The fact that I'm having another baby soon has made me more contemplative and self-reflective lately. I realized that being a mom has changed me in a lot of ways, some good, some bad, and some I have yet to digest. But I figure I would write down some of my thoughts of how I changed personally BEFORE baby #3 comes, so I can have a point of comparison for later on. :)
Being a mom of one -
1. I became more environmentally-conscious, esp as I take out a bag of diapers every other day to be disposed of in the landfills. [Note: Totally a personal conviction that I only applied to myself.] And when Aidan started chewing everything, I started to think about the chemicals I cleaned with and started researching more natural ways of cleaning, as well.
2. I was a nap-nazi! :) Almost everything revolved around whether Aidan could take a good nap or not. I got annoyed when he didn't get a good nap or when circumstances prevented him from even having one. My main thought was that if he didn't nap well, MY day didn't go well because he was grumpy or fussy. A valid point but I think in retrospect, it prevented me from doing some things that I wish I could've done. I did have days that were just for me when I got to do things when I wanted to regardless of his nap schedule but on other days, his naps took precedence. Thank goodness he had a pretty good schedule, so I did go out when he was supposed to be awake! :)
3. I made charts and list of when he hit his milestones - our calendar was covered with what Aidan did. :) I also had a mega chart of when he slept, how long he slept, when he ate, how often he poo'd/pee'd til he was about ONE - it was a masterpiece! LOL!
4. I discovered how much I could care for someone I had only known for a bit. :)
5. Because Aidan was such an easy-going and happy baby AND I did a modified version of Babywise with him, I totally believed in the Babywise method and touted it to anyone that asked. I had no idea that it doesn't work with every baby. Oops. ;)
6. I took advice from trusted sources pretty seriously and tried to do everything by the book - giving veggies first, tummy time everyday, baby sign language, blah, blah. But, thank goodness, early on, I had people in my life who were moms of many kids give me advice as well - this helped broaden my thinking a bit at the time. :)
7. I learned how important it is to still have 'couple time', even though taking care of Aidan took up a lot of time. We went out on our first date within 2 weeks of him being born. Having in-laws 7 minutes away really helped! :) Even so, sometimes we would forget and months would pass before we would go on another date...
Being a mom of two-
1. Naps are still important but now that I have 2 schedules to contend with, I realized that Jana would be ok even if the naps were interrupted sometimes. I also try to schedule their naps together, so that I would have some 'peace and quiet' time for me - and those weren't exactly the times that they were super sleepy. :P What they say is true, parenting became more relaxed for me (though I thought I was pretty relaxed before...;)). Maybe the fact that less things are in my control that made me decide to be more relaxed! :D
2. I did the modified Babywise method with Jana, as well, but she didn't sleep through the night as early as Aidan did. New conclusion: This method doesn't work the same with every baby. :)
3. Cloth diapering and being more 'natural' became more fun! Girly diapers are like girly clothes - so much more to choose from and more fun prints! :)
4. We tried to record all the milestones for Jana, as well, but started falling behind when the busyness of just taking care of the kiddies took over!
5. Jana didn't love solids, so I ended up giving her fruits first *gasp* - but she turned out to eat a bigger variety of foods than Aidan..hehe.
6. I started to understand what my priorities were and tried to manage my time better, esp with 2 vying for my attention. I also knew that I needed something other than mothering in my life as an outlet of sorts. So I joined the condo association board in my neighborhood for a start. Still trying to revive my interests and make time for those.
7. I continued to be more open-minded about how others parent and learn from the moms that I'm friends with but are so different from me. I also learned to take things less personally, esp when others make comments about my style of parenting. But that's so hard because when you stay-at-home and parenting is "all you do", it almost becomes a reflection of who you are...at least that was subconsciously how I felt. After praying about this a lot, I felt like God was saying that you can do only the best you can and leave the rest up to Him. And children are going to be children, no matter what we do - they are going to have their quirks, their bad days, but also days when they are so lovable! :) Plus, you are not just a mom but so many other things as well....that yes, being a mother is the prominent thing in this season because we have kids but that I have to keep growing as a person, too.
Anyhow, all this to say that mothering showed me who I really am as a person (all the good and bad) and stretched me in ways that I didn't know I could be stretched. I definitely do enjoy it and am looking forward to see what other ways I am refined as I become a mom of three. I've been told that this transition is a real doozy, so please pray for us as we embark on that journey in a little over a month! :) Feel free to share your thoughts, too!