There is, in fact, a ton that changed about me when I became a mom. For most of the year I felt that my whole being had been replaced with a "mom version" of myself. It was only a few months in that I started to look for pieces of my old self and found quite a few things that didn't change about me once I became a mom. It was a helpful touchstone when I'd start to slip into full-on "mom mode," to remember that certain parts of me hadn't changed at all. For example, my love for my husband, my desire to have a big, loud family, and even my need for my own space stuck around long after my daughter arrived. I may have become a mom overnight, but I was still myself down there somewhere.
The minute we met our daughter in the hospital, it was as though she was my single reason for living and immediately started consuming all of my thoughts. Sounds healthy, eh? Well, because we adopted her, and had six hours notice that she was arriving, I counted my singular focus on her as a major win. I never worried that I would bond with my future child, but it was hard to imagine it actually happening until it happened. When it did, I was relieved.
After a few months, I remarked to a friend that I thought I had adjusted to motherhood so well that I couldn't quite remember who I was before our daughter came along. I think that's a fairly common feeling among moms, and it spurred me to answer that question. Who was I before, and what are the things that haven't changed about me as a mom?
\How Much I Love My Partner
I still love my husband just as much as I did before I met our daughter. Actually, probably more on most days. He is still my best friend and confidante on a daily basis. We don't get nearly enough date nights, but we're working on changing that so we can continue to show each other how much we love each other, and remember what we were like as a couple before we became parents.
How Much I Need My Own Space
I've always been the type to need my own space. From the time I was a child, I enjoyed other kids but always needed a certain amount of alone time. As a mom, that's still one of my biggest needs. As hard as it was to leave my daughter at first, I found myself so refreshed to step away from my mom duties and just have peace and quiet and time in my brain to think and process.
How Much I Want More Kids
Within weeks after meeting our daughter, I already felt the pull to have more kids. Possibly because our foster/adoption agency had already started calling and asking if we could take more babies, but also because I knew in my heart there were more kids waiting to join our family.
My Need for Exercise
I'm lucky that my husband works in a school just a few blocks from our house and is able to come home every day at lunch. He watches our daughter while I zip over the gym (also very close) and exercise every day, which has without a doubt saved my sanity. There's nothing like zoning out on the elliptical while watching HGTV to refresh you to take on the rest of the day with a tiny human.
My Love Of Coffee (And Wine)
That shouldn't have surprised me, although some days it surprised me that I had the energy to stay awake through half a glass of wine and not fall asleep mid-sip.
That I Still Need A Clean House At The End Of The Day
Even if I'm running on fumes, I know how important it is to start my day with a clean slate. I've always been that way; my husband could wake up to a house that looks like a hurricane hit and just dive into the day. But that sort of greeting first thing in the morning on little-to-no sleep never worked for me before I became a mom (and certainly hasn't since).
That I Still Want To Do My Old Job And Use My Old Brain
I was the primary care giver for our daughter sort of by default (and until last week, actually, when she started at daycare), because I had worked from home as a writer for several years. During the first few months, it took me much longer to write an email, let alone an article, than it ever had.
However, that part of my brain was still there, and as time went on it itched to be used more and more. Mom brain may have taken over when she was born, but my old brain — and career ambition — was definitely under there waiting for the perfect opportunity to resurface.
That I Still Lose My Sh*t Sometimes
When I became a mom, I didn't magically have it all figured out and have myself all put together. No mom does, although there's an expectation that we have some kind of magic mom super power that allows them to figure it all out. That's just fiction, and I've found that as often as I lost my mind before I became a mom, that's about as often as I melt down as a mom. It would probably happen more often, what with the sleep deprivation and intense attention on keeping one tiny human alive, but I've also found raising a kid takes so much darn energy that I know taking a nap is a way better use of time.