Having kids is intense. You think you know yourself pretty well, then a baby comes along and forces you to be more introspective than you've ever been in your entire, pre-baby life. You find yourself thinking about things you never contemplated before, forming opinions about things you never even knew existed. So, honestly, the things my son has unknowing taught me about myself shouldn't be all that surprising. After all, just his presence in my life has been a truly eye-opening experience.
Before I had kids, I was pretty confident that I knew myself fairly well. I thought I was all kinds of self-aware and, as a result, I was confident in where I stood on any given topic. Yeah, that was a little premature. My kid taught me that, ultimately, I wasn't self-aware at all. I had so much to learn about myself but, thanks to my kids, I've been going to school every day since I became a mother. It hasn't been a painless experience, but growth rarely is, right? Kids experience growing pains when their bones grow; parents experience growing pains when their self-awareness increases.
I've changed and learned so much in the almost five years I've been a mother; not just in the obvious ways, like how to tell if your kid is sick or if it's just teething, but in the, "Wow, I can't believe I never realized this [insert extremely profound thing here] about myself." It's kind of amazing when it isn't, truthfully, a little overwhelming. In the end and always, though, I'm so thankful for my son and the endless things he's teaching me about myself.
I'm More Patient Than I Ever Suspected
I've never been a very patient person, especially when it comes to other people. I get frustrated and snappy and b*tchy and rude and, I'm not gonna lie, it was a big concern when I got pregnant. I wasn't sure how I'd respond to having a little person as my constant, needy companion. I've surprised myself in a lot of ways, though.
Maybe it's different when it's your kid, but I'm way more patient with him than I even knew I was capable of being with damn near anyone.
I'm A Feminist
Honestly, I never considered myself a feminist before I had kids. I just didn't pay much attention to the inequality that exists, because I never really had to deal with it in a tangible way. In other words, I was oblivious. I worked in a female dominated industry so workplace inequality was never an issue for me and, as a result, I enjoyed the cozy, comfortable bubble I never stepped outside of.
Then I had sons and I realized there's a way I want my sons to behave. I want them to know and demand consent; I want them to fight against the inequalities that they would and do benefit from; I want them to, in the end, be proud feminists, too.
I'm Adaptable AF
Plans have to be flexible when you have little kids. In my opinion, you'd go insane if you got bent out of shape every time things went sideways because, well, things always go sideways.
I've always considered myself to be a pretty laid back human, I just never realized what a positive attribute that would be when I started dealing with babies and toddlers.
I Love Playing In The Rain
I've always loved the rain, especially in the summer. It's not exactly news that I dig it, but it's news that playing outside in the rain is one of the best things ever. You should totally try it (just not, you know, in the winter when it's freezing).
I'm Disorganized And I Should Probably Address It
Kids have so much stuff. The amount of things we've accumulated in our house since the birth of our boys is nothing short of astounding. It's not like we're out buying toys all the time, either; it's all the other ancillary stuff that you don't think about. Plates, cups, shoes, hoodies, tablets, paperwork; so much additional stuff to put away and organize.
I'm the least organized person pretty much ever, so our clutter problem has grown exponentially and I really need to address it. It was tolerable when it was just two people sharing a home, but now? Yeah, now it's a little bit (read: a lot) out of control.
I Don't Need To Be Afraid Of Everything Little Thing
I never would've thought there would be a time when I would consider eating dirt to be an acceptable pastime. You know what, though? It totally is. It's actually better than acceptable, in fact. As a new mom I was pretty damn afraid of anything that could possibly hurt my kid, but as my sons have grown I've realized that they're more resilient than I initially gave them credit for being. They're tough, they're capable, and I don't have to be afraid of things (like dirt). They got this, and I've got them when they inevitable fall.
I Will Gladly Do Without
I am way less materialistic than I realized. I will gladly do without new things I thought or think I need, in order to provide new things for my boys.
For example, new shoes used to be my jam, but not anymore. I haven't bought myself a pair of shoes in over a year. It just doesn't seem like much of a priority anymore.
I Can Function On Little-To-No Sleep
Not since college have I regularly survived on a severe lack of sleep. It truly is incredible that I can function on an acceptable level for an entire day. Before my boys, it was eight hours or I was useless. Now? Yeah, now I can have a solid five and I'll be good to go.
It's Possible To Love Someone So Much It Hurts
I love my boys so much that if I think about that love for too long, I cry. I feel it in my bones and in my belly. My soul aches for them when they aren't with me, and I truly have never experienced a love like that before. Motherhood is other-worldly, dear reader.
I'm A Great Mom
I know that it's "cool" to constantly share your #momfail post on Facebook or Twitter when your kid has a tantrum and you cave or you've only fed them something from the fridge for a week or whatever, but honestly? Well, honestly I think I'm a great mom. My kids are amazing, smart, polite, kind, and thoughtful, so I really must be doing something right.