How Becoming a Mom Has Made Me a Better Person

A couple of weeks ago, on my way to pick up Quinn from daycare, I stopped to get gas for my car. As I stood there, filling up the tank, I couldn’t help but notice my surroundings. I had stopped at this particular gas station a zillion times in the past, but the seemingly insignificant details of the setting caught my attention for some reason. I felt the warm sunshine on my back, birds chirping in the distance, and the smell of fresh bark mulch nearby. Of course, these things were by no means “new” experiences, but they stood out to me on this particular day.

Once I finished pumping my gas, I climbed back into my car and started to think about why these little details seemed so vivid to me. What about pumping gas on a sunny Thursday made me feel so alive and appreciative of my life? As I drove closer and closer to Quinn’s daycare, I literally felt my heart flutter with excitement. I hadn’t seen him since that morning, so couldn’t wait to wrap my arms around his little body and squeeze him tight. And then it hit me: My sweet boy is the reason why I was able to stop and smell the roses (uh, bark mulch) that afternoon. Slowing down and appreciating the little things in life is just one of many ways our little guy has made me a better mom and happier person. That said, here are some more ways I’ve changed for the better since becoming his mom.

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I’ve slowed down… a lot. As I mentioned above, Quinn has definitely made me slow down. Prior to his arrival, grass did not grow under my feet and my life was full-speed ALLTHETIME. I literally never stopped moving, both physically and mentally. For instance, even when I was “watching” television or taking Murphy for a walk, I was updating social media accounts or listening to a podcast. I was never just still. I actually didn’t realize how insane I lived until I wrote this post to Quinn right before his first birthday. I realized that I missed so much of his newborn days because I didn’t take a maternity leave (at all) or slow down one bit in order to enjoy our time together. This is truly one of the biggest regrets of my life, and it made me slow the heck down and enjoy my little boy. I always thought that slowing down would make me bored, but, honestly, it’s made me calmer and more satisfied with my life.

Even though I’ve slowed down, I’m much more productive. I quickly learned with a child, you need to prioritize your life, so I’ve adopted a “now or never” mentality when it comes to what I want to accomplish, which is especially important on my work days when Quinn is at daycare. I make epic to-do lists and cram a week’s worth of work into two days (and nights and weekends). It’s a lot and overwhelming at times, but when I’m finished for the day, I’m done. I slow down, relax, and enjoy my family.

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I take better care of myself – Having a flare with a baby/toddler is literally the worst thing ever, so I really try to take good care of myself… eating well, exercise, SLEEP. Related: I eat less junk food nowadays. Sure, our family enjoys treats from time-to-time, but we don’t typically have that type of stuff at home since we don’t want Quinn asking for it on a regular basis, which makes both Mal and me healthier eaters overall. For instance, if Quinn sees us eating  a “no-nut” (donut), he definitely wants some!

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I appreciate early mornings and early evenings and sleep better because of them – Quinn has always been an early riser. It’s like he’s programmed to wake up at the crack of dawn. But, I’ve actually learned to appreciate his early-morning wake-ups. Those hours are such a special time of day. It’s calm and quiet and, most of the time, they allow us to ease into our routine without rushing or stressing. And, bonus, when you’re awake at 5:15 AM, you’re totally exhausted by 9:00 PM, which means I don’t have too many issues falling asleep anymore. I’m definitely a happier person when I wake-up nowadays! 🙂

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I’m a kinder person – When I look at Quinn, I see a sweet, innocent, little boy, which makes me want to protect him from all of the terrible things in this world. I see the violence, senseless killing, bullying, etc. happening every day, and it makes me want to be a kinder person. I just feel so much more compassion, empathy, and patience when it comes to interacting with others, even the ones who intentionally hurt others– mostly because I know they are the ones who need it most. I just want to give them a big hug and tell them it’s going to be okay. And it really breaks my heart knowing some of them have children and they are the example for them. I just always want to be a kind and caring role model for Quinn and try my hardest to set a good example for him in my everyday life. Even the smallest gestures and good manners go a long way, and I know he picks up on everything that Mal and I do as parents. 

