Fill in the blank:
“Since having kids, I have lost ____.”
- My mind… ha ha. Really, I’ve lost the ability to care so much about what others think. Other people’s opinions do not matter as much to me as they did when I was younger. Now, the only opinions I truly take to heart are those of my husband, my kids and my close friends.
- Anxiety. If I was anxious about something before, I’m not now. I just don’t have the time or desire to use the energy on anxiety.
- The urge to apologize or make excuses. If I don’t want to do something, I’m not putting in the mental energy to craft a half-hearted excuse (ahem, lie) about why I cannot. I simply say, “Unfortunately, I cannot make it.” Nine times out of ten I would rather stay home stay home and put my kids to bed than socialize. When invited to social events, I have to really want to go and I don’t need to spin a web of lies to get out of an invite. “Sorry, I have a conflict” works just fine and my couch is calling me.
- The desire to make polite conversation. I can go tend to/talk to my kids if the conversation is not sparkling and I don’t need to put pressure on myself to keep the conversation going. “Oh, my kid needs me!” and I walk away.
- My sense of vanity. My girls love playing with make-up, but they never declare I should wear make-up every day. Weekend time means sunscreen and out the door. I like putting some effort in, but I don’t feel like it’s required.
- A little bit of judgement. There’s no one way to raise a child, I am living this experience of tailoring my parenting style to three different little people. How someone else raises their kid has no bearing on me, so I need to keep my opinions and judgement to myself. They’re probably thinking the same thing of me anyway.
- The hope of rock hard abs. I don’t think it was ever in the cards for me, but I also experienced diastasis recti during my twin pregnancy (separation of my outer most abdominal muscles, common in pregnancy) so there’s that.
“Since having kids, I have gained ____.”
- Fierceness! Don’t mess with this mama bear! If you come after my cubs, I will attack! I never thought I would be “that mom” who would yell at a stranger, but yeah, I’m that mom (if need be).
- Exceptional negotiating skills. Honestly, I don’t know how we ever leave a store without 1) buying everything the girls see or 2) dragging screaming/crying kids out, but somehow we always leave with calm kiddos. I have been known to say, “We’ll come back and visit the toys, where would you like to put it in the store so we know where to go? Do you want to give it a kiss good-bye?” I’m not a germophobe, obviously.
- Perspective and an understanding of my priorities. The experience of carrying twins to full term, then delivering one baby breech was life changing. What matters the most to me in life is glaringly obvious: the health and happiness of my family. Presently, I do not have the luxury of getting bratty or pissy about stuff not going my way because my little kids don’t understand. Whatever it is probably doesn’t matter anyway. The health and happiness of my family is my top priority. If something or someone is not jiving with my top priority, then I do not give it any more attention.
- Drive & passion. Having kids has helped me become the role model I want to be for them. I don’t want them to think the only thing I value is motherhood, it’s one of the things I love about my life, but there are other things I love as well.
- Amazing time management skills. I thought I was good about getting stuff done before have kids, but I manage to cook the vast majority of meals at home, clean the house (although there’s always more crumbs and dust gathering somewhere), work 40 hours a week outside of the home, start my third semester of college-level Spanish, blog, make time to see my friends, go on adults-only dates with my husband, and I’m working on a book… all while trying to get 10,000 steps in a day (not always a given). I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but “Toot toot!” I don’t have much patience for excuses, because if I want to get something accomplished, I’ll make the time to do it. *Also, none of this would be possible without the constant support and help from my husband.*
- Deep appreciation for helpful friends and strangers. Anyone who can put themselves in my shoes and see I need some help earns a gold star in my book. I am thankful when a dad offers to help me push my girls on the swings at the playground, and when a stranger offers her free sample at the local club store because I only have one treat, but three little kids. These are small kindnesses, but they are hugely helpful. I am incredibly thankful when friends come to visit for a weekend (with their kids too) and the house actually feels calmer because it’s another pair of helping hands to get everyone fed, changed, and out the door. Being helpful without having to ask or explain, but just doing what needs to be done means the world to me.
- A new appreciation for my husband. We don’t always parent the same, we play different games and we have our different comfort levels with the girls, but we are always on the same team. We are raising our family together which is something I could never envision, but here we are. It’s the greatest gain yet.
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