“Having a child changes everything.”
I lost count of how many times people told me that when I was pregnant. Indeed, I got more than a little sick of hearing it.
So I’m embarrassed to admit that now, whenever I’m chatting with an expectant mom, I somehow manage to throw that phrase into the conversation.
“Oh, having a child changes everything,” I say. “Even random little things you’d never expect.”
Case in point? These seven.
7 Unexpected Ways Becoming a Mom Changed Me
1. I’m not as prompt.
I used to live by the motto “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” What’s more, I didn’t really have a lot of patience for people who live by the motto “If you’re less than 10 minutes late, you’re on time.”
These days it’s a different story. I’m pretty pleased if I show up to a function within a few minutes of the official start time.
Because no matter how many minutes of “buffer time” I build in, inevitably my kid fills his diaper right as we’re walking out the door, or he wipes his snot on my shoulder when I’m wearing work clothes.
It’s a law of the universe, I think, that something gross has to happen the moment you think you’re ready to leave the house.
2. I judge fabric based on its resistance to spit up.
Years ago, in my pre-child days, I would choose a couch or armchair based solely on style and comfort. Does it look good in my house? Do I want to plop down in it? Those were the questions I asked.
Same goes for something like a sweater. Does it look nice on me? Does it feel good to wear?
Today I rate fabrics on a much different scale, ranging from “you’ll never see the sippy cup spills” to “every teaspoon of spit up will show.”
3. I eat dinner at the same time as senior citizens.
My husband and I used to sit down to dinner at 7:00pm. We’d get home from work around 6 and then take our time roasting, broiling, and baking an elaborate meal.
But now we’ve got a toddler with a 7:30pm bedtime, which must be proceeded by dinner, cleaning up sweet potatoes from the floor under the high chair, bath time, teeth brushing, book reading, and prayers. Meaning we need to eat dinner at the same time as the older-than-seventy crowd.
4. I drink coffee every. single. day.
Prior to having my son, coffee was a treat more so than a necessity. When I did have a cup, it was usually something fancy featuring the word “mocha” and swirled with enough sugar and milk that the coffee taste was barely detectable.
Coffee was fun, but I didn’t need caffeine the way I do now.
5. I drive better.
Confession: I used to be a speed demon. My foot was solid lead. I treated speed limits as nothing more than loose guidelines.
Becoming a mom changed that completely. Besides being extremely cautious when my son’s in the car, I’m also more careful when it’s just me (running a stop sign notwithstanding). While I understand that in many ways my fate is out of my control, I’ll still do what I can to make sure my son has his mom around as long as possible.
6. I use my smartphone constantly.
And not just for the camera.
I used to use my phone sparingly, preferring to hop on my laptop to send an email or read an article. But these days, the moment my laptop makes an appearance my toddler is drawn to it like a magnet. He simply can’t resist the temptation to see just how many keys he can push simultaneously.
So if a task can be completed on my phone, it will be.
7. My heart has quadrupled in size.
Ok, this one wasn’t exactly unexpected, more like overwhelmingly amazing.
Before you become a mom, you know you’re going to love your child. You know you’re going to experience a rush of devotion and commitment and adoration unlike anything you’ve ever felt before.
But even knowing that didn’t prepare me for what it was really going to feel like. The best way I can describe it is that my heart doubled, tripled, quadrupled in size to accommodate how much love I feel for my boy.
47 responses to “7 Unexpected Ways Becoming a Mom Changed Me”
I remember thinking about all the things that I WASN’T going to let happen to me! Like “losing myself to motherhood” (it does happen, but it’s more like finding yourself) and, the most unexpected: the showerless days and leaving the house without checking the mirror. Oh, the things the people at Target have seen…ugh.
Haha, I’m right there with you! I can’t believe I used to take a good 45 minutes to get ready to leave the house. I do NOT have that kind of time now.
How many days I can go without a shower has shocked me. Haha okay it’s not that bad… but it’s a little bad.
