Every woman knows motherhood will change her life in lots of ways. Her body is about to endure something unimaginable and miraculous; how could life not change after you have a baby? But many more changes are coming your way than loose belly skin and lack of sleep (although, yes, brace for those, too). Your entire outlook on life will feel a seismic shift. Your top priority will no longer be new living room furniture or a trip to Hawaii. Instead, it will include things like a high-end stroller/car seat combo and organic cotton burp cloths.
You will also find a new sense of self once you become a mom. You’re a total rockstar, and you know that now more than ever. (Even if your “rockstar” look includes dark circles under your eyes and crusty spit-up in your hair.) Motherhood will change you in more ways than you can ever imagine, and even though you barely recognize your life now, you realize you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here are 20 changes to embrace now that you’re a mom — most of them for the better, but all are 100% worth it.
1. You Look at Yourself and Your Body Differently Now
Sure, maybe you thought you were strong before. You ran a couple of 10K races, pulled an all-nighter or two, and believed in your ability to do hard things. But then you became a mom, and a whole human grew inside of you and emerged from your body. You went from “I’m pretty tough” to “Holy cow, I am a vessel of superpowers, and there is nothing this body can’t do. I am a superhero.”
2. You Have a New Concept of ‘Freedom’ or ‘a Break’
Before becoming a mom, you longed for Saturday and a break from work when you could sleep in or go for a hike or day drink with your best friend by the pool. Now, you long for an uninterrupted shower. Freedom looks like a solo trip to Target, and “getting a break” means it’s your turn to sleep through the night.
3. You’re No Longer Willing to Sacrifice Sleep
Gone are the days of partying until the wee morning hours (or partying at all). You desperately crave a grownup night out, but your girlfriends invite you to a concert that starts at 9 AT NIGHT. And it’s 30 minutes away. You know it will be a blast, but right now, knowing there’s a chance you might be able to get some sleep during those late-night hours before the baby wakes you up at 3 a.m., you’ll have to pass. Try again in a few years?
4. The Words ‘Safety’ and ‘Danger’ Have New Meaning
Suddenly, the world seems far less safe than before as you see new dangers everywhere. Before becoming a mom, you weren’t bothered by friends smoking nearby, and you were probably unfazed when someone sped past you down the road. The slightest hint of tobacco makes you grab your baby and run. And unsafe drivers make you rage as you glance at your innocent babe snuggled up in her car seat. You’re desperate to keep her safe from every danger and feel helpless knowing you can’t.
5. If You Weren’t a Germaphobe Before, You Are Now
You have hand sanitizers on every table, counter, and shelf in your house, ready to douse anyone who wants to touch your baby. And if anyone even thinks about coming over with a cough, sorry, Uncle Steve, but you’ll have to do a meet-and-greet from the window. You see invisible germs everywhere, on everyone, and every tiny sneeze from your baby’s adorable little mouth sends you into a spiral of Google searches.
6. Your Financial Priorities Shift
Suddenly, you don’t need those new Lululemon leggings with the urgency you had before. However, your baby MUST have that hand-made romper with pumpkins for Halloween, and you don’t care what it costs.
7. Your Bladder Will Never Be the Same
The good news is you can pee on demand for the rest of your life. This comes in handy when you’re on a road trip and never know when you’ll pass another rest stop, so you must take all the opportunities you can get. However, the bad news is you will always and forever feel like you must pee from now on. And that comes in handy . . . well, never.
8. Your Boobs Will Also Never Be the Same
Especially if you breastfeed, by the end of an entire pregnancy followed by months, maybe years of nursing. Let’s say your boobs will have been through some battles. They’re tired, and they look tired. But they did their job, and you’re grateful for them. Just invest in some good quality bras that lift those puppies back up — they’ll need all the support they can get.
9. Your Relationship Will Undoubtedly Feel a Shift
This is a hard transition and unlike anything you two have been through before. You might resent your partner with their pointless nipples at 3 a.m. as they snore away next to you while your baby chomps down on your boob for the 87th time that day. You might start the “tired Olympics” and compete over who is more exhausted — the person who has to get up at 6 a.m. and go to work all day or the one who is home with a crying baby who poops all day. And sex? What is that?
But remember that becoming parents is hard on every relationship as so much is new, so much is scary, and so much is exhausting beyond comprehension. You are a team, even if it doesn’t always feel like you are. Try to step in for one another, give each other breaks, hold hands, and look at each other with pride — you created something amazing, and you’re doing a good job.
10. Your Friendships Are Different, and You Bond With Other Moms Now
That doesn’t mean your kid-less friends aren’t still important to you; of course they are. But the truth is, they don’t get it. They don’t get why grabbing drinks after work is a no-go now because you want to get home to squeeze your baby or why you’re too tired for game night now when before, you’d never miss it. They don’t get why getting all dressed up for a girls’ night out is too much work when none of your clothes fit, and your boobs leak through your shirt all day. You love and miss them, but you suddenly have a far easier friendship with a mom friend who is always elbow-deep in dirty diapers, hasn’t showered in four days, and has spit-up stains on her couch.
