I worked in child care a lot before I had kids, so I felt like there weren’t a lot of surprises for me when I became a mom. I was used to taking care of anywhere from five infants to 14 preschoolers by myself, so the two kids I have now are a piece of cake, comparatively speaking. I knew all about the disgusting diapers, dealing with tantrums, and coming up with fun ways to entertain them. If you’ve done all of that stuff for other people’s kids, doing it for your own is no big deal.
Being a mother to my own kids is the best feeling. I was burnt out on taking care of other people’s kids after just a couple years of doing it. I liked (most) of the kids that I took care of, but it’s impossible to feel as strongly about a child when you’re just the daycare teacher. When you don’t love them with a mother’s love, those everyday tasks are harder to deal with. But taking care of my kids is the most life-giving thing that I do. Sure it’s still hard and I moan and complain about it all the time. But the rewards of watching them grow up and their little personalities develop is the best thing ever. I love training them in God’s word and teaching them how to live life.
But there are some things about becoming a mother that that working in child care could never have prepared me for.
Becoming a mother changed my body
This is probably the most obvious change that most people expect when they have a baby. While I was able to pretty much get back to my pre-baby weight without too much trouble, motherhood has still left its mark on me. Some parts of me are never going to look the way they once did, and that has been hard for me to accept.
I try to look at the changes in my body as a badge of honor, the battle scars of motherhood, but it’s still hard. Sometimes I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay for the blessing of having my children.
Becoming a mother changed my personality after having a baby
I’ve been shy and insecure all of my life. I’ve never been one to speak up in class or be the one to take charge in group projects. I’ve always worried too much about looking stupid or what people will think of me if I say or do the wrong thing.
Having a baby has really turned all that around for me and my personality has changed in a lot of ways. It’s still been a slow journey of growth – I didn’t wake up on day one of motherhood suddenly having all the confidence in the world. But becoming a mom somehow helped me to feel like a “real” grown up. When I had a baby, I was suddenly expected to make decisions with potentially serious consequences for this little human being. I had never been in charge of anything before, and now suddenly I was given the responsibility of another person’s whole life. Being a mom has given me the courage to speak up on behalf of my kids where I might have been too afraid to do so for myself. That speaking up has led to me having more leadership roles where I’m way out of my comfort zone, and that has only led to even more growth.
I’ve become much more confident and sure of my personality since having a baby. I like who I am. I don’t wait for people to talk to me and then mumble back answers. I go up and introduce myself to people that I don’t know in a group. I recently even had a speaking opportunity where I led a training for a ministry at our church, which is something I never would’ve had the guts to do a few years ago.
Becoming a mother changed me into a more selfless woman
I was a pretty selfish woman before I had kids. Let’s be honest, I still am. I’m pretty sure that’s something I’ll always struggle with. But becoming a mom has required me to deny myself and put others first in more ways that I ever thought possible. I’ve had to give up my body, independence, my money, my sleep, my free time, my time alone in the bathroom, and the last chocolate chip cookie when there’s only one left and my kids want it. I’ve really had to learn to become a more selfless woman since becoming a mother, and I’m grateful for that.
Becoming a mom has made me value community so much more
People have always been important to me, but I value relationships with other people even more now that I’ve had babies. I value my family so much more since becoming a mom. This is magnified by the fact that neither of our families live nearby, so the time we spend with them is more limited than we would like. I cherish every moment that my kids get to spend with their grandparents and aunts and uncles (but currently no cousins. AHEM.).
I place a lot more value in my friendships as well. As they say, raising a child takes a village. It’s always nice to have people to socialize with, but now that I’m a mom I need so much more from my relationships, especially since we don’t have family close by. I need people for support through this crazy parenting journey. Whether that’s comes in the form of some solid mom advice, a shoulder to cry on or someone to take my kids for the afternoon when I just can’t stand another minute of them climbing on me.
In other stages of my life, I’ve almost always had a built-in community where I naturally made friends. As a kid I had my classmates and church friends. In college I had my dorm mates and friends from various activities I participated in. But when we moved to a new city and I became a stay at home mom, suddenly I didn’t have anyone. I’ve had to work really hard to cultivate the community that I have now. I’ve had to reach out, have people over, and take the risk of having people reject me or not like me. Which has happened! But pursuing relationships is so worth it.
Becoming a mother has helped me to know God better
I’ve learned so much about God since I became a mom. I’ve always struggled with being consistent in studying the Bible, but my desire to train the girls up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6) has supercharged my efforts to learn more about God and His Word. I’m much more faithful in my study than I ever have been before. I’m so thankful for the opportunity that I’ve had to join a Bible Study Fellowship class with some amazing women who spur me on in my pursuit of Jesus.
I’ve also learned a lot about God just through parenting. I’ve come to a greater understanding of God’s love for me as his child, and that the depth of his love is deeper than I could possibly imagine. I love my children with the whole of my being, but God loves me far more than that. It’s incredible and humbling.
Being a mom has taught me how to work hard
I grew up a bit of a pansy. I worked hard in school and did my homework, but I didn’t do much to help out around the house and I never worked very much outside of school. As a result, my work ethic wasn’t the greatest in the early years of my adult life.
But becoming a mother has changed my personality in that way, too, especially since I’ve started blogging. Taking care of two kids is a full-time job by itself, so any of the other things that I want to do or accomplish, like blogging, have to be squeezed into the margins. I’m really thankful for a number of resources that have taught me how to work hard an manage my time well so that I can accomplish all of those things and still have the bandwidth to spend quality time with my girls and be their primary caregiver. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but I’ve never been more fulfilled, either.
Becoming a mother has taught me to depend on God
Being a mother is practically synonymous with worry and anxiety, and I’m no exception to that stereotype. I spend a lot of time worrying: worrying that I’m not a good enough mom for my kids, worrying that something will happen to my kids, worrying that I’m not making the best choices for them. I once heard someone say that having children is like suddenly having your heart live outside your body, and it’s so accurate. Sometimes I truly don’t know if I could continue living if something happened to my girls.
But that’s where God comes in. Being a mom has taught me that while I may not be able to protect my girls from every danger, God can. He loves them far more than I do, and He watches over them every moment of their lives. My daughters will live out all of the days that He has planned for them. I can safely rest in the knowledge of that promise, trusting that even if something does happen to them, it was in God’s plan.
Being a mother is the best feeling
Being a mother is the best feeling. Motherhood has changed my life in so many ways. Some things are amazing and others are incredibly challenging. But I’m so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a mom and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.