We all know the entry of children into a life causes drastic and extreme changes. Some are very obvious and predictable. Some are complete surprises! Many changes are beautiful and welcomed, and there are some that we grudgingly accept because ‘it’s all worth it in the end’. You know what, it will always be worth it, but sometimes that’s just a fluffy answer to make ourselves feel better as we wage an internal battle debating if it is really worth it. Those days are ok to have and we always come to a positive conclusion! None of the things that happen to us as parents would make us regret the existence of our kids. At most, we will just log them in the ‘Things to Remind Our Children of for Eternity‘ part of our brain. Motherhood has changed me in so many ways and not even a million words would be enough to describe them all. So here’s a small list of the biggest changes.
Welcome to the most obvious changes incited by the presence of a kid. You would have guessed this would be the first thing I mentioned. However, us lucky Mum’s get really good practice at this ‘no-sleep’ thing before the baby is even born! From the womb, they’re already sucking our ability to sleep away. We spent a solid 20+ years mastering our sleeping skills, and then this new womb mate moves on in and just wants to party while busting out some weird interpretive dance moves in our tummies in the middle of the night. Once their born, you go through the expected lack of sleep. Sometimes, your baby will just never sleep (like my second child), and you have to pay a lot of money for a sleep expert to come and help you…although you would happily give your right kidney for some decent sleep. Other babies will settle in and bust out 13-14 hour long sleeps from 4 months old (like my first child). BUT then all of a sudden they’re like ‘Nah, I’m bored now with being an excellent sleeper. Time to fuck shit up’ and start waking up frequently in the night from 18 months old for another year and a half (also like my first child). I don’t know what’s worse? Knowing what beautiful sleep is like early on and then having it ripped away OR suffering through months and months of broken sleep to one day, finally, be able to sleep solidly again. I have done both, and I can’t decide.
Holy moly, do these cop a beating! Sure, before kids we dealt with our emotions being on a bit of a roller coaster, but this was reasonably predictable with each menstrual cycle. We knew when we would be up, we knew when we would be down and we knew when would be all over the place. But, go and get pregnant and your emotions are like turning on a blender but forgetting to put the lid on! SHIT HITS THE ROOF! Adverts about puppies make you cry. Someone breathing a way that is not to your liking will send rage through your veins. It is a mess. And whilst it does seem to settle down once the baby is out….hang on…does it? I’ll rephrase, once the child is born, and you’ve made it through the first 6 weeks zombie mode stage and seem to get a grip back on your life, things settle down a bit. But, speaking from personal experience, it does not take much to make a Mum cry. Any horrible news or situation we hear of, we instinctively imagine our children in the same scenario and then CUE WATERWORKS. We are SO sensitive. It’s like the baby flicked a ‘Sensitivity & Worry’ switch on their way down the birth canal. The worry is overwhelming enough, but add on the fact you know the worry will never ever stop and you’re way more than overwhelmed, your RIDICULOUSLY-WHELMED. Suddenly being responsible for another being’s health, feelings and life is huge, and it brings a whole truck load of feelings with it.
This one might seem a little left of field, but let me explain. Before kids, needles scared the crap out of me. I was embarrassed to get pap smears. Pop a baby in me, jab me with countless needles including an extremely long one that goes into my spine, and I have no quarrels with a quick jab anymore. And the amount of times I had someone else’s hands up ‘there’, as well as interesting devices…it’s changed me. I now just leave my dignity and modesty at the door. It’s easier that way. Words like ‘cervix’ and ‘mucous’ don’t bother me anymore. Hmmm. Actually, I still have a few issues with mucous. Ew. Speaking of ‘bodily fluids’, I’ve been shat on, weed on and spewed on numerous times by my kids and it just doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m so desensitized to it. Sure, I’m not going to happily bathe in it, but I’m not going to do a tap dance on the spot, freaking out about getting something on me (ok, I did it once!).
Things you once appreciated will shift. Your financial priorities will change, as you become more selfless and will pass on the dress you really want so you can buy nappies, or even a cute dress for your kid. And it’s not hard. It makes you happy doing it that way! I’m not sure some people understand this? They think having kids means ‘being less selfish’ and having to give up certain things. In short, yes you do. But, they’re not hard decisions to make. You don’t feel torn or sense a struggle. There’s no feeling of losing out. It’s what you want to do!
Your ‘couch priorities’ will be off the chart once you’ve had kids! Nights out are great and you’ll still opt for those opportunities. But you’ll be craving more and more nights on the couch, with your family, eating snacks and watching movies.
I look at myself before kids, back to when I could drink as much as I wanted and peacefully deal with the hangover or back to when I could take my time in all aspects of my life. It was an amazing time. Having kids doesn’t necessarily take my life to the next level of wonder and it certainly doesn’t make it more meaningful than those who don’t have children. It’s just a new chapter, a new life, filled with new adventures, feelings and experiences! There is so much growth and so many changes! Some are funny, some are serious and some make me really proud.