It’s amazing how things like showers become luxuries instead of necessities, haha.
I love this post Katie! I have to agree on all 7 things you have posted. When everyone said everything would change, I thought “Oh I know, but it will be okay.” And it is okay, but it’s no joke. Every.single.thing changed. 🙂 And now, I wouldn’t change THAT for the world!
AMEN! It’s a phenemenon you really can’t appreciate until it happens to you.
The lasting impact of hormone changes caught me by surprise. My mother-in-law explained that it takes one year postpartum for everything to balance.
Also, I never anticipated working on projects (a swing, a portable chalkboard, and more) with my m-i-l who is a loving gem and raised eight brilliant and humble children.
The hormone changes surprised me too, Wendy. I assumed I’d feel totally normal again much quicker than I did!
It’s like you’re inside my head! I relate to every single word in this post. Oh, how I would love to be on time for anything these days! Everything takes longer than I expect. Only difference? My poison (caffeine) of choice is Fountain Coke. Mmmm!
Nicole, I feel like we’re always on the same wavelength! I love it!
AWWW! This is so funny, so sweet, and so true! I totally eat at senior citizen hours, too! One day you can look forward to returning the old-fashioned fabrics, by the way! :)-Ashley
Being a parent made me smarter. I have
learned so much from my five kids that I
never would have known if I hadn’t had them. Older daughter loved dancing and taught me her dance team routines. Oldest son wanted to learn Japanese as part of his homeschooling so I learned alongside him. Younger daughter was very into 4-H so I became
a 4-H leader and so on with each of my children. My world would be very narrow without these wonderful people!
Holly, that’s so neat! I can’t wait to see what activities interest my son so that I can learn about them and become a part of them as well.
This post is funny and very true at the same time. And I agree with them all! One unexpected way a mom changed me is that I’ve come out of my shell so much, embraced community, and realized how important it is to have relationships with other moms who can share the ups and downs with you.
I too have found that becoming a mom has made me more social in many ways! I feel like I need the community in a way I didn’t before.
This is such a sweet, and true, post! I feel like having a kid has changed everything about my life, though not dramatically. I still feel like very much the same person just more amplified. Before I had Jack I told my mom that I already has so much love in my heart for my dogs that I didn’t know how I could fit anything else in, I thought my heart was going to explode. And essentially it grew to compensate and now it’s is just full at all times. I am feel so grateful and so fortunate on a regular basis, and that has been the biggest change for me.
“I still feel like very much the same person just more amplified.” This sentence really speaks to me!
I’m surprised at how much more empathetic it’s made me. Any time I hear about something bad happening to someone (no matter how old), I get so sad because I think, “But that’s someone’s baby!”
I think the exact same thing, Chelsea!
Oh my goodness, these are so true! We definitely now eat dinner really early, usually around 5 or 5:30. And the driving- yep!
Yes!! I used to be so prompt. Now..I’m often late. And Des has a tendency to fill his diaper when we’re leaving for preschool! I’m surprised at how often I use my smartphone in inventive ways. Like downloading and using a real-time Disney app that told of the rides’ wait times! That helped a lot!
I do drive better but I wish I didn’t vocalize how I felt about other drivers. My daughter has heard me say the most dreaded word in our house – “stupid.”
Yes to 4, 6, and 7 for sure! SO much more emotional now but I have gained empathy and compassion.
YES! I’m also a much more compassionate person now.
#7! You don’t realize how much love you have until you have a child and you would do anything for that child, even if it meant sacrificing yourself. I have a lot more compassion these days too. And I am late all the time.
Exactly, parenthood has made me realize my capacity to love is so much greater than I previously understood.
These are all universal! I was never ever late until I had kids. Now I’m lucky if I’m even closely to on time. And I look at anything white and say forget it! It’s not coming anywhere near my house.
I laughed when I read #3. Thought that was just me and my husband. We actually LOVE that we have to eat dinner with senior citizen crowd because one, it’s way less noisy; two, we never have to wait for a table; and three, we have the rest of our evening to ourselves after our son goes to bed around 7:30.
