When a child is born, so is a mom

When I was pregnant, Carter’s baby clothes was running a commercial on TV. I’m not sure if it was the hormones or my generally over-sentimental nature (probably both), but it definitely got me teary-eyed. The spot is narrated by a small child and details life over the first years of life as mother and child learn and grow together, and ends with the closing “when a child is born, so is a mother.”  See the spot here.

(as a side note, the video now ends with the phrase “when I became yours, you became mine.” Not sure why, or if I have the wrong video, but I’m pretty sure this is it!)

Now, a mere 6 months into motherhood, I have taken some time to reflect why that idea resonated so strongly with me. It comes to no surprise to mothers who have gone before me that having a baby changes your life in ways you can only begin to understand through experience. Becoming a parent has profoundly changed my perspective (surprise, surprise), and I think I’ve seen the biggest changes in my life occur in my relationships. As a mom, I have begun to see the other people in my life in a new light, both good and bad, in ways I never expected.

My relationship with my husband is different, and not just because of our shared sleep deprivation and lack of date nights. Parenthood, for me, has made the previously-defined “hard stuff” in marriage seem silly and the really hard stuff seem surmountable. Plus, I get a kick out of the subtle hints of my husband’s personality emerging in our son, even though I know it means he will be a handful!

My husband is no longer just the guy I married; he is the father of our kid. Not that marriage vows are anything to sneeze at, it’s just that now we have our vows and the well being of our little family to uphold. Kind of changes what I see when I look at him, but in a good way.

As I get older, I enjoy how I see my parents more and more as human beings and not just mom and dad. I see myself stumbling through some of the growing pains of motherhood and think of how my mom handled the same situations. I always thought of her as supermom who just knew how to make things work for our family, but I now think she must have once been awkward and inexperienced like me, which makes me feel better. Plus, I can make sense of the things my parents did and sacrificed in ways I never understood before. I may be uneasy about parenthood, but I am never lost because I had excellent roles models.

My relationship with my friends (and the list of those I still consider a friend has changed in itself) is also different from what I was expecting. I have friends who still call and visit and have stuck through everything with me, regardless of where they are in their own lives. I feel so fortunate for that. Now that I have a little life to care for, I have gained a much deeper appreciation for the friends that actually care when they ask “how are you?”

Many of my closest friends don’t have children, and though I need to make more “mama” friends for the shared experiences, I secretly love having less attached friends to let loose with (or at least lead a vicarious life from time to time). They still go out on Friday nights. They still do weekend getaways. And even if I can’t go along, I enjoy hearing all about it. That might seem strange–enjoying friends who have less and less in common with me as far as family goes–but I think it does wonders for my perspective, and reminds me that “fun” does not always have to include a diaper bag. Plus, these girls are amazing people no matter how different our lives have become, and I’m in it for the long run with them.

All in all, being a mom seems to have changed my perspectives about my relationships more than the relationships themselves. One exception to that is the relationship I have with myself.

As a mom, I want to be a better person. No just in a new-years-resolution-guilt kind of way, but in the most authentic, motivating way I have ever experienced. I am living more healthfully. I am following my passion. I am going back to church. I am on a mission to be a better wife, daughter, and friend. I’m far (far!) from perfect at these things, but I am more inspired than I have ever been before–all because I have big shoes to fill, and because I really want my son to be proud of his mom.

Those are the biggies I’ve learned in my first six months— I’ve learned that when my baby was born, I was “born again” as a mom. And although I am well aware it won’t always be rainbows and sunshine, I am sure it was what I was always meant to be.


Outside my comfort zone

My daily muse

My daily inspiration

My life is calling for a little disruption. Things are going a little too smoothly (nighttime antics from my little one notwithstanding).

Since I left my job in November to be home with my little guy, I’ve really managed to reduce my stress, include more healthy habits in my days, and even land a few jobs doing some freelance writing work. Life is good.

But life as a stay-at-home mama and writer can getting a little lonely. And though I have introverted tendencies, I also have a pressing desire to expand my social life and meet new people.

I’ve come to the realization that in the adult world, making friends is can be a challenge. Its not like those beer commercials and formulaic sitcoms would have you believe–twenty-somethings don’t just automatically travel in super-tight friend groups who always manage to grab the exact same seating at their preferred dining establishment. Beyond college, it takes work to get out there and meet people, especially once you have a family and live off the beaten path like me.

I’m OK with the work. The problem for me is my introverted tendencies. I tend to get caught up in my own world and can be awkward in new social situations. I am extremely conscious and overly analytic of my own social presence. And I require an annoying level of assurance that I am not a bother to others.

I know what I need to do is branch out of my comfort zone to meet people. It’s just that my comfort zone is very, well…small. All through my life, things others may have regarded as small changes or bumps in the road, I have viewed as positively earth-shattering. I changed schools twice growing up. When my family moved to a new town when I was a freshmen in high school, I barely left my room for months. But I made myself get out there–I joined sports teams, clubs, and went to parties despite my inner panic at each new experience.

Since then and all through college and my early career, I have challenged myself to do things that terrify me. From traveling across the country, navigating new cities alone, and speaking onstage to a concert arena, I have pushed my limits on a regular basis and  I am a better person for it.

In my new life at home, however, the opportunities to push myself to do things that scare me are more limited. Here, it is easy to remain in my bubble for extended periods, and I am at risk of getting way too comfortable.

This blog is a start for me. I have really had a hard time putting my thoughts out there, but like most things, it get easier the more I do it. Plus, I have been so lucky to be introduced to the amazingly supportive blog community. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read my ramblings and provide encouragement. I may have never met most of you, but you rock.

As far as getting beyond my comfort zone, I have a few ideas on where to start. I’ll be sure to hold myself accountable and post an update soon!