11. The Future Seems Scary Now But Also Thrilling
You dream of what this tiny baby will look like as a kindergartener, a teenager, and a grownup with their own life and career. Will they be a teacher? A doctor? A veterinarian? An actor on the big screen? Will they get married? Have children of their own? Will they be tall? Short? Look like you? Look like Dad? But the future is also riddled with anxiety as you now have to write a will specifying who will care for this precious little person if you and your partner turn to dust tomorrow. You’re forced to have hard conversations and imagine heartbreaking scenarios you don’t want to have to think about, but that’s the harsh reality of parenting.
12. You Have a Newfound Understanding of Joy and Making Memories
Before parenthood, you dreamt of trips to Paris. Now, just staring into your baby’s eyes, catching their first smile, and hearing their little coos — that’s all you need to feel true happiness and fulfillment. You used to spend your weekends adventuring to new places and splurging at new restaurants, but now your weekends include walks to the park and snuggling your little one on the couch. And they’re the best weekends you’ve ever had.
13. You Realize How Much You Can Endure and What You Will Do for Your Child
After that grueling labor and delivery, you now know how strong you are and that you can and will do anything for your child. You have immeasurable strength, and you’d run through fire in a heartbeat to protect them from harm. You understand what “Mama Bear” means, and you feel your own Mama Bear instinct coursing through your veins, ready to fight anyone who hurts your kid.
14. You Realize Why Your Mom Took Forever To Get Out of the House
After running back inside to grab more diapers for the diaper bag, and then more wipes, and then a change of clothes for the baby, and also a jacket in case it gets chilly out, but also a bathing suit in case it’s hot and there’s a splash pad where you’re going, plus the sunscreen, some snacks, sippy cups, bottles. Now, where on earth are your keys? You haven’t had a sip of coffee yet, so you better grab one to go. Have you brushed your teeth? Better to re-do. And since you ran back in, you might as well pee one more time. So, yeah, you get it now. And you call your mom to apologize for all the times you whined about her taking too long.
15. Your Priorities Change
Your career still matters, and you still want a clean house. You want to grab happy hour drinks with the girls. But there’s a new item at the top of that list now, and nothing will ever be more important than this new human in your arms. Suddenly, your IG scrolls include “best baby swing” instead of “cute boots for fall.” Your life goals might not include climbing the ladder at work anymore, but rather, you are more focused on making sure your baby meets their milestones and is growing up healthy and strong.
16. You Feel a Love You Never Knew Existed
Your fellow mommy friends tried to explain it to you. So did your mom, grandma, aunts, and every other mother you know. But no one can truly convey what it feels like to hold a tiny person in your arms that you created. Suddenly, your heart feels like it has grown three times its normal size, and you know you’d run off a bridge without hesitation to save this new little life.
17. You Understand Why Moms Laugh at the Notion of Work/Life Balance
Before becoming a mother, you scoffed when your coworkers (who were parents) refused to take extra shifts or stay late. You wondered why they always looked so tired and never wanted to meet after work for a fun social event. But now you 100% understand and find yourself booking it home or to daycare pickup as fast as possible so you can scoop up your child and soak in their sweet baby scent. You know, now, that there is no real “work/life balance” but rather, there’s “go to work because you need an income and spend as much time as possible with your kids when you’re not working,” and people call it “work/life balance.”
18. Your House Will Never Again Be as Clean as You Want it To Be
And if it is, that probably means you feel guilty because you ignored your child all day. Remember work/life balance? Well, there’s no balance anywhere else in life, either. Every second you do something other than spend quality time with your baby, you feel like a bad mom, but you know you have to wash the dishes, do the laundry, and pay the bills. So, how do you do it all and not feel guilty? Let us know if you figure that out.
19. Your Idea of Self-Care Changes
Should you sleep, drink more water, walk alone, take a hot bath, get a pedicure, or take a day off to do some solo shopping to ensure you can be the best mom you can be? Yes! You should. Will you do those things, though? Unless you can manifest a time-making machine that adds extra hours into the day and you can grow a money tree in your backyard, probably not.
20. You Wonder How You Lived a Day Without This Miracle in Your Life
But you’re forever grateful that you won’t have to live another one without them. No one can anticipate what their life will look like after bringing a child into this world. Will their baby be fussy or calm? Have unique medical needs? Will both parents work? Will one parent stay home? What does Mom’s maternity leave look like? How is Mom doing, emotionally and physically? You can plan it all out, but life often throws you curveballs, and sometimes those curveballs are called “NICU,” or “C-section,” or “colic,” or “low milk supply,” and you have to readjust your plan.
No matter what, one constant remains for all of us — you will love that child unconditionally and realize that you would do anything to keep them safe and happy when you meet them. Because you’re a mom now, you know that you’re on Day 1 of the most important job you’ll ever have.