I lost count of how many times people told me that when I was pregnant. Indeed, I got more than a little sick of hearing it.
So I’m embarrassed to admit that now, whenever I’m chatting with an expectant mom, I somehow manage to throw that phrase into the conversation.
“Oh, having a child changes everything,” I say. “Even random little things you’d never expect.”
Case in point? These seven.
7 Unexpected Ways Becoming a Mom Changed Me
1. I’m not as prompt.
I used to live by the motto “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” What’s more, I didn’t really have a lot of patience for people who live by the motto “If you’re less than 10 minutes late, you’re on time.”
These days it’s a different story. I’m pretty pleased if I show up to a function within a few minutes of the official start time.
Because no matter how many minutes of “buffer time” I build in, inevitably my kid fills his diaper right as we’re walking out the door, or he wipes his snot on my shoulder when I’m wearing work clothes.
It’s a law of the universe, I think, that something gross has to happen the moment you think you’re ready to leave the house.
2. I judge fabric based on its resistance to spit up.
Years ago, in my pre-child days, I would choose a couch or armchair based solely on style and comfort. Does it look good in my house? Do I want to plop down in it? Those were the questions I asked.
Same goes for something like a sweater. Does it look nice on me? Does it feel good to wear?
Today I rate fabrics on a much different scale, ranging from “you’ll never see the sippy cup spills” to “every teaspoon of spit up will show.”
3. I eat dinner at the same time as senior citizens.
My husband and I used to sit down to dinner at 7:00pm. We’d get home from work around 6 and then take our time roasting, broiling, and baking an elaborate meal.
But now we’ve got a toddler with a 7:30pm bedtime, which must be proceeded by dinner, cleaning up sweet potatoes from the floor under the high chair, bath time, teeth brushing, book reading, and prayers. Meaning we need to eat dinner at the same time as the older-than-seventy crowd.
4. I drink coffee every. single. day.
Prior to having my son, coffee was a treat more so than a necessity. When I did have a cup, it was usually something fancy featuring the word “mocha” and swirled with enough sugar and milk that the coffee taste was barely detectable.
Coffee was fun, but I didn’t need caffeine the way I do now.
5. I drive better.
Confession: I used to be a speed demon. My foot was solid lead. I treated speed limits as nothing more than loose guidelines.
Becoming a mom changed that completely. Besides being extremely cautious when my son’s in the car, I’m also more careful when it’s just me (running a stop sign notwithstanding). While I understand that in many ways my fate is out of my control, I’ll still do what I can to make sure my son has his mom around as long as possible.
6. I use my smartphone constantly.
And not just for the camera.
I used to use my phone sparingly, preferring to hop on my laptop to send an email or read an article. But these days, the moment my laptop makes an appearance my toddler is drawn to it like a magnet. He simply can’t resist the temptation to see just how many keys he can push simultaneously.
So if a task can be completed on my phone, it will be.
7. My heart has quadrupled in size.
Ok, this one wasn’t exactly unexpected, more like overwhelmingly amazing.
Before you become a mom, you know you’re going to love your child. You know you’re going to experience a rush of devotion and commitment and adoration unlike anything you’ve ever felt before.
But even knowing that didn’t prepare me for what it was really going to feel like. The best way I can describe it is that my heart doubled, tripled, quadrupled in size to accommodate how much love I feel for my boy.