There are many ways that having a baby changes you.
For example, it makes you look like a bag lady. This was an actual term that one of my colleagues used, as I wandered into work one chilly morning, bundled up in my Mum Parka and my Mum Trainers. The old me would not have done that. The old me had a chic, work-appropriate camel coat from Reiss.
The old me considered trainers to be permissible only when doing vigorous exercise. Walking to and from work is not vigorous exercise. Wearing trainers on the daily commute was a Crime of the utmost severity, especially if one had paired those trainers with a work outfit, with which they inevitably clashed. The new me positively revels in such an offence. The new me is thinking about how nice those trainers feel on my feet, as though they were encased in a lovely snuggly blanket with a joyful bounce, and is wondering why didn’t she discover the joys of wearing trainers until so late in life?
The old me wouldn’t countenance buying cheap make up. Cheap make up was the source of all life’s ills. Far better to spend £40 on face powder and assume that all cheaper substitutes were made of powdered lead and arsenic, if you knew it wasn’t likely to be thrown across the kitchen by a toddler. The new me recently bought a foundation for £3.99. It probably is made of powdered lead and arsenic, but, well, £3.99.
The old me was proud of her matching underwear, even if she rarely found an occasion to wear it together. The new me has discovered the joys of Giant Mummy Pants. Once you’ve worn a giant mummy pant, you can simply never go back.
However, amid all these other, arguably negative, changes, and the fact that I will now leave the house make up free without even giving it a second thought, and wellington boots have taken over from Jeffrey Campbell mega-platforms as the accessory du jour, there are other changes too, changes that go far beneath the surface.
And I’m not talking about being, as my mother points out euphemistically, a little bit more “womanly” in the stomach area. Although that, ladies and gentlemen, is also a thing.
I’m talking about the changes that you cannot see. The changes that are inside my head.
Yes, I have become, strange as it is to admit, a NICER PERSON.
This is not something that comes naturally to me. I am not a naturally positive person. I am a bit judgemental and have a tendency to look upon the proverbial glass as half empty.
However, suddenly I seem to find myself thinking that everyone is on their own journey, and perhaps I should walk a mile in their shoes before I judge. Even if those shoes are trainers, with a work outfit.
Suddenly I seem to be able to talk to people-any people-without secretly wondering if they know the difference between “your” and “you’re,” and hence can prove themselves worthy of my time and conversation.
Suddenly, I no longer stress over trivialities, or let other people’s opinions irritate me.
So, I recommend to you all my secret plan for self-improvement. The Secret, if you will. And it doesn’t involve writing positive affirmations on post-it notes and sticking them to the bathroom mirror, or reading terrible books with lengthy subtitles exclaiming things like Reclaim Your Inner Zen Goddess of Mindfulness and Reap the Rewards of Your Success by Influencing People to Love You as You Love Yourself.
The Secret is this: have a baby, and be a nicer person.*
You’re welcome (note I said YOU’RE).
*Or don’t. I’m sure you can be nice without having a baby. I can think of plenty of people who are. And like I said, I’m totally non-judgemental now, so who am I to make any kind of suggestion about how anyone should be living their life?
22 Comments Add yours
Interesting idea Min – motherhood as self-improvement technique… I think just getting older sometimes makes you (one) a better more tolerant, less judgemental person. I guess it depends on the person too – you know there are always people out there who give off maternal vibes long before they actually become a mum – the ones you go to for a cuddle. I don’t think they change that much when actual kids come along. Its all about priorities isn’t it? When your own priorities change and you kind of want other people to be more tolerant of you, then you become more tolerant of others. Thanks for linking up! 🙂 #thetruthabout
I think part of it is getting older, but I think for me, motherhood has been the thing that has made me grow up (and not before time!) You’re right, some people do give off that maternal vibe from a young age, but I certainly wasn’t one of them. Thanks for commenting!
Ah yes becoming a mother really does change us, in our priorities and in the time we take for ourselves. I didn’t have the maternal vibe until I needed it heh.
Me neither! Thanks for commenting.
I definitely have found that motherhood has made me care less about myself (in a good way). I guess I am not nearly as self-conscious as I used to, there’s something about labour that really stripped away a lot of my desire to control everything in life. Thanks for sharing!
I’m not either. It’s so funny and unexpected how it changes you!
This is brilliant. Your so right ( ?) . Pre-baby me was a judgy butthole. Especially about parenting. 18 months in and I (almost) never judge as the shoe will certainly be on the other foot just shortly
Me too. I look back now and I can’t believe how naive I was judging anything and everything. Thanks for commenting!
I think this is coupled with getting older too! I have to agree with you on most of this – especially the bag lady comment! #thetruthabout
I’m sure you’re right-I think I needed a baby to force me to act my age though! I’d probably still be trying to podium dance if it wasn’t for him.
I often think I’m glad ‘becoming Mum’ happened for me, after I’d done a whole lot of living. But, in a way, I was ready to switch the dancing shoes for the Ugg boots 😐
(Well, the dancing shoes do still come out on a v rare occasion, but the feet can handle them even less than they used to!).
Love. As always. (The post – not you, starting to feel like a total blog stalker ha ha)
Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub
Thank you! Yes, I feel the same way. I partied more than enough in my “youth” (two years ago), and I was more than ready to give up the nights out etc, but I was convinced that the shoes were staying. I clearly had no idea of the rigours of chasing a toddler.
I think I’m nicer, but I have less patience! I’m more emotional too. Comfort definitely comes before style these days. Thank you so much for linking up to #showandtell, I hope to see you again next week x x
Ditto! I even went out and bought some new “Mummy clothes” last week. Thanks for commenting!
See, I don’t know if I’ve actually become a nicer person after becoming a mother. I’ve definitely become a lot more patient with the way life pans out relating to baby but honestly I think I get more hacked off with everyone else!
Motherhood has definitely changed me a lot and I feel a lot more empathetic towards other mothers and children, but I think I’ve lost it otherwise.
I also think the ability to not procrastinate so much has also changed, but it only relates to household things – nothing actually useful!!
I now think maybe I was particularly intolerant before! I think I was quite naive in a lot of ways before having Piglet and it has taken me a while to mature. Thanks for commenting.
Great ending note. I am always comfort first even before pre-baby, but with style. Now-a-day though, style is expensive and so cheap comfort come first, plus a lot of patience dosage helps a lot too! Does that count towards being nice? I hope so. Because without it I would be a mad person! haha Thank you so much Min for linking with us again on #FabFridayPost x
Thanks for commenting! x
Agree, it definitely changes us. I don’t think I would know my pre-mummy self. I cant even remember what she was like to be honest. I think I slept more and had a lot more patience. And when I think of all that free time I had….. #FabFridayPost
I definitely wasted a lot of my pre-Mummy free time. Sometimes it took me 2 hours just to choose an outfit. I think I had less patience before children though, although I have definitely developed quite a lot of patience through years of being a teacher.
Lovely post. My eldest is 13 and I honestly can’t remember too well what it was like to not be a mum, but I’m sure I am a lot more patient now. You have to be, kids don’t work to adult schedules and babies certainly have no respect whatsoever for a well thought out outfit with matching accessories, they’ll throw up on anything!
They certainly do! Thanks for commenting.