t as excellent as mine. My ability to put up with certain things wasn’t so great either. I used to be very unforgiving if people bailed on me or had to cancel at the last minute. I would think that they didn’t care about me. Now that I have kids I have learned to step outside of myself and think about other’s time. When you have kids things can get unpredictable real quick and you have to learn to roll with it. Plans change on a dime and friend time becomes almost nonexistent. You have to cancel on people so many times that you wonder if you’ll ever see your friends again. Your friends with kids do the same to you but you finally get to the place where you understand and don’t fault them for it. I’m still pretty good with time management, I’ve had to tweak it a little to accommodate the little people in my life now and every once in a while things get out of hand, but for the most part I’m still on time.
2. I see people as other people’s children.
Before I had kids I just saw people as other people. They were either there or not there if that makes sense. What I mean is they either had an affect on my life or they didn’t. I just saw acquaintances or people that I met as either useful or not useful. I didn’t care if I got to know them or not. Now that I’m a parent I’ve started to see others as someone who is important to somebody. I love my sons more than anything or anyone in this world. They are amazing, fantastic individuals. I don’t ever want to imagine them in a situation where someone would ignore them, or belittle them or hurt them. So why would I ever treat other people’s children that way? I have come to have more compassion for people because of this. I see more value in other people just because they exist, because they are someone’s babies. I know it sounds sad to think I had to become a parent to get to this place but that’s what it took. Now I’m nice to everyone, or at least I try to be. There are still some people that I just don’t like and that can’t be helped, but I still try to treat them as nicely as I can.
3. I’ve learned what’s important and what’s not.
This is a big one. I used to care about the stupidest things before I had kids. I used to care about making everyone happy by being who they wanted me to be. I used to care so much about what everyone thought about me. I used to care about how I looked or all the cool stuff I had or drama with coworkers. I used to care about how put together I looked or how right I was. Now I’ve realized that none of those things matter anymore. Having kids will put everything into perspective for you. Their needs and their growth becomes your main focus. Watching them learn new things and seeing their smiling face and knowing that you are their whole world just brushes all that other stuff completely away. Now that I have my boys I only care about what they want or need. I don’t care about making other people happy, they can make themselves happy. With my children I have only been myself and they love me just the way I am because I have shown them that I love them just they way they are. If no one else likes me then I don’t give a tiny rat’s ass. It’s really very freeing.
4. I don’t put up with other people’s crap anymore.
I used to have so many friendships that were really just me being dumped on. I would put so much effort into the friendship by being there when they needed someone to vent to or cry to. I would do nice things for them, show up at their events or do favors for them. They, however, would never reciprocate but I would still be friends with them because I felt like if they weren’t my friend no one would be. I sold myself short all the time. I cared about those people but they never really cared about me. They just liked my devotion more than they liked me. I know that a lot of that comes from codependency but having kids was the beginning of my realization of it. When I had my kids and I realized how completely helpless and dependent they were, it made me think of how much time I had wasted being there for grown adults who were just awful. I stopped being there for those people and it was no surprise that they quickly faded from my life, which was just fine.
5. I have a new appreciation for life.
Before I had kids I lived in my own little world where I was comfortable and I didn’t do anything I didn’t want to do and I didn’t try anything that I didn’t want to try and I just cared about nothing. Becoming a parent is in itself uncomfortable, more so for moms. You are suddenly thrust into a world of uncomfortableness and having to constantly do things you don’t want to do but there’s a catch. Once you put yourself into it you find that it’s the most exhilarating thing you’ve ever experienced. It turns your world completely around and you see things in a whole new way. You get to relive life in a sense but you see it through your child’s eyes. You try new things because you want them to have the experience, something fun to look back on. You learn new ways of doing things because they show you all the ways that their brain sees it being done. You feel a sense of purpose. You literally start to appreciate the little things that you always just took for granted.
There are many more ways that becoming a parent has changed me but those were the ones I thought were most important to me. What are some ways that becoming a parent has changed you?