Being a parent provides a person with so many feelings and thoughts that really can’t be adequately described. Having a child makes you feel love and compassion you didn’t know was possible. It makes you feel stress and worry you didn’t know what possible either! Of course, it changes your life in so many ways. Before I had my son, I spent a lot of time thinking about how my lifestyle would change, but wasn’t really prepared for all the ways my personality would change.
Pre-baby, my time was all mine. And it was glorious. I could go to happy hour after work if I wanted. Or just lie on the couch and watch TV. I could wait to do my laundry until the basket was overflowing. I could binge watch all the Netflix shows I wanted while lying in my cozy bed (alone!) I read at least a book per week. Meal planning involved picking something up on the way home from work-I ate a lot of pasta. I wasn’t known for being particularly punctual.
One of the hardest adjustments in becoming a mom for me was managing my time in a whole different way. Although I expected this to some degree, I was surprised at just how quickly things changed. I had a whole new timeline to my week and weekends. It suddenly seemed that I didn’t have time to do ANYTHING when I wanted and it was stressing me out. Especially after I returned to work from maternity leave…every spare second that I wasn’t at work seemed already accounted for. Besides caring for my baby, I had to pump breast milk, prepare bottles for the next day, drive around more than I had before, and do way more laundry than I had imagined. (Another thing I was not prepared for; who knew a baby went through so many outfits in a day?!) And when my son started eating real food, I added grocery shopping and meal planning to the list…two things I have never been particularly successful at before. Even taking a shower wasn’t spontaneous anymore. These changes were big, and took some time to get used to, even with a helpful husband and strong support system.
Although I sometimes have overwhelming days, and it took about two years, I now feel like I have things down for the most part. I have turned into a super-planning, fast-acting, domestic-task-completing machine- something I did not ever see myself becoming. I’m also usually on time now due to massive amounts of preparation and planning for everything (a fact that has surprised my friends!)
But, there is an unexpected side effect of all this planning and juggling things and caring for another human being. I have lost the ability to relax. I can no longer sit on the couch and veg out. Even when it’s nap time or a rare kid-free time, I still have trouble focusing on something fun or enjoyable. It’s usually cleaning, working, planning, or some other task I feel like I have to complete. While I know this is part of caring for someone more than you do yourself and hence part of the parenting gig, I find this new facet of myself fairly depressing. So, my new plan (ha) is to find a happy medium, to try to find some time for things that I used to enjoy. This advice is given often and hard to follow, but I know it’s essential to maintaining happiness as a mom.