Giulian is 11 months old and when they say having kids changes everything, they really aren't kidding. I often feel like people have a negative view on that statement though, like it changes your life in a bad way. Which I will admit, there are some things I do miss about my pre-baby life, but over-all (looking at the big picture), I think having Giulian has changed my life for the better. I truly feel like through being tested over the last 11 months, with it being the hardest time in my life thus-far, I have grown a ton from it and have become a better woman in return. When you become a parent, I believe you are gifted with this strong desire to be better, the best version of yourself. The thought of being a bad example for baby G stresses me out so bad. I want him to be proud of his parents, I want him to look at his mommy and say he's learned so much from me because of the woman that I am. I'm so driven to be better for that sweet little boy.
Being a stay at home mom means that while he is growing up he will spend more time with me than any other human on the planet. And since you are who you hang around most, I realize that Giulian is going to pick up a lot of my traits, habits, characteristics, both the good and the bad. This simple fact is what drives me to be better, because I know that he is like a little sponge, absorbing every little thing that I do and say. Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but it's also already been the most rewarding thing. He brings Nick and I so much joy, he forces us to stay strong when life gets tough, he reminds us to laugh every single day, and he reminds us what is truly important in life- family.
I have been making a list over the last few months of ways I think motherhood has made me a better woman and I thought it'd be fun to share it with y'all! I'm sure there are things that I have spaced and didn't put on the list, so if you can think of more ways motherhood makes you better please comment below, I'd love to hear.
1. Stronger Morning Routine
When you have an "alarm clock" that you cannot turn off, you are forced to make waking up super early part of your life. Giulian is quite the early bird, as I'm sure most babies are. If I sleep in until 6:30am, I wake up excited because I "slept in". Oh how perspectives change... Before Baby G, 8:00 seemed like a great time to wake up and start my day, I thought that was waking up early. Oh gosh, I just have to laugh at my pre-baby self. Well, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade right? (the lemons are waking up at 5 something most days haha). I've decided that it's not so bad to get a head start on the day. If I listen to my Bible app bright and early and then listen to a podcast while Giulian is eating breakfast then it's actually a perfect and productive way to start the day. Lately (since he can crawl now and is 100 times more difficult to watch) it hasn't been as easy to listen to things since Giulian doesn't peacefully sit in a baby swing anymore, but I'm still figuring out how to make my early mornings with him positive and productive. Not to mention enjoying that time with him, he is usually pretty sweet in the mornings.
2. Zero Time For Being Lazy
Okay, when I say zero I'm being extreme, no person is perfectly productive... but gosh it's nearly zero time. Having a baby makes you busy on a level you never knew existed. I think if the only thing on my plate was being a mom and a homemaker then I bet I'd find myself being a lot more "lazy" or flippant with my time, but those are just two of the like seven things on my plate so time is very important. There is another layer of this too, I want Giulian to see his parents as hard workers, I want him to see us valuing the time we have on this planet and not wasting it. I want to be an example for him that it's important to do what you say you will do, even when you don't feel like it. It all starts when he is young. Even though he's just a baby, I still believe he is learning more than we know. If mommy says she is going to go on a run, well mommy sure as heck better get her booty outside and hit the pavement. If mommy says she has x,y and z to get done this week, well I want to show Giulian that I will get it done. I never want the word lazy to be a word our kids could use to describe us. I'm grateful for him for giving me this drive. Before Giulian was born I could have been so much more productive and way more intentional with the time I had each day. I look back and think, seriously what on earth was I doing with my time? It makes me sick. But you know what, Giulian will never meet that version of his mommy.
Being a mother makes you self reflect a lot. I think about my habits more now, the good habits and the bad. I know that Giulian will pick up on everything that I do and it makes me more aware of my habits. I have a stronger drive to master my good habits. Even before being a mother, mastering healthy/positive habits was a goal I had for myself; I've valued the importance of growing as a person for over a decade now. Reading, eating healthy, working out, doing personal development, etc. were all things I did before baby G, but now it all carries more weight, I take it all a lot more seriously now that I am influencing a little's life. I want to be an amazing example for him, making sure I stay consistent over time with my healthy habits and making sure I always do what I say I will do (which is a whole habit in itself).
4. Better Body Image
Are there things I like less now about my body than before having Giulian? YES. My stretch marks and the saggy skin around my belly button are real life and things I'm not particularly crazy about. But to be honest, since becoming a mother overall I think about my body image less. I am less concerned with how I look all the time, I guess you could say I have more important things to worry about these days (like keeping my baby happy and healthy). I have almost no time to stand in front of the mirror and nitpick my body, I now throw an outfit on (maybe glance at it in the mirror) and run out the door. I still have a ways to go with being 100% comfortable in my own skin, but being a mom has made me more comfortable, confident and overall less insecure. Giving birth makes you realize how strong and powerful your mind and body is. I think being a mom, going through pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and raising a child makes you appreciate your body in a whole new way, you're proud of it on a level you didn't know before.
5. Better At Time Management
I've been forced to figure this out and I still have a lot more figuring it out to do. I have a lot on my plate and I wear many hats. I am a full time mom, I do the house chores (Nick does the kitty litter and takes the trash out and does the dishes maybe 5 times a year), I am training for a half-marathon, I run a blog (obviously the one you are reading), I started a media company and manage the social media accounts for two clients currently and am planning on taking on a few more clients, and on top of that of course I am a wife. I love all of the roles I play and being busy is a great thing. I love being busy and putting my head on the pillow at night knowing I did my best that day. But I must admit, trying to fit it all in without stressing has taken some getting used to. Nick and I agree that I will run in the mornings (we are flexible but this is usually what we do) after he goes to the gym. I count on Giulian taking two naps during the day so I can do my media management work, and at night when Giulian goes to sleep is typically when I work on my blog, finish up extra work, pick up the house, have sex (hey that's important!) and anything else I haven't gotten to throughout the day. My amazing mom helps me with the baby two days a week so I can work on everything which is such a blessing! But what I'm getting to is that I've had to play around with finding what works. It's great to be busy, and I do think you can be a mom and build a business, as long as you manage your time well. Almost every single moment of my day is working on one of those things listed above, not to mention reading the Bible, listening to podcasts to learn more about social media management, blogging, leadership, etc., and reading. Okay, of course I'm not perfect- when I am eating lunch or dinner while the baby is asleep I watch YouTube videos or American Idol, which is a nice little relaxing moment to unwind, but then after I'm done eating BOOM I'm back at it. I have a lot still to learn about managing my time and making the most of it, but I'm forced to get better and better in this area of my life thanks to becoming a mommy.
Overall I just love being a mom and I'm beyond grateful for what it has done in my life. The joy that Giulian brings to Nick and I is unmeasurable. It's taken so much getting used to, lots of "omg what did I do to my life" thoughts I must admit, but once you learn to adjust (which I'm still learning) you start to realize what a beautiful thing motherhood is. It's by far one of the most challenging things I've ever done, but in life the things that are most challenging are the things that force you to grow the most. Motherhood has forced me to change in a lot of ways, and I'm starting to realize and appreciate the woman I'm becoming because of it.