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I’m a better friend – Having a child (hell, even getting pregnant) changes your friendships, so you realize pretty quickly who your true friends are. Plus, when you have a child, you need to prioritize your social plans (i.e. babysitter, time), so I’ve become a much better friend with regard to keeping in touch and making plans with people who really matter to me.

Question of the Day

How have you changed for the better since becoming a mom/parent? 

40 Comments

  1. This is one of my most favorite posts you’ve ever written, and I’ve been with you since day one. Bravo! One thing I was surprised by, in terms of how motherhood has changed me: I have a much bigger heart to all living things. I’m SO sad over an animal that loses its life (think: roadkill), thinking of its mother. I didn’t see that change coming!

  2. This is truly amazing! I love this post. I would imagine if I had a child some of these would be true of me as well. I’m a workaholic and am constantly going. Slowing down is a good thing. It’s awesome how you’ve embraces it!

  3. This was lovely to read. I am not a mother yet but I hope to become a mother in the future. I especially loved what you said about slowing down and appreciating life because of Quinn. Thank you for sharing.

  4. My patience has increased ten-fold. I used to be go-go-go and now I slow down to enjoy my son, run in the grass and watch birds. It’s amazing how children change you in such a positive way.

  5. I can relate to every one of these! I have definitely slowed down since having our son. I also don’t worry as much if certain things around the house don’t get done. If something really needs to get done, it’ll get done; if not, it can wait. And if at the end of the day I’ve spent quality time with my family and everyone is happy, that’s what matters 🙂

  6. This was a beautiful post. I am expecting my first child, and you brought me to tears. I cannot wait to develop a relationship with my child the way you have with Quinn, and you have made me more excited about all of the positive changes coming into my life.

  7. One thing I’ve noticed is I’m much more sensitive and compassionate. Sometimes the sensitivity shows when I’m reading or watching the news and I’ve had to actually limit that. Its amazing how easily I cry now. (my son is 19 months so I can’t imagine its still hormones, lol) I’m also much more forth coming with giving people compliments (even strangers) or offering my help to someone. I want to set a good example for my son and what better way than to do those things in front of him.

    I’ve also been changing the way I treat my body. I want to live as long as humanly possible now that I am a mom. The thought of my son having a life without me brings me to tears. I’ve also started to change how I view my body….I’m always so critical about it, highlighting the bad parts of it in my mind and voicing it to my husband and I don’t want my son to do the same. So I’ve been trying really hard to always accept a compliment and to never complain about my body in front of him 🙂 There are other ways I’ve changed but I’ll stop here. Thank you for the great post, it really had me thinking about how I’ve changed for the better.

  8. This is a great post!

    I’m not a mom, but last year we got a puppy. While I understand dogs and humans are not the same 🙂 becoming a dog-mom has changed me as well.

    My pup is interested in everything. I love taking him for a hike, watching him notice birds or new smells, roll in the grass, or lay in the sun. I watch him enjoy those little things and it makes me stop to look around and enjoy them too.

    Training a puppy is hard work and it takes time and consistency. It’s helped me become more compassionate to other moms – canine or human – since I would not want to be judged based on a single snapshot. I try to remember this when I interact with other moms, we are all just trying our best!

  9. What a beautiful post! I need to learn to slow down a bit and appreciate time with my daughter. She also is up by 530 every day and I used to get angry that I couldn’t quietly start my day and relax but now I enjoy that special time we have alone before dad gets up.

