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.
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.
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!
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! 🙂
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.
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?