This past month, my first born turned two years old. Naturally, this milestone made me reflect on many things from the past two years, but there was a surprising common theme – most of the things that have changed over the past two years have been in me.
I have spent the first part of motherhood focused on the milestones of my dear son – height, weight, head measurements, walking, talking, yadda – yadda – yadda; but I haven’t been as mindful about the milestone and changes that have been happening in me. Until now. Here are 5 positive changes that I have made in my first two years of motherhood.
- The hot mess express is not only acceptable, but a whole new standard.
I mean, this makes sense for most moms reading (I assume!), but that is not the way I lived my life before kids came along. Then: Two years ago, I prided myself in being on time, responding to all emails and text messages in a timely fashion, and going out in public in a presentable manner. I was more organized, on top of correspondence, and went out in public after making a good deal of effort on my appearance.Now: Boy, has that changed! Not only have I loosened my standards on all of those things, but I have also allowed myself some grace on falling short sometimes. I no longer worry about personal emails piling up da- to-day OR what others think I look like when out in public (to an extent).
- I am no longer the top invitee for a cool/wild night out or weekend away.
The acceptance of this change ebbs and flows, but I have started to settle into my new role in the life of my friends. Then: I was a good time for a wild and fun night out! I was the go-to person for the best and hippest Happy Hour spots in town and was always down for a good time. I was the first to sign up for weekends away and dropping everything for a new adventure. Now: Well, I’m a mom, so I’m obviously not always available to drop everything and go out for hours after work. My husband and I have allowed each other one night a week (looking at you TUESDAYS!!!), so I make the most of that night. Otherwise, I have accepted that I will be scrolling social media on any given morning and see evidence of an activity that I was not invited to. Even my best mom friends go out and do things without me, plan weekends away with their non-mom friends, and go crazy! I don’t get caught up in wishing I had been there, it just makes me savor and appreciate the nights out and weekends away even more.
- Saying “NO” makes me a better contributor.
Saying yes to some things, makes me a great contributor to those few “yes’s” I have given. Then: I would have said yes to almost everything that came my way: volunteering, non-profit boards, social activities and MORE. I was so actively involved that several areas of my life weren’t getting the best of me. I was definitely there contributing, but not being the best contributor I could be. Now: I can now say that it feels good to say “no” to things that I may want to do but just cannot give my best contribution to. Seeing that and recognizing that has been very freeing to me. This one took time, but my family and sanity mean more to me than my involvement outside the home.
- Parenting books have made me a better wife than parent.
Over the past two years, I have read a couple of parenting books. (Two of my favorites have been Grace Based Parenting and Triggers.) My son’s young age may have contributed a little bit to this, but these books have changed me more in relation to my marriage than my parenting. Then: I have been married for 8.5 years to my college sweetheart. We are best friends, but also opposites. Polar opposites. Before I became a mom, I took my relationship with my husband for granted. I actively and spoke selfishly most of the time and internalized feelings in an unhealthy way.Now: Watching my husband become a dad changed me forever. That happened instantly. What didn’t change instantly was my evolution as a more gracious and thankful spouse. When I set out to read about extending grace as a parent and identifying triggers in my children, I learned that I needed to extend these graces to myself and my husband. The way he parents and loves has made me a better person. The grace he has extended to me in my shortcomings has changed my life.
- Priorities have been defined for me.
Before I became a mom, I set priorities as I saw fit. There was a lot of selfishness there that I was able to have before, but not anymore. Then: Go anywhere, do anything, be whoever I wanted to be, say anything I wanted to say (this may not have changed much). Now: That little red-headed two year old human defined every priority I have ever known. Being his mom has put my life into perspective. He has shown me what unconditional love is here on earth. He has shown me that I will never have another priority more meaningful than loving him. He made me a mom, so yeah, I’d say that priority was defined for me.