I’m the younger of two siblings, so I didn’t spend a ton of time around babies when I was growing up. That transition to life after baby was always fairly foreign to me, but I assumed that there would be some major changes after the baby comes home, even if I was admittedly not super well-versed in what those changes might look like. The little sense of parenthood came from my own mom and dad, sitcoms, from watching my friends started having babies, and from paper towel commercials. I thought that I’d magically become part Home Economics instructor, part she-warrior, and that all the hormones would magically re-align my priorities, my personality, and my penchant to eat cheese for dinner. In short, I thought I would become a different person: I would become Mom™.
And to be honest, being pregnant made me a little nervous. Or rather, I was nervous about what would come after that: Was I going to feel different? Was I going to lose interest in things that had always been important to me? Was I going to start only caring about which brand of diapers had fewest chemicals, and which baby food processor was the most efficient?
The answer: Yes and no, depending on the day. Depending on the hour, sometimes. Deep down, I’ve been relieved at how much I’ve still felt like myself. I just have more responsibility, more things to think about, to worry about, and to love in my life now. I have less free time, but more moments to savor. It doesn’t feel like change so much as growth. Here’s what I’ve learned about how your pre-mom self can still be part of your mom-life:
You Will Not Automatically Stop Caring About Things You've Always Cared About, Like Current Events, Pop Culture, And Snack Foods
Thank goodness for this one, because otherwise I’m not sure what I would have done if I couldn’t have read boy band-themes listicles and watch streaming episodes of The Comeback while my son breastfed for what felt like 27 hours a day.
You Will Still Make Mistakes
Wouldn’t it be nice if all hints of clumsiness went away with motherhood? I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but my ability to consistently spill coffee grounds in the morning is still very much there, as is my special knack for staying up too late and scrolling through Chrissy Teigen's glorious Twitter account even though I know that my little will stir me at 5:45 a.m. Oops.
You Will Still Get Mad At Your Partner Over Unimportant Things
Motherhood is not a magic wand that allows you to swish and flick away your petty insecurities, but man, wouldn't it be nice if it was? A girl can dream. Even now, when my partner pushes one of my buttons, I still react accordingly by getting crabby and snappy like the mature adult that I now am.
You Will Still Have Your Personality
Believe it or not, the shift in priorities, internal organs during pregnancy, and bedroom furniture (to make room for the crib) didn't turn me into a completely different person. It only made me more inclined to stub my toes.
You Don’t Automatically Forget How to Dress Yourself
But...you might not have the energy or motivation to do it right. That said, my personal theory for the emergence of mom jeans is this: By the time you are ready to return to your pre-pregnancy clothes, you find that they are 1.5+ years old (at least). And because they’ve been boxed in your garage for that length of time, they now feel frumpy AF. But it's also not like you're going to go shopping anytime soon, so, mom jeans it is. Anyway, the point is, you still know how to dress, although having the spare time, energy, and money to actually do so might pose a legitimate problem.
You Will Still Have A Sense Of Humor, And It Will Be As Immature As It Always Was
In years past, I wasn’t sure how to react when I saw my friends holding back laughter while comforting their crying toddlers. Now I understand that it can actually be kinda funny when a tiny person walks into a screen door (once you know no one is hurt, of course. Actually, it's funny either way, but if the kid got hurt, you at least have to pretend it's not funny, which is definitely still will be.)
Your Other Relationships Will Still Matter To You
My nearest and dearest friends and family members are actually on my mind more than they realize. I’m not able to reach out as much as I used to, but I still check in creepily consistently via social media. What used to be phone calls and emails are now short texts and Facebook likes bestowed upon them while I’m breastfeeding, but at least this way they know that I’m alive, and vice versa.
You Can Still Find Ways To Take Care Of Yourself
During my pregnancy, I tried to psych myself up for the idea that my baby was going to require all of my love, attention, and energy. I thought that any need or want I had would have to be swept under the rug until the baby fell asleep (short-term) or went away to college (long-term). Thankfully, this was an extreme outlook that proved not to be true. Yes, I do skip more showers than I used to, and no, I don’t put on makeup or do my nails as often as before. But, I still find ways to do my self-care basics, like have my morning coffee, turn on my favorite music, and read my favorite blogs for staying in touch with the world. If I’d known this was possible, I’d have been a lot more relaxed during my pregnancy. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have been downright calm… at least until I went to my first birthing class.