Motherhood Trials

10 Ways Having A Baby Made Me A Better Person

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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Smith Photography

So, I did exactly what I feared I’d do. I became a mommy blogger. See, that’s what happens when you grow life inside you and then give birth and have to raise that life. It becomes the most important thing in your world (aside from your spouse and your relationship with higher beings, perhaps) forever. There is no getting around it. No one has a baby and then stays the same. It just doesn’t happen. A baby changes everything. What I’ve discovered is that isn’t a bad thing.

10 Ways Having A Baby Made Me A Better Person

1. I swear less and sing more.

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Even though sometimes I want to say, “If I hear that song ONE MORE F*^&*@# time, I’m going to lose my s@%*!” Most of the time, those annoying Daniel Tiger songs come in handy when helping my kid not lose his s@%* in the middle of Target. You know, “When you’re feeling fruuuussstttteerraaaattteeeeedddd…” (Try not to finish that one in your head, I dare you.)

2. I have this incredible respect for single parents.

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If you’ve ever spent a week or more alone with your child(ren) with no back up and no one around to help, you understand this one more truly than if it’s only been for a day or two. Military Mommas: I salute you most feverishly!

3. I am more affectionate.

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Kisses, hugs, holding hands, light brushes of his white blonde hair, a note to my husband in his lunch thanking him for all he does, a morning of snuggling and tv, wearing my baby in a carrier to keep him close, and rocking him to sleep at night. Some days I feel touched out, but the next morning, I always look forward to those arms reaching up for me.

4. I value the span of an hour more than I ever thought possible.

IMG_4722Nap time? Golden time. Me time. Rare time. Quiet time. Sometimes, nap time for me! Those minutes are treasured and loved and over too soon some days. Other days, it feels like time passed me by without so much as a, “Hello!” before it was, “Goodbye!” It’s on these days I sit and write, trying to record what I want to remember when I’ve long forgotten.

5. I appreciate and recognize each day.

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No more working for the weekend. (Weekend? What’s that?) No more planning my life based on a few events a month. Every day is something new and a new opportunity to watch my kid learn and grow and change. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always valued. I do not, however, need to keep track of the days of the week anymore, for the most part. That’s kind of freeing in and of itself.

6. My laugh lines are deeper.

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If you spend an hour with a baby and don’t laugh or smile once, there’s something wrong with you. Kids are hilarious. The more mine talks, the funnier he is. Even when he was an infant, he’d fart or giggle in his sleep. Bam. Laughter. There is just an inexplicable joy that they have most of the time, and it’s so contagious.

7. Playing fills my soul with joy.

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Mommy truth time: I hate playing. I feel terrible at it. I never know what to say or what to do, but lately, my two year old demands it of me, “MOMMA! PLAY!” For the first five minutes of it, I fumble around and can only think in the back of my head what I could be getting done around the house while I sit there and awkwardly make Rex talk to Jesse about nothing in particular because (as I said) I suck at playing. However, if I let myself relax and just get silly with him, his laughter, his smile, his tiny way of saying, “Again?” to whatever antic I just performed, it all makes me fill with such deep seated joy. It’s good for my soul, and that makes me feel alive.

8. I am more patient.

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From the two weeks of painful latching while learning to breastfeed to the two years (oh, yes, I said it) of NOT sleeping through the night, motherhood has given me all kinds of experiences that have made me more patient. Recently, it’s been my child’s constant stream of, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!” that has been testing my resiliency. I’m sure it will be toddler tantrums next. Regardless, it has made me calmer and slower to act.

9. I am more empathetic and sympathetic.

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Maybe it’s all the Daniel Tiger, maybe it’s one of my best friend’s parenting techniques that has rubbed off on me, but I use feeling words a lot more now. I recognize how my child is feeling and give him the words to verbalize it. I validate his feelings. I don’t just look at a screaming toddler and think, “What is WRONG with that child?!” I think, “Poor kid. He must be tired. He must be having a hard time. How tough it must be to have so many feelings and no other way to express them?” I get down on my child’s level, give him a hug or look him in the eye, and tell him I know how he feels. The same thing works with adults.

Finally, the biggest one of all for me:

10. I respect and love my body the way it is, truly.

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You know who cared that I was about to walk a 5K? Not my hungry baby who wanted to nurse.

I have had body image issues my entire life. Growing up with a slew of female adults who were constantly trying to change their bodies didn’t help. Learning how to eat my feelings didn’t help. Acne as bad as the kind you see in the before photos on tv infomercials didn’t help either. Nor did my lack of fashion sense, sense of self, and subsequent lack of self-esteem or self-worth. I loathed exercise (except dance) and loathed healthy foods. (Vegetables? Those can’t taste good!)

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Photo Credit: RundWerks Photography

When I got pregnant, I had to reprogram my mindset, learn how to eat healthily, exercise regularly. Even though I ballooned like a whale, I loved my body. I was in awe of what it was doing. After giving birth, the respect I had for my body became unwavering. I had brought a human being into the world. I was nourishing that human being with my body, and only my body. How incredible is that? How could I hate my body after that? The stretch marks felt like badges of honor. I knew I was lucky to have had the experience I did. I began to exercise, take care of myself, not because I wanted to lose weight (for the first time in my life), but because I wanted to feel strong and capable and be better able to take care of my child, to have energy again! For the first time in my life, I’ve stuck with it. The number on the scale doesn’t matter to me anymore. I love my body the way it is, any way it is, because it’s capable and strong, and it’s mine.

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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Smith Photography

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

(Psalm 139:14)

So, there you have it. I’m a mom now and forever. The way I blog and what I blog about will never be the same, but I hope it improves now too, just as I have.

 

What would you add to my list? How has nourishing the lives of your little ones made you a better person?

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3 thoughts on “10 Ways Having A Baby Made Me A Better Person

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