We all learn things about ourselves when we move into a new phase in our lives – and parenting is no different. I, of course, have learned a lot of “deep” things about myself – like the type of parent I actually am versus what I thought I would be, but I want to document the top 10 things that have REALLY surprised me about myself.
10. I really enjoy being a SAHM. I never planned to stay home – that decision caught me completely off-guard and made me uncomfortable at first. But I really, really love it! I love spending every day with Matthew and watching him learn new things. I love hanging out with him and talking to him all day long. I don’t miss much about work because we still get lots of adult interaction with daily activities – and he and I are constantly interacting. We’re best buds!
9. I am an incredibly patient mother. For those who know me IRL, I am not a patient person – at all. I am not patient with myself, with others, with gadgets, or with certain situations. But I am so patient with my child. Very little gets me riled up and even when that happens, I shake it off almost instantly and can laugh out loud about it.
8. I have no control over so many things. Being a control freak, this has surprised me a lot. However, I think our IF experience prepared me for the lack of control I have in motherhood. Sure, I can control our schedule (for the most part), what Matthew eats, etc., but I can’t control when/how he gets hurt, when he’s fussy, when he can’t sleep, etc. I accept this and welcome it. I wasn’t always this way – Matthew’s sleep caused me much distress before he was sleep trained (and B and I had many conversations about how Matthew was not a robot and couldn’t sleep on demand – and I needed to accept that) but once we got past that, the lack of control I have as his mother is a non-issue.
7. I handle stressful situations much better than I ever thought I would. Matthew has been hurt a few times (fell down the stairs, fell out of the car, almost broke his ankle, tried knocking out his teeth two days in a row) and each time, I have not freaked out and I have kept it together. When he started choking twice, I knew exactly what to do and did it, without hesitation. When he had his ear infection, I knew right away what the problem was and how to help him. The only time I really felt helpless was when he was having what we think was a night terror and there was nothing to do but wait it out (but it was so sad to watch).
6. I am not a yeller. I was raised by yellers – we were yelled at all the time. I worried this would become a trait of mine because it “runs in the family,” right? My sisters are both yellers and there were clues early on in my childhood that I wasn’t going to be, but I wasn’t a parent yet so I really had no idea if I would become one or not. I have not. Whew! The only times I have yelled are when Matthew is in danger (about to put a power cord in his mouth that’s plugged in).
5. I can function on very little sleep. I am a night owl – if I could stay up until midnight every night, I would. In fact, most nights, I do. I’m changing this now because it’s just not healthy – but I like being up at night and sure there are moments that I’m tired after only 6 hours of sleep, but I’m never flat-out exhausted. Even pregnant, I’m not exhausted at the end of the day.
4. I still love my cats as much as I always have. I expected this to change – because everyone told me it would. But it hasn’t. I still worry about my old girl, Lily (who is diabetic), every single day. I still obsess over her behavior and have actually become more regular at giving her her insulin twice a day. I am just as in-tune to her now as I’ve always been. I still snuggle with Jackson every night when I climb into bed (sorry, B!). He and I still snuggle periodically throughout the day while Matthew naps. I still make sure to seek out Janie who tends to enjoy time alone and not on our laps. When I seek her out for one-on-one time, we both enjoy it so much (she’s in my lap right now as I write this). My kitties are still my 3 little besties – I just now have a fourth bestie as well.
3. I hate putting Matthew to bed. This is not because he makes bedtime difficult (he does not), but because I just hate the idea of putting him to bed and not being able to play with him anymore. I struggle with this for every nap and every bedtime – and it’s caused me to be the primary problem in getting him to bed on time. We are fixing that this week – he needs more sleep and I need to stop standing in his way of it. But it makes me sad.
2. I am a softie. Sure, I have my rules and Matthew is good at following them – but when he wants another Cutie orange, I can’t say no. When he wants more milk, I always say yes. When he wants to drive around to look for school busses or holiday lights, I oblige. I like him to be happy, and I tend to go over the top sometimes.
1. I love, and I mean LOVE, whole milk! I always thought whole milk was gross (because I was told it was – HA!). I always thought it would be like drinking cream. It’s not. It’s divine. It’s wonderful. It’s the best stuff in the world! I love to finish Matthew’s cups of milk that the straw can’t reach anymore. I love pouring myself a little bit when he gets his cup of milk in the afternoon. I love sipping it from his cup, in an attempt to get him drink more. I just love it – and I love yogurt that is made from whole milk.
December 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm
Wow, it sounds like you’ve learned some REALLY positive things about yourself since becoming a mother. I have also learned a lot but I don’t feel like they are nearly as positive. I’m glad motherhood has been such a great experience for you. That is wonderful.
December 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm
I bet you’ve learned a lot of positive things – you just don’t recognize them because it’s you 😉 I had to think about it a bit to come up with this list.
