Next week, I will have been a mother for 4 years.
The best 4 years of my life have transformed me in ways I’ve never imagined, here are a few of the more memorable ways:
- Sleep. I never appreciated sleep before becoming a mother. I could now bury my head under my pillow and sleep for days if my kids wouldn’t rip the covers off me and demand chocolate milk and an iPad. I wish I could time travel back to my 14-year-old self. The one who slept until 1pm on weekends and didn’t appreciate it. I would shake 14-year-old Joanna and say ENJOY EVERY FREAKING SECOND!
- Never say never. This is a big one. I remember being grossed out by my Aunt’s car when she had 2 little kids (Sorry Aunt Nan). I swore I would never have a car littered with Cheerios and Goldfish crackers. Today, I ate those words as I humbly tried to scrape the jelly filling from a munchkin off my minivan’s carpeting before taking it to the car wash. That’s right,my van is so filthy from the creatures that inhabit the back I have to clean it before getting it washed. I really knew I’d hit rock bottom when my 2-year-old found a Tootsie Pop (pretty sure it was unwrapped) while we were in the parking lot of my doctor’s office. Instead of immediately throwing it away and sanitizing her hands (like I would have done with my oldest when he was little), I shrugged my shoulders and let her have it while a wave of relief washed over me since she would now be occupied during my 45 minute appointment. At least she wouldn’t randomly steal the doctor’s apple and eat it in another room (true story, happened 2 weeks ago).
- Food. I also swore my kids would eat exactly what I ate for each meal and it would be healthy and organic. Somehow, I’ve turned into a short order cook with a very limited menu for 2 demanding customers: pasta and cheese, chicken nuggets and meatballs. So gross, but it’s better than them starving themselves on a hunger strike.
- Housekeeping. Once I quit my full-time job as a pharmaceutical sales rep when my oldest was born, I just knew I would keep an immaculate home and have a hot meal on the table for my husband every night. I think that has happened for a few days out of the past thousand or so, but HOLY CRAP it is hard! Keeping a clean house with a pre-schooler and a toddler is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. I’ve learned to not be so hard on myself, but it’s a constant juggling act to be a good mother/housekeeper/wife/cook/friend/family member. Sometimes you have to let a ball (or 2) drop.
- Judging others. I was the best mother before I actually became a mother. Then I realized that every single one of us face our own challenges daily. I honestly believe we moms are doing our best, so remember that next time you roll your eyes at the 3-year-old who freaks out in bakery while his mom tried to order his birthday cake (this may or may not have happened to me last week). I could have really used a hand carrying my groceries when my 2 and almost 4 year olds were throwing themselves on the ground in the parking lot.
- Priorities change. I used to be obsessed with my career before staying home with my kids. Having children and losing a close friend put everything into perspective for me. Life is about family and friends. Do your best every day and I believe everything else will fall into place.
- Love. The amount of love your heart is capable of is incredible. I vividly remember holding Jackson when he was only hours old, choking back tears when I realized this is how much my mom loved me. My love and appreciation for my husband and family has grown leaps and bounds in these short 4 years.
How have you changed since becoming a parent?