Recently an author friend of mine, working on a book proposal, asked me to answer the following question for her research: “How have you changed or grown since you became a mom?”
I pondered the question for about 24 hours and honestly, I couldn’t think of anything positive. In fact, I was hard pressed to name an area of my life that hadn’t taken a major hit since I became a mom. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, you name it: a big, fat punch to the gut! I’ve changed, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t feel like it’s for the better! The list of ways I’ve changed looked something like this:
- I didn’t consider myself very high maintenance to begin with, but I’ve been taking even worse care of myself lately. My eyebrows are bushy and I can’t remember the last time I cut my toenails.
- I still have 10 lbs of baby weight to lose – and my “baby” is 2. For the first year of both of my kids’ lives, I completely stopped exercising.
- I don’t have time to read much or devote a lot of energy to learning about anything that is going on outside the doors of my own house.
- My spiritual life has definitely suffered as I try to reimagine and refit former spiritual practices into my new life with kids. All of a sudden there is no such thing as a moment of silence.
- My relationship with my husband is more about the logistics of everyday life and wrangling two preschoolers than having fun, going on dates or being romantic.
- My social life is nearly non-existent if it doesn’t happen with other SAHMs between the hours of 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM or over Messenger on Facebook! I rarely leave my house after 8:00 PM and when I do, more often than not, it’s to go to the grocery store.
- I feel like a lot of times being a parent brings out the worst in me, actually: anger, frustration, lack of patience, yelling. My husband tells me he doesn’t remember me ever getting frustrated before I had kids – if you can believe that!
It strikes me, after contemplating this list, that being a mom is really about self-sacrifice. I’ve (and no doubt you’ve) sacrificed in just about every area of my life so that my little hooligans can have my time, love, energy and support. I wouldn’t trade it, or give them back, so that I can have arched eyebrows or a girls night out. (Those 10 lbs though . . . 😉 ) Instead, they get haircuts, time to run around in the park, books read to them every day, bedtime prayers, play dates and one on one time with Mommy and Daddy. What I’ve given up, they are reaping tenfold.
You and I, we’re in the trenches of self-sacrifice right now. Maybe it won’t be until it’s over and we look back, that we will really be able to see how we’ve grown. And often, it’s easier for someone on the outside to see your growth. My husband assures me that I have grown, so I’m going to have to take his word for it! I’d like to say I’m a more patient person, more giving, and that my heart grew three sizes during these years . . . but that’s yet to be determined! I’ll let you know when we’re on the other side!
In the meantime, let’s be each other’s eyes when we can’t see the forest for the trees! We should let our fellow moms in the trenches know the new things we see in them, and I’m not talking about the muffin top or the unwanted hair! When we see the growth in our mom friend, let’s not assume she knows it’s there! Let’s say something!
And just in case you haven’t heard it lately: You’re an amazing mom and your sacrifices are making a difference in the life of your child!!