Top 10 Things Motherhood Taught Me About Myself

Like any big life change, motherhood has taught me a lot about myself. Some things, I had a hunch about and some things I was a little more surprised about.

  1. I have a lot of screen time. Considering I watched every episode of Project Runway on Hulu in the first six weeks of our son’s life, I am not surprised by this realization. However, it wasn’t until our son became more alert and aware of things around him that I realized how much time I spend looking at my phone, doing something on the computer, and with the TV on. I do not want him to have a lot of screen time, especially not at this point in his life, and that has forced me to try and limit my screen time as well. Which is, honestly, not a bad thing!
  2. My organized self is a past memory. Maybe you are one of those moms who is just rocking motherhood, staying super organized, and is basically just a super-mom. If you are, that’s great. If you are not, then you can join my club. I used to be really organized and on top of things and I have just had to let that go. When our son was younger, there were some days when all I had accomplished was: 1) keeping him alive 2) doing 50% of the dishes. As someone who has historically performed at a high level of efficiency, this reality made me feel insufficient. Once I accepted that I just had to find a new norm and not hold myself to my pre-baby standard, I was able to get a handle on the chaos. Although, sometimes I still only accomplish the two points above.
  3. I really can function on very little sleep. Going into motherhood, I was dreading the sleep deprivation. And it was definitely not fun those first few weeks. But our son is now almost six months old, still wakes up 1-3 times per night, and I haven’t gotten eight straight hours of sleep in a long time. (Except for the 3 times our son has surprised us with that in the last six months.) However, I have learned that I can function and be a normal human person without a solid eight hours straight. I look forward to regular sleep again at some point (like in retirement), but this was ultimately not as big of an issue as I had anticipated.
  4. Motherhood can be very, very lonely. I was prepared for this, but given the circumstances surrounding my launch into motherhood, I was not prepared enough. I am pretty shy and introverted, so I already knew that getting out there and meeting other moms was going to be tough. Pair that with moving to a brand new city, embarking on a new job, and leaving all the new/expectant moms that I knew, and I had a very hard time finding new friends. I still feel pretty lonely in motherhood if I am honest. I’ve met some incredible people, but haven’t found my “core” group yet. I’m hopeful that this new year will bring about some new and strengthened relationships!
  5. I need some hobbies. When we moved to Philadelphia, we took some time to get settled. Slowly, we began coming back to life after the newborn stage became more manageable. My husband, the cutest super nerd I know, quickly looked into local comic book shops where he could play Magic The Gathering. (Like I said, adorable nerd moment.) At some point, my husband asked me if there was anything I wanted to do for myself, and I couldn’t think of anything. That’s not to say I don’t have hobbies, but they didn’t really involve active socialization. Probably the closest think I have is cycling, and I just wasn’t healed enough for that early on and now it is COLD. I quickly realized that I needed something for myself that wouldn’t tie my identity into just being a mother or just working. And I’m still working on finding out what that might be.
  6. My eating habits are not as great as I thought they were. Some of you are going to read this and do a full body eye roll. I’m gluten free, soy free, and vegetarian normally. Since having our son, I am now basically vegan and gluten free. (The struggle is real.) I do eat a lot of healthy foods, but I also eat chocolate more often than I would like to admit. And if I’m honest, I also eat potato chips more often than I should. I sometimes do a little too much “bad food” snacking and could do a better job at having healthy snack options around. After all, I’ve got a little guy who needs the best nutrition I can give him!
  7. Asking for (and accepting) help is hard for me. I definitely fall in the camp of doing things myself and that is just not feasible when you have kids. It really forces you to rely on other people, even if that only means your partner at first! When I was just recently postpartum, I couldn’t even sit down without assistance sometimes. It reminded me that it is okay to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak, in fact there is a kind of strength associated with recognizing when you need support. Now, if I can only get a little better at accepting help when it is offered!
  8. It is hard to not become obsessed with your kid. Before getting pregnant, I vowed that I would never be the kind of parent whose world revolved around their baby. Now, I am like the moon rotating around my little world day and night. I most certainly am not planning on making this a habit, but I was surprised at how easily I got sucked into this. (Granted, when your child is a baby and depends on you for literally everything, it is a somewhat different situation!) I have to actively work to not let our son be the center of my world, which means making time to grow my faith by spending time with God and focus on my marriage by spending time with my husband.
  9. I am really not good at resting or taking a moment for myself. I was already pretty bad at not doing a million things at once, but it has definitely gotten worse. That is partially because, as a stay at home mom AND working mom, I feel like there are always things I should be doing or tasks I didn’t get to yet. The laundry is never done, I don’t feel ahead on work projects, I haven’t done meal prep in forever, so forth and so on. But I’m learning that in order to give my son (and my husband for that matter!) what they need and deserve, I have to take care of myself. And sometimes that means not worrying about the sink full of dishes and taking a bath, or going to bed early even if I still have things to do.
  10. My goals now are not the same as they were before. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, it was like something switched in my mind. It’s not that I don’t have the same ambitions as before, but my perspective has changed. I still want to grow in my career, work for organizations that are having a positive impact in the world, and excel in everything I do. But, it is MORE important to me to be available as a mom and as a wife. Before, my work and career were secondary to my marriage (faith being #1 here), but not by a wide margin. Since finding out we had a baby on the way, the margin between my faith, marriage, focus on our son, and my career has shifted. My career is still very important, but the other things are just more important in a way that wasn’t the case before. My purpose has changed, and that’s okay! Just…different. But I feel passionate about ALL of my vocations in my life and grateful for each one.

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