I'm still the same person I was before kids. I didn't change. And if I keep repeating those sentiments, they'll eventually be true, right? When I first had kids, I didn't feel different. The only things that changed were an added responsibility and a new title of "mom." And for the longest time I was proud of myself for keeping my identity. But, in some ways, I was naive. Motherhood changes you forever, and I'm no exception to the rule. Turns out, kids aren't just another responsibility. They're your life. Sometimes, your entire life. So as much as I'd like to sit here and tell you all that my life does not revolve around my kids, I can't. Almost every decision I make is for and/or because of my children. Almost everything I do is for the little people who live in my house. So, of course I changed when I became a mother. And so have you.
You change the moment you're pregnant, in small, seemingly insignificant ways. You start being more cautious and you're more mindful of your actions. Then you change the moment you have your baby, when you start nourishing another life and singing that life to sleep. You change when you watch your baby roll over and crawl and, eventually, walk. You change when they get their first cold, fever, or rash. You change when your baby makes friends and, eventually, when someone hurts their feelings. You change with each step and with each milestone and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
So while I don't think you do, or should, lose every part of yourself to parenthood, or say goodbye to every other aspect of your identity that makes you who you are, I think we do change when we become mothers. We morph into stronger, more resilient humans. We become increasingly aware of all the dangers and injustices and inequalities of the world. And we're different in significant, and subtle, sometimes humorous ways, too. Like, for example, the following:
A few days ago, during a girl's night out, my friends and I spent a good portion of our evening discussing lice. Lice, you guys. Lice. For, like, 30 minutes we talked about preventative methods, battle stories, how to best handle an infestation, and the ridiculous stigma that surrounds lice. We talked about lice for so long that our heads were itching by the time we finished the conversation. Do you guys know what I talked about with my friends before I had children? I don't remember, but I would bet my life's savings lice never came up. Ever.
I have always chosen comfort over fashion. If I looked trendy, it was purely because somehow I found the unicorn of outfits: comfortable and fashionable. But what changed most about my wardrobe are the shoes. Heels have become a thing of the past; an old wistful memory. My shoes now range from warm boots, to sneakers, to ballet slippers, to flip flops. All flats. I do own a few pairs of heels, for special occasions and work, but other than that, I live in a flat world.
Instead of having the run-of-the-mill doctor's appointments and birthdays on my calendar, I now have my kids' friends' birthdays, my kids' doctor and dentist appointments, days off from school, school events, kids' activities, and kids' events. My calendar has never been so overflowing with appointments and commitments. On any given week, there are about three different events on my calendar I must be aware of. Life used to be so carefree. I didn't even need a planner before kids.
Before I say anything more, I'd like to really quickly say how amazed I am at the selection of entertainment for children. Like, OMG, kids can watch anything they want at any time now. I had, like, three cartoons I could choose from when I was a kid, but my kids know how to navigate Netflix better than most adults. In any case, the kids pretty much run the living room and we all sit together and watch animated movies and cartoons, and shows about trucks. The husband and I get to watch a little bit of "adult television" right before we fall asleep.
Also, can any mom still watch Law and Order: SVU anymore? Because I sure can't.
There's no longer the need, the desire, nor the time to do a full face of makeup, or a complete blowout of my hair, every single morning. I have mastered getting ready in under 20 minutes. I can shower, do my hair, and apply minimal makeup (if I feel like it) faster than my kids realize there's no ice cream left in he freezer. And that's fast, you guys.
A long time ago, in a life that seems like someone else's, I used to go out and stay out and not come home until the next morning. I spent my time frequenting parties, clubs, bars, and lounges. I'd go out to dinner without having to be responsible for anyone else's food but my own. It was a life I faintly remember; a life that no longer seems mine. Now, I spend my weekends driving little people to their activities, pumpkin picking, bouncy-castle party going, and making lunches so the little people don't starve.
I worry about if my kids get a nutritious breakfast and not if my bra matches my undies (although I guess I never really worried about that too much). I tend to the needs of my children more than anyone else's. I used to put my friends first, but now they come in third place. Some things that used to matter to me, now seem so insignificant, so superficial, and so materialistic. I prioritize rest, mental health, and time spent as a family over pretty much everything else.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.