Love all these “discoveries”. So true, and many of them gave me a good chuckle.
You’re right, Marnie, I’m definitely thankful for the 7:30 bedtime because we need that evening time!
There’s truth in all of these! My differences are that I drank coffee before kids too and my house was MUCH neater before than it is now. I try but these three kids can make a room look like a tornado hit it in about 3 seconds!
I hear ya! There is no controlling the clutter in my house either.
Awww.. I love number seven! And I agree with all of them. Especially coffee! 🙂
We’ve aged out of a few of these (early dinners, stain resistant clothes), but the being late? I cannot STAND being late, and I almost always am. I never was before kids. But now I have to wait for them to be ready – it’s excruciating. And the daily coffee? A necessity for sure.
1, 3, 5 and 7 are totally me! Kids just change everything. But for the better.
This was fun to read, because I’m just like that too. Can’t remember the last time I really tasted a meal!
Great post Katie. I’m not a mom, but I know one with two little girls and your perspective reflects her lifestyle, especially now with two. I saw her in so much of your post and laughed recalling how, as a single, I pitch in to help with these two kids. Nobody else’s kids mean as much, so I’ve learned to roll with it as she tends to the kids’ needs before heading out. Now one of our treats is taking the toddler to Taco Bell for lunch. She’s a handful, but the experience is always unique.
A great synopsis of the way children change your whole perspective on life!
I can totally relate to number 4, before I had children I never drank coffee, now my brain won’t function in the morning until I have drunk a very large mug of black coffee.
When my two were very young, I was so unorganized that I battled to get the children to bed by ten o’clock. I did eventually get into a routine of getting them to bed by seven thirty, but it did require me to learn organizational skills!
I started getting up earlier and earlier just to have some time to myself while the baby was sleeping and without a toddler clinging to my leg and I still do that today even though the youngest is well past the clinging stage. Also, I cannot believe how I sometimes had to think about finding something to do at weekends – that has never been a problem since i had kids LOL
Awesome list, love and agree with every single point. Pass the coffee! Thanks for joining Ladies Only Blog Share!
I always thought the late thing was being of a rip in the time-space continuum between the front door and the van! I mean, we leave the house on time, but by the time I start the van we are ten minutes late! How does that happen!?!
[…] 7 Unexpected Ways Being A Mom Can Change You […]
well I was a mom part time because my girls lived with me most of the time-so how did it change things for me-well work early every day-school functions with the kids-hated school when I was young-.Church came into the picture also !!!!!!!!! Very cold but beautiful day here-all enjoy the sunshine today
[…] like the size of my heart (which quadrupled the moment my son was born) to little things like my much-earlier dinner time, life would never be the […]
[…] like the size of my heart (which quadrupled the moment my son was born) to little things like my much-earlier dinner time , life would never be the […]
I can agree with multiple of the things you listed, but one that really sticks out to me is learning that it isn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I used to look down on teenage girls who got pregnant and think they weren’t using their heads or didn’t care. I’m not a teen mom, I am 23 and have a 1 year old son but I look back on it and no girl/woman should be looked down upon for having a child when it’s under circumstances you don’t find suitable. If she is giving her all to stay and raise her child, and take care of all the babies needs, props to her. I’m very lucky to have his father with me who helps out A LOT, but many women aren’t as fortunate to have a reliable partner. Having my son made me see that you can’t assume a person’s situation, and that there needs to be much more love and understanding in this world. Rich or poor, everyone can give something away, whether it be a smile to a stranger, or donating baby products. I like to do both 🙂 Thank you my son, I love you so much!
Thank you for this lovely comment! Your perspective is a refreshingly compassionate one. 🙂
I can so relate to this! My coffee drinking has now joined the afternoon hours as well as the morning, NEVER can make it on time either and I too was the one who was irritated when people were late! Also agree with comments about the showers- Lol 🙂