Here is something that no one ever tells you before you have children…you will change. Yes, your body will change, yes your marriage may change and yes, your life will change, but I mean YOU as a person will change.
Before I had my daughter, I was definitely what you would call an introvert. I also lacked confidence, avoided conflict and spent much of my time second guessing every move. Don’t get me wrong, I still have moments where I experience all those same things, but I gained something from becoming a mother that I never expected.
Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation but I have never felt my emotions with the fierceness that I do now. I love more deeply, stand stronger in my beliefs, and exhibit a courageousness that I never had before motherhood. I am also more comfortable with myself. Sure, there are things that I am self-conscience about (probably more than I’d like to admit), but I show myself a little more grace and resolve to exhibit a little more determination.
As I watch my daughter grow, I remember a bit about what it is like to be a child. To see everything for the first time, to experience wonder and awe at what I consider to be mundane. I am envious of her self-confidence. She is bold, inquisitive and unapologetic. She hasn’t yet experienced a bully’s hurtful words or been influenced by what the media displays as beauty. She is authentic and fearless in the face of judgement.
When she was 7 months old I realized that she was way cooler than I will ever be. I watch now as she pulls on her Princess Sofia beanie cap (which she is inseparable from) while sitting on her training potty, fully clothed, in the living room and tells her dad about her day. While this image is completely ridiculous, I am sure that every parent has experienced many moments like this one. These are the memories that I cherish and the moments that create a family.
In these fleeting times, I am so grateful for her unencumbered enthusiasm for life. She knows who she is and she is not afraid to show it. I know that this will almost certainly change and likely sooner than I expect it. I wish that I could capture this moment and save for the coming years to share with her when she is hurt by a friend, bullied by a classmate or has her heart broken. I know that she will lose herself and then spend years trying to find who she is again.
We spend so much of our lives trying to fill others expectations of the perfect woman, wife and mother that we sometimes lose ourselves. But watching my daughter embrace who she is, even at this young age, and bound fearlessly into an unknown future has empowered me to try to emulate her attitude. Of the many things that I admire about her or that she has already taught me, the most important is this, you have to be true to yourself.
Sometimes motherhood leaves us feeling as if we lose our identity and become “just a mom.” But take some time to really observe your children, yes we watch them all the time, but I really look at what they have to teach us. You just may find yourself again.