My fiancé Seth and I are in our early thirties and we live in Brooklyn, which means we have a ton of friends who are happily married with kids. Actually, they're less like "kids" and more like "very new and fragile babies who can immediately tell we're not sure how to hold them, even after receiving clear instructions from their parents." We love going over to our friends' houses to hear how parenthood is going and what it's like to have a child, and we always make a concerted effort to get better at the baby-holding stuff because we'd like to have a baby someday. But most of all, we love watching the people we know growing into their own versions of loving parents. And even though they're all using different parenting styles and methods, everyone tells us the same thing: parenthood changes you, but you're still the same person you were before your baby was born.
Romper partnered with Baby Dove to ask five women how motherhood has changed them, but also how it hasn't. Read on to see their responses, and consider that while parenthood changes a woman's life, it doesn't change who they are.
"I think being a mom has made me a better leader at work, where I am a Regional Sales Manager overseeing the state of Iowa. I have become more empathetic knowing that everyone has a tale to tell and that people may be going through different things at any given time. But I have continued to invest into myself so that I can invest back into everyone around me. I want my children to know that hard work will always pay off and they can absolutely achieve whatever they set their minds to."
"It's going to sound cheesy but since I've become a mom I'm the happiest I’ve ever been. My daughter really redefined happiness for me. Before she came along I was content and happy with my husband. I didn't feel like I was missing anything but then she arrived and it was like everything just came together! The tiniest smirk or giggle just fills us with joy. It doesn't take much to put a smile on our faces when it comes to something with our daughter. When it comes to things that haven't changed, it's hard to think of anything because everything is different. In such a good way!"
"Motherhood changes your timing of what YOU want to do. That's where I really feel the difference. For example, I'm currently overweight, and I think about working out, going on a jog or visiting a yoga class every 5 minutes of every day. I dream of it. It's easy, but I just can't go. I'm a mother who works full time. Not only are you tired all the time, but you don't have the time to do the things that you want to do when YOU want to do them. I've stayed the same post kiddo in a way I never thought I would. What makes me happy now, made me happy pre-kids. I love a mani-pedi with a glass of wine. I love watching the sunset from our roof. I love being successful at my job. I love making my husband laugh. I don't know why, but I had this idea that motherhood changes you into some alien from a distant planet. Nope, I'm still Katherine Bernadette Harkins whether I have a nugget by my side or if I decided to not have a kid."
"Motherhood has changed me in many ways, but I am much more aware of how much people judge moms, and how much societal pressure is put on them. We are always judged for something: working or not; breastfeeding or not; the favors you send to parties; the snacks you send for lunch; the amount of tv you let your child watch; having a screaming child in a restaurant... the list goes on and on. But I am still me. I still work full-time and I am also pursuing my doctorate in Educational Leadership. But I do it for my daughter. I want to let her know that she can do anything she sets her mind to. This weekend her dad was telling her 'Mommy is going to be a doctor.' She said, 'Mommy, doctor? Kennedy be doctor.' It made me tear up!"
"We got pregnant 6 weeks after marriage and had a premature baby in our arms eight months after getting married instead of 'our plan' of 7 years. Being thrown into motherhood at the age of 22 forced me to mature and gave me the ability to focus on others. The needs of my husband and children are forefront in my mind! That kind of selfless love is a gift to learn and live.
What hasn't changed for me is my entrepreneurial spirit and my drive. Even though I essentially started working from home right after Ella was born, I didn't let that put a damper on my abilities to further my career. I am a freelance graphic designer and a clean eating and lifestyle blogger. There's a ton to balance, but I wouldn't trade it for the world!"
"I never thought this would be my answer, but I have to admit that the biggest change motherhood has brought me, is looking at everyone as someone’s baby. If I see a person walking around, buying something at the store, acting on a TV show, or anything, I think “that was someone’s little baby” and know that someone endured sleepless nights, took care of them and loved them more than anything in the world. That is, on top of the obvious life changes like way less sleep, fewer nights out with friends and all that. It just makes me look at everyone with a different set of eyes.
What hasn’t changed is the ability to just be me. Some people may think “I need to dress more responsible because I’m a mom now” or something of that nature, but I honestly haven’t changed anything about my wardrobe or appearance due to the fact that I have a child now."