Since Violet turned one earlier this month, I’ve been reflecting on not only how she’s changed, but also how I’ve changed. More accurately, how she changed me. Her first year of life was one of the craziest I’ve ever gone through. If becoming a mom wasn’t enough, I quit my job, was homeless for a month, moved across the country and become a stay at home mom. It was kind of nuts. Amidst the chaos, I feel a new peace in my life. I’ve given up a lot because of her. That’s something a mom isn’t supposed to say, but I’m happy that the following things are gone (by that, I really mean less present) from my life. This article should be called “What I’ve Improved on Since Becoming a Mom”, but that doesn’t make for a catchy title! I was in news for nearly 5 years, after all.
1) Insecurity. This is a real quote from my husband a couple of years back, “You can chase down murderers, but you can’t call the pizza guy?” It’s true. I’m sure if some of my old colleagues are reading this, they probably won’t believe it, but I had the oddest insecurities in my pre-mom life. I was very confident at work. And yes, I did chase down a murderer, corrupt politicians and bad business owners with a microphone…but if a waitress got my order wrong, I wouldn’t dare say anything to correct her. I even had a hard time making eye contact with strangers. Because of my insecurities, I cared way too much about what others thought of me. Recently I had an old co-worker tell me that someone at the station was making fun of my blog…in my old life I would have lost a night of sleep over this. Now, I just feel sorry for her. My point is that motherhood, not being a semi-powerful reporter, has brought me a newfound confidence. I realized that I couldn’t be afraid of little things because I have someone who needs me for every aspect of her life. One day she’ll need me to stand up for her and protect her and when that day comes I won’t let my old insecurities stand in the way.
2) Freaking Out. Patience was always a virtue that I lacked. I would let something, or someone, bother me so much that all of those frustrations would eventually come to the surface and I would blow a gasket. When it took us a while to get pregnant I had many of these meltdown moments. When a weekend reporter didn’t do what I told them to do, I lost it. I deeply regret this kind of behavior and I realized it doesn’t fly with a baby around. There are bad days with babies, just like there are bad days at work. Nothing can be solved by “losing it” around a little one…or at work for that matter. Moms are portrayed in the media as being frazzled creatures living a life of chaos. Sure, there are days like that, but motherhood has actually had the opposite effect on me, it has made me more calm.
3) Selfishness. Before becoming a mom, I looked out for number 1. Even when it came to Andy. He pointed out to me once that he always asked me about my day first, I never asked him. Granted, even he’ll admit that my days (chasing down bad guys) were more interesting to talk about than pulling teeth, but it didn’t matter. I was more concerned with my busy job than I was with anything else. I thought I worked the hardest and couldn’t be bothered with things. I rarely volunteered to help a friend or with much of anything because I was too busy and I thought I needed down time. Now, I want to be the first to offer help to a friend. Now, I want to not only know how my husband’s day went, but I want to know how I can make all of his days better. Sure, I was busy before, but having a baby makes you prioritize not only your time, but the things that matter most.
4) Chaos. Motherhood has made me more disciplined. Before I was very disciplined in one area of my life, you guessed it, work. I let other things get out of hand. I rarely exercised, our house was normally a wreck, I’d let a to-do list pile up for months. Now, I’m more balanced. Yes, part of this is because being a stay at home mom allows me to have more time. However, I think even if I choose to go back to work, I will figure out a way to keep my house, my health and errands in check. Why? Because you have to be organized when you have a little one. You have to be focused with your time to make sure that you are being the best mom and wife you can be.
Sure, I still struggle with insecurity, patience, selfishness and being balanced, but I’ve definitely improved and I hope that I keep improving. For this and much more, I thank my sweet one year old. She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m a better wife, better friend and better person because of her.