  10. Thank you for this, I needed it. I have been putting off booking a family photo session for years. I finally sent an inquiry a few weeks back, but really struggled with booking a date for this fall. Mostly because I look in the mirror and I see things I don’t like. BUT, I keep trying to remind myself that the kids look at me and just see Mom. And I desperately want to document that. I want the kids to have some special pictures of me, happy, loving on them, so that they always remember me exactly how I was when they were little. So I bit the bullet and sent in my request dates with hopes that there are some dates left available from my very favorite photographer. I love being their Mom and a wife and I can’t wait to spend an afternoon getting some great pictures with my family <3

  11. I love this beautiful post and identify with so much of it as I’ve seen a few of my friends go through similar evolutions. I’m so glad you all are doing so well! Hugs xo

  12. What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing. I don’t have kids (yet), but this is a great reminder to appreciate the important things in life, like time with family & friends.

  13. I could not agree more! My son has put what really matters into perspective and made me a more compassionate person too. I am in a much happier place and less hard on myself. I am a better version of myself.

  14. I love this post! I wholeheartedly agree and relate. When my two year old stops to smell the flowers and note their color, I make sure I do it with her. When she wants me to hold her, I stop whatever it is I’m doing and hold her/watch “Guppies” with her/play with her, etc. I love the person she has helped me to become. She is the best <3

  15. All of this is so true! I love the last one though- you realize who you REALLY want to spend time with. We get a babysitter very seldom since we have family that will happily watch our Quinn. I don’t want to waste time on people I don’t really want to see, my 10 year high school reunion is next month we already have a baby sitter. I think we are just going to do a date night and not worry about going. I haven’t talked to many of them in 10 years so why now? I would much rather have a kid free dinner with my husband and get to have a moment with him!

    1. @Allison:

      I think that it’s somewhat sad that you wouldn’t want to see what people who used to be in your life are up to now. Why is it a “waste” to reconnect, share stories or maybe meet someone new?

  16. Oh wow, I love this post! Quinn is adorable I just love seeing his pics every day and Murphy of course <3

  17. I’m not even a Mom and I loved this post! Great reminders for all of us out there to be a little more present.

  18. This is by far, my personal favorite post that you’d written, So, incredibly heartfelt and as a new mom there is no truer statement that those tiny humans truly do change you, for the better.

  19. Why am I the only one who didn’t care for this post? You’re essentially saying people without children (by choice or not) will not evolve into better people as you have. I understand you’re giving a personal account of what you’re child has done for your personality, it just struck a chord with me as a childless individual, that I won’t necessarily “stop and smell the roses” according to you because I won’t appreciate them as much.

    1. @JRF:

      I agree. It’s great that having a child was what was required for YOU to slow down, be a better person, and realize the beauty in the world around you. I have nothing against expressing this feeling in a blog, but I just want to chime in to assure you that you can still be a fully compassionate, caring, loving human without reproducing. I am child-free by choice and do not need to be a parent to be a better human.

  20. This was such a lovely post! I am sitting here crying my eyes out (HI pregnancy hormones) because this is exactly how I feel as well. I have completely changed the way I look at things since I had my son almost 2 years ago and now that I am pregnant with number 2 I am feeling these emotions more than ever! I always try to see things from his point of view – the smallest things are just so intriguing to them and I love being able to experience things through his eyes 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

  21. I LOVE your letter to Quinn! So loving and honest! My LO is 11 weeks and it’s such an amazing blessed and so hard! I cry because how happy and blessed we are and I cry because I get so stressed and frustrated at times! Motherhood is a beautiful thing!

  22. I’ve been reading you for years and while I don’t have children I totally resonate with this post. Love it…love you and your family!

  23. Such a beautiful post, Tina. Thank you so much for that list. I totally agree. Along with one of your last bullets, I think I am kinder to myself. It’s OK to go to bed with a sink full of dishes if you’ve decided to spend the evening playing board games with your kids instead of doing the dishes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  24. Since becoming a mother, I have a more patience and perspective. It’s like you truly understand what matters. I also have a newfound respect for my parents. Lovely post! I totally agree on noticing the little things~I laugh now when I point out a robin, a plane, or the moon (even when I’m not with my son) since my little guy loves those things 😉

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