Saturday, October 16, 2010

Musings on Motherhood.

When I was a little girl, we had a next door neighbor (in our otherwise suburban neighborhood filled with families with children) who was childless. She was the quintessential single girl, and I looked up to her. (On a strange side note, I grew up to be the quintessential single girl in my neighborhood full of families, until D and I moved in together and procreated. Strange how things come back around, isn't it?!) Anyhow, her name was Susan, and she was awesome and fun, but the whole neighborhood always wondered when she'd "get married and settle down and have babies." While at the time I thought she must lead too exciting a life for all that, now sometimes I catch myself wondering the same thing about childless adults, particularly those who have been married for 5+ years and have yet to have a child, and (gasp!) aren't interested in children.

I 100% respect the life choices of others. I do charity work with the local civil liberties organization, Equality Texas, as well as participate as a host for a local fundraiser benefiting LGBT charities during the holiday season. I contribute money to the cause, vote on propositions dear to my heart - you name it, I stand in support of choice. Even despite my own personal experience with this issue, I am pro-choice to the end. So don't get me wrong that I'm making a statement against those who choose to not have children. But, lately, I've realized a few things, and I thought, given that I'm not feeling so hot and am curled up under a blanket on the couch while A naps, I'd muse publicly, seeing as how most of my recent posts have been picture-heavy but not too long on words :)

Being a mother has fundamentally changed me. I didn't realize how much this would be the case, claiming that being a nanny was similar. And while, in a lot of ways it can be, being a mother comes with a sense of community and selflessness that being a nanny and/or all the experience with children in the world never could. Let me explain.

Since having Ava, I find myself being much more cautious about my decisions. And I don't just mean decisions like where our money goes and what is a worthwhile purchase, though that's on the list of things that I consider more now, but little things like speeding through the yellow light and driving over the speed limit. While initially I thought the change to my driving was only when A was present and for her safety, I've noticed that I tend to be more cautious when alone now also, and in other situations. No little girl should be without her mother because of a careless, senseless mistake. My life may have been valuable to me and other people before, but now, it's priceless.

I also make every effort to consider the example I'm setting for her. Sure, she's too little to understand the reasoning behind my actions, but I like the thought of her observing me being kind to the homeless, giving money to the hungry, donating to the charity at the checkout line at HEB. Like I said, motherhood has fundamentally changed me. Being a parent has made me a better person, It's made ME - a person who has always been considerate of other children, who once upon a time worked for Child Protective Services to protect those who needed protection - be still more aware of the trials of others, to feel more protective of all children and feel empathy towards and aware of their pain. I am more interested in our HOA, caring more about what our neighborhood is like, and have a vested interest in the school and park systems in my city. While I'm not saying that childless individuals don't feel this sort of civil and communal obligation, I surely didn't feel it the way I do now pre-Ava.

In what ways do you feel parenthood has changed you, aside from the obvious sleep-deprivation and so on? Do you feel that there is truth to my musings, or are these just one person's observations?


  1. I didn't know you used to work for CPS, me too! I made it 18 months....

    Having Audrey has made me meaner (lol) I guess. I'm more aware of injustices both small and large and am more quick to act if I see an injustice occuring in everyday life. So I guess more mama-bear like?

  2. Motherhood has made me immune to crying kids. Seriously. I never thought I'd get to the point I could ignore concentrated screaming, but once Marianne hit 1 it was get used to OMG squealy or go nuts. Luckily for me she sleeps well, so I don't have too much sleep deprivation unless she has a bad night.

    I'd also say motherhood has made me less likely to sweat the small stuff...kid gets dirty, kid makes a mess or destroys's not a big deal. My kid is destruction prone, LOL.

  3. You are definitely not alone. One thing I've realized about myself is I have almost unlimited patience. I never thought I could handle as many things as I have in the last 10 months. It's amazing how motherhood reveals about your true depths as a person. :-)

  4. There is definitely truth to your musings! When I read "pregnant" on the stick, I was changed. I am A LOT more financially responsible. I'm just overall more responsible. I care more about my health than I ever did. Not that I always make the healthiest choices, but I'm much more aware and I want to be better. Jack has made me a better person and he makes me want to be better still.

    I was also a nanny and worked at a daycare. I did a lot of babysitting as well. You think you have an idea of what motherhood will be like based on those experiences, but it is completely different. There were a few kids I really loved and cared for. But that can't even compare to what I feel now. It's truly amazing! Sometimes I worried about how I'd be as a mother, depsite wanting to be one for so long. I had nothing to worry about! Jack makes it so easy and I am so lucky. You're lucky too and what's better is that you know you are! :)

  5. There are so many things that have changed with motherhood. I no longer care about being early to everything, I know I might just be there on time (or even late) now, and I'm ok with that. We operate on baby time here now and things happen to make us go slower and appreciate more. If there's something pretty to look at, we stop and talk about it... not caring that we were supposed to be somewhere 5 minutes earlier. It can wait.

    I also sing a lot again... I had stopped once my father had passed away. Now I'm constantly singing or humming something, and it feels great.

    I value my relationships more. Now that I know what it feels like to be a parent, I appreciate how MY parents felt about me as a child. I understand why they placed rules and restrictions on me (not that I was a bad kid... I was seriously VERY easy on them, especially opposed to my sister lol).

    I also want us all to be healthier and am feeding us better (more veggies and fruit, less fat, less sugar, more organic foods...etc). Nic and I both are trying to be healthier parents so that we're around for as long as we can be! We don't want to miss anything!

    I feel a lot of what you wrote about, I'm glad I'm not the only one! :)

  6. Good for you! I do not yet have children, and it saddens me to see most of the young mothers in my life become so caught up in their children that they don't care about anyone else. All that matters is that they live in the nice neighborhood where they have good schools and don't have to worry about crime.

    It makes me really happy to see that motherhood has extended your care of both yourself and others!

    And on a somewhat amusing note, I have been married for 2 years without "trying" for a child in any form, and I still cannot understand married women who don't want children.


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