Lifestyle

10 Ways Being a Mother Changes the Way You Look at Life

There aren’t many things in this world that will change a person as much as becoming a mother. Your whole perspective on life, the future and your goals shifts, and you find yourself in entirely unfamiliar territory. “Who is this new person, and where did the old one go?” you might find yourself wondering. How can one small human change another human so completely?

Whether your kids are babies or grown, whether you carried them in your womb or you carried them home in your arms with completed adoption papers, whether you met them at birth, or only met them when your future spouse introduced you to them, being a mom is one of the most amazing experiences in the world. There is truly nothing like it. Here are some of the ways being a mom changes the way you look at life.

You become less judgmental.

Flickr/Donnie Ray Jones
Flickr/Donnie Ray Jones

I had all kinds of hilarious fantasies about what motherhood would be like, and I recall with chagrin judging other women for their choices. My kids would always be clean and well dressed at all times. I would never raise my voice at my children. My house would always be immaculate. My baby would sleep in her own bed. I would not run my house like a restaurant, whatever I’m eating for dinner, my kids will eat. Toys will stay in the nursery at my house. My bathroom will never smell like a urinal. And, above all, I’m never going to go out in public looking and smelling like I just won a mud wrestling contest with two skunks and a rabid raccoon. Yup, I was a much better parent before I had kids, but as a parent, I am much less of a judgmental jerk, so it’s something of a trade-off.

All babies are suddenly your baby.

Flickr/Francisco Osorio
Flickr/Francisco Osorio

It doesn’t matter the age of the child or what they look like, when someone else’s kid is in danger, sick or really hurt, other moms feel it. I can’t count the number of times I cried for someone else’s child, for the pain another mom felt or for a struggle that wasn’t mine. Your capacity for empathy increases as a mom, and your heart breaks a lot more often than you ever thought it would.

The world becomes scarier.

Flickr/We Make Noise!
Flickr/We Make Noise!

Before you have kids, you never view something as innocuous and necessary as a toilet as a potential threat. Before you have kids, the stranger at the store who strikes up a conversation is probably just being polite. Afterwards, toilets become germ-laden drowning hazards that kids for some reason can’t keep their hands out of, and strangers of all types become possible kidnappers. You find yourself saying all kinds of crazy things like, “We should bubble wrap the coffee table. Just until she’s four,” or “Maybe we should start storing the sharp knives in the garage,”. You become way more paranoid than you ever thought possible or necessary.

Your capacity to tolerate disgust expands.

Flickr/Dean Johnson
Flickr/Dean Johnson

Before kids, the idea of handling human feces is gag-inducing. Afterwards, it’s still gross but you hold it together a lot better. In fact, having kids prepares you for all kinds of nasty things you never thought you could handle before. Vomit on the floor? I’ll get the mop. Poo on the blanket? Throw it in the wash. And just like this sweet granny, you can still love a baby after it poops all over you. Coincidentally, you also become best friends with Lysol and Purell.

You become concerned with the future of humanity.

Image courtesy of Eva Newcomb
Image courtesy of Eva Newcomb

Before I had kids, I was much more focused on myself and things that directly affected me. As a mom, you realize that one day you’ll be leaving your most precious possessions behind on this earth after you go, so you suddenly care about things you never gave a second thought to before. You care how the country is run, you care about international diplomacy and avoiding nuclear holocaust. You worry about things like the environment, toxins in plastic toys, or pesticides and what they might mean for the future of the bees. Seriously, if you could talk to your past self and tell her to start worrying about bees, she’d probably start wondering exactly when her future self is going to go crazy.

Your definition of “busy” changes.

Image courtesy of Catherine Nance
Image courtesy of Catherine Nance

Life shifts when children enter the picture. Things that took you an hour before are either completely cut out or vastly whittled down. Priorities change, and you no longer have time for the things that used to occupy all your time. Simple tasks take exponentially longer to complete because you keep having to get up to go change a diaper or deal with a mess. Your time is taken up enriching your childrens’ lives rather than your own, and projects get pushed to the side. As a mom you become an expert acrobat, learning to juggle both obligations and kids.

You become a more peaceful person.

Image courtesy of Caitlin Wyeth
Image courtesy of Caitlin Wyeth

Whether or not you were an in-your-face kind of person before your kids arrived on scene, your aggression tends to get toned down at least somewhat after the kids are born. You might still feel angry when someone cuts you off in traffic, but you can’t put your baby’s life at risk to chase down a driver while flipping the bird out the window. You might feel slighted when someone cuts in front of you in line, but you want to set a good example for your kids of how to be graceful in public, so you might curb the snarky remark on the tip of your tongue. You also long for the world at large to be a more peaceful place so that your child will be safer while you’re not around.

You become a more warlike person.

Image courtesy of JoAnna Grissom
Image courtesy of JoAnna Grissom

At the same time that you are wanting world peace, if someone messes with your kid, a whole new level of rage is achieved. Mama bear syndrome is real, y’all. Even if you never thought you could be capable of hating someone, if they hurt your child, oh, it’s on. There are no fiercer warriors than moms who sense a threat to their child.

Your understanding of love changes.

IMG_2106
Image courtesy of Michelle McManners

Before you have kids, you experience love completely differently. You love your parents and siblings, your best friends, your husband, and others fiercely. But having a child makes your heart feel like it will just burst. It’s completely different because this human is utterly defenseless and wholly dependent on you. When you become someone’s world like that, there’s no turning back. A lot of moms find themselves understanding and appreciating their own mother better. Amazingly, the expanded capacity to love never goes away, and only becomes greater with every child you have. Whether they’re yours biologically, adopted or step kids, there’s no love on earth like a mother’s love for her child.

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10 Ways Being a Mother Changes the Way You Look at Life