December 5, 2012 at 5:43 am
What a fun list! I love all that you’ve learned about yourself. It’s so amazing to see how we change with parenthood. I envy your patience. I try my best and I think I do okay most days, but I definitely lose it sometimes. Especially now as they are becoming real toddlers with real (strong!) opinions!
December 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm
I could lose it tomorrow – we never know!
December 5, 2012 at 7:53 am
These are all wonderful things. I think #1 is pretty funny. I had the same impression of whole milk as you, and still do, b/c I haven’t brought myself to try it. We drink 1% otherwise. I’m so glad to hear becoming a SAHM was a smooth transition for you and that you love it. I’m really trying to figure out if I think I can do it or not. And I’ve totally noticed how calm you are in situations; I think that makes you a GREAT mom! And one that doesn’t yell? Even better! It’s nice to be in tune with how you’ve changed as a parent and give yourself a pat on the back every now and then. Hell, we all deserve it every day!
December 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Thanks, Steph – that’s really nice of you to say!
I will be curious to see what you end up doing. We knew I’d stay home after two kids because it just made sense – even if it wasn’t something I wanted to do. HA! I’m still shocked that I wanted to stay home this time – I was a work-loving gal 😉
December 5, 2012 at 8:11 am
This post is awesome. This should be a thing!
#10 – YES. I never once, in my ENTIRE life thought I would be a SAHM, let alone find it so utterly wonderful and fulfilling. I actually used to resent that I “had to take a year off” to stay home… and now, I never want to go back! WTF?!
#3 – You and BJB have this in common! He HATES putting HGB to bed because it breaks his heart! Then he has the longest face afterwards and goes in to visit him 2-3 times to just sit by his crib and look at him. Later on, when we are getting in bed, he always asks if he can go in and get him and let him sleep with us! So I guess he is a softie too! I’m like “OH GOOD. BEDTIME!” HA!
This was awesome to read. LOVE!
December 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm
You should make it a thing – I would love to read what you all have to write about this!
December 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm
Ooh ooh, I want to make this a thing too. I’m feeling all positive-y now (because I haven’t actually tried to come up with anything yet on my own – I’m just basking in the glow of your awesomeness)
December 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Well then. let’s DO IT. Courtney – make it a thing!
December 5, 2012 at 8:50 am
I read this post last night and didn’t have the energy to comment, but I agree with SRB this should be a thing. So much has changed in such a positive way for me. Things aren’t exactly how I envisioned them, but they are pretty darn good! I think I might just have to take this as an inspiration for a post….Yes, I’m a thief and I admit it!
This is a wonderful new perspective on how our lives have changed since becoming parents. Thank you for this….
PS and the whole milk thing…yeah we’re just starting it and I’ve totally snuck some sips here and there….it does taste like cream to me, but I LIKE it LOL
December 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm
You guys should make it a thing! It was fun writing it – you’d have fun with it too!
December 5, 2012 at 9:17 am
Love this!! It definitely sounds like you have learned so many positive thins about yourself on this journey through motherhood. I can relate to many of these as well and certainly feel like motherhood has changed me for the better (much better) and taught me sooo much!! Still not sure about whole milk 😛 And I do love my cats the same and love watching them with Alidia…. but my dogs are another story!!! Drive me nuts!!! Also, I am definitely much more patient than I expected but worry I could be a yeller in future. I sure hope not and have not yelled at Alidia yet but as a teenager?? We’ll see 😉
December 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm
My list is about today… I reserve the right to lose my patience as Matthew ages. HA! I’m sure there will be some yelling in this house!
December 5, 2012 at 9:21 am
Such a neat idea, I may have to copy it! Except my list would be the polar opposite of yours. 😉 Oh, but for number 6 (no yellers here either) and 10 because whole milk, WHO KNEW!? I love that stuff! It’s great that you have the patience… wish I could borrow some. 🙂
December 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm
Copy away! This all started with the whole milk thing – I am still amazed daily that I never knew how good it was. HA! It all flowed from there as I thought about what else I’ve learned. 😉
December 5, 2012 at 11:11 am
This is such a fun list. You’re a great Mom!!
December 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm
Thanks! Motherhood has mellowed me, that’s for sure! You should have met me before!
Hey – can you please let me know when you get that topper? I just want to make sure it got there!
December 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Sure thing – I didn’t make it to the PO earlier – will try to run there in a bit to check. I’m so excited to see it!
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December 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm
great list!! I’d have to think for a long time to come up with one, I think I was mellower before motherhood!
December 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm
You could come up with one quickly… I had to think on it for just a bit and then it all came crashing on me.
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December 11, 2012 at 11:08 am
Love this post. I learned #5 and #8 about myself, too, since becoming a mother. (And more stuff that just isn’t springing to my mind at the moment.)
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