I feel safe to assume that we all know motherhood changes us. Even people that haven’t had their children yet and are still in the naive ‘I’d never do that as a parent!’ stage have enough information at their finger tips to know children change you. Even just a little. We all know our bodies change. Your core will never be the same. Don’t even mention the pelvic floor. It doesn’t matter how that baby exits it’s 9 month safe hold, one sneeze too many and there isn’t any amount of Tena lady that can save you. Many of the physical changes weren’t too much of a shock for me. What I was most surprised about were some of the changes in priorities. I don’t mean now the child is number 1 priority, that should go without saying. I mean the little things, the things that I used to think defined me, things I thought I needed and things I thought mattered were suddenly not the same.
Before children I used to try hard (although usually fail) to keep my social life buzzing. Although I worked late on Saturday nights if my friends were out you can bet your life I would be too. Even just for last orders.
Then there was local gossip. If I hadn’t heard about it then it probably wasn’t gossip worthy. That said I never passed it on, I wasn’t a blabber mouth. I was simply nosey and liked to have all this random information.
Having 15 possible changes of outfit to hand…. You know, just in case. Ok so I still sort of do this. I recently went to London with family. During the day I went off to get a couple of things and came back in a whole new outfit. I didn’t think much of it until my MIL pointed out that she has never been out with me and returned with me in the same outfit. Looks like it’s kinda my thang!
So now things have changed. My thought processes have changed and the things I put an important emphasis on have changed.
- Speed – I have always been a bit of a speed demon in every way. In all of my previous jobs I have always been one of the fastest walkers. Really I should have trained as a speed walker… I’d have had some seriously raw talent. But now I am a mum speed is even more important. I want all shoes on as quickly as possible before it turns into a circus and we are late, again! I want the washing dry as fast as possible because we are all rapidly running out of clothes….. How do we not have more? I want bath time over with because the end of the day is in sight. The faster I can get something done the chances are I may actually be able to tick of an extra job from my to-do list. It’s possible, right?
- Sleep – I’m not just talking toddler sleep, I need my sleep. My one piece of advice for my younger self is ‘Sleep is NOT for the weak!’ Seriously! Why didn’t I sleep when I had the chance? Everyone warned me but I didn’t believe them. It isn’t even like my two are bad sleepers, quite the opposite. But they do moan in their sleep and Trixie does often let out a few cries in her sleep. According to Hubby when this happens, even if I am ‘out of it’, my heart rate shoots up and my whole body tenses. That doesn’t sound like relaxing sleep to me.
- Coffee – I have always drunk far too much caffeine. I would love to say now I am a mother of two I have simply reacted in the only way I know how… To increase my intake. But the truth is I went off tea in both pregnancies and now two years later I still can’t drink tea. Oh yes, my kids even robbed me of that!
- Good Friends – I used to have many many people I considered friends. Now I have two very close friends and a couple of others I like to keep in touch with because they are very good company when we do get the chance to see each other. Yes I get lonely. Yes I would quite like some more friends. But I admit I would rather just have my two very good friends than twenty OK friends. These are the sort of friends that I can say anything to and they won’t judge. If I am having an off day they don’t take it personally. When I have an unsubtle brag about something they support me.
- My Marriage – Some people may say this is an obvious one but perhaps it isn’t considering the divorce rate in our country. Obviously my marriage was always important but it has a different emphasis now. We were married before kids and we will be married long after they have fled the nest (that’s the plan anyway). It is the biggest constant throughout this mayhem. Yes it requires work but it is a work that doesn’t revolve around the girls. It revolves around me and Hubby. It take my needs as woman into account and his needs as a man. Our marriage is a place where we aren’t just Mummy and Daddy. In the evenings when the preverbal sh*t has really hit the fan our marriage is our safe place, our haven.
Is It Just My Age?
It would be fair to argue that these changing priorities are the result of growing older, increasing responsibilities. Perhaps the need for more sleep is caused by the normal physiology of my ageing body, the diminishing ability to ‘bounce back’ from everything. Vicious rumour has it that things eventually head south even if you don’t have children. Logically the extent of my social life was always going to have to slow down at some point. If nothing else finances would have seen to that! But the truth is Motherhood has accelerated these priority changes.
And I don’t mind one bit.