There is no denying that becoming a mother changes you, and it should. Any major milestone adjusts the way we see the world and ourselves. Becoming a teenager, graduating from college, getting married – all these things will change you in more ways than one. This growth is part of our journey through life and things would be pretty boring without it. However, there is something comforting about knowing that nothing will change the very core of who you are. That’s why I decided to think about how motherhood has NOT changed me.
1. I Did Not Lose My Identity
When I was pregnant, one of my co-workers gave me a warning. “Be careful you don’t lose your identity! Soon you will be a full-time mother and wife and that can take over your life.” Needless to say, I found that bit of advice pretty depressing. I’ve always been very independent and have enjoyed living where I want to live, doing what I want to do, and living life to the fullest in my own way. Was I going to become a nameless and sad woman cleaning and cooking all day with only memories of my former life?
No, most definitely not. I will say that my first year of being a mother, my entire life revolved around my baby. I didn’t have much “me time” and I didn’t do the things I love to do. But guess what? Having a baby was even better. Nursing her, watching her learn new things, making her laugh – nothing is more exciting than that. However, the first time I went to Target by myself, it felt good. I felt like me again! Driving alone in the car and singing to the radio was liberating. They were small things, but they felt great. I no longer have the same freedom or time, and sometimes it is a struggle to invest in my own hobbies and goals. However, it is important for mothers to pursue their dreams, take time for themselves, and not be afraid to put time and energy into their own happiness.
Tip: Wake up earlier than your children. I am not a morning person so this one has been tough for me but having some quiet alone time is wonderful. Just a few minutes can really soothe the soul and get you ready for a wonderful day of diapers, leg clinging, messes and giggles.
2. I Still Need My Friends (Even the Single and Childless Ones!)
Another thing I have noticed about parents is that they tend to move away from their childless friends once their little one enters the world. This separation can happen with single/married people too. Many people (myself included) have complained about one of the following:
- My friend got married but I’m single and now she just hangs out with her married friends!
- All our friends talk about is their BABY! Have they forgotten about the rest of the world?
- My friend only hangs out with her play-date friends now. I miss her.
- My friends don’t understand I can’t just do anything I want now that I have a baby.
It’s understandable that we tend to flock with those in the same situation as our own, but I think it is important to have a balance. Personally, I enjoy spending time with my childless friends even if it’s just a phone call. I need a break from talking about poop and nap time. Enjoy living vicariously through your single friends! Don’t dominate the conversation with endless stories about your precious baby. Ask them about their lives and then really listen. Carve out little pieces of time to spend with them. Your children will grow up one day and leave the nest, and you’ll appreciate all those friendships you nurtured during your parenting years.
3. I Still Shower Daily
It seems silly to me now, but I was so worried I would suddenly lose the motivation or time to shower when I became a mother. I have never been able to skip a shower or shower in the evening. I need to shower in the morning in order to feel good. But after hearing so many women say they got 2 showers a week if they were lucky or that it was next to impossible to find time to shower once they had children – I was concerned it would happen to me. It did not!
For me, it was important to still shower and dress in regular clothes every day. If it is important to you as well, here are some tips.
- Wake up a few minutes before the baby to shower. It can be rough when you’re sleep deprived, but you’ll feel so much better.
- Put your baby in a bouncer in the bathroom or right outside the door so you can see them while you shower.
- Use a waterproof sling to shower with your baby. They (might) love it!
- Shower when someone else is watching your baby.
Motherhood has changed me for the better but I will always be me. My favorite name is “Mommy” but I’m still Alisha.