Someone once said to be strict about your goals but flexible with your methods. No matter how this makes you feel, people who adapt and change based on new information seem happier. When I was young, I thought adults grew up and became who they would be around 21. Mature and complete. With no turning back. After all, that is what growing up meant, right? Now I laugh when I think of that. Because I now know that the human brain doesn’t even stop growing until around the age of 25.1,2,3
But what about a mom’s brain? It grows well past that time, and you will likely change as a mom through the years. Or, at least, that is what my experience and observations have led me to believe. And when I say grows, I mean not necessarily in size but in wisdom and the methods that come from the day-to-day experiences of mom life. I can think of three major ways I have changed (for the better – I believe) in the last five years as a mom.
This article is your permission to let go of the fear of change and embrace the changes that may lead to more joy in motherhood.
5 Ways You May Change as a Mom
Here are five ways you may change as a mom through the years.
1. Your opinions about the size of your family may change. You may want to start big. And decide to go small. Or vice versa.
I never saw myself having four children. But guess what? I have four sons. And now that number seems completely natural. I remember looking at families of four when I was little and thinking they were a special breed of crazy. But now that that special breed of crazy is my life, it seems normal. I can’t imagine only having two kids. Vice versa – many people start out wanting four or five kids and decide that even one child seems enough. Every set of parents gets the right to determine what number seems fitting for their family based on their experience and hearts. There is no magic number—only the correct number for YOU.
2. Your parenting methods may change. You may become more strict. You may become more lenient.
It’s easy to know your parenting style before having kids. Or know your “permanent” parenting style after your first child. Am I right? However, it seems that second children can present different needs and behaviors that often cause parents to doubt their previous methods. They wonder, “Do we stick to what worked for our first? Or do we try something different since that method isn’t working?”
For the lucky few, the same parenting method works for every child. But for the most part, parenting and discipline methods must adapt based on the needs of the child you are working with. It doesn’t mean you’re a weak parent if one child sleeps in bed with you and one doesn’t. Instead, it may mean that one child needs physical affection to feel loved, and the other needs quality time. Or it may mean that you realized you couldn’t survive with four children in your bed. Different needs present different methods. It’s okay to parent differently.
3. Your diet and cooking methods may change as a mom. You may become laxer in your standards of good food. You may become the cleanest eater on the block.
Maybe you were a gourmet chef before you had children and find that the only time the word gourmet is used in your house nowadays is when Mr. Gourmet Nugget is served on a plate with ketchup. Because you no longer find it rewarding to spend hours cooking only to end up making a peanut butter sandwich for your children. Or . . . you may find that before having children, you stopped for lunch at a convenience store on your way to the office, and now, after having babies, you have a passion for only feeding their bodies organic, grass-fed fuel. Both of these changes are adaptive based on children’s unique needs. Don’t judge yourself either way.
4. Your desire to work may change as a mom. You may want to stay home. You may feel the need to be in the workforce.
It’s funny how moms who work often whisper when they say, “I just didn’t enjoy staying at home.” As if saying that is the same as admitting that you do not like your children — which is completely false! Realizing that your brain and heart do better with different challenges than figuring out how to convince a toddler they don’t want to tantrum over a cup doesn’t make you bad. It just makes you, you. Vice versa, I was the girl who said I would NEVER stay at home with her children because I didn’t believe in women who do not set the example of a mom who works. And guess what? I haven’t worked outside of the home for the last five years! It’s okay to change based on your needs. You do you.
5. Your belief about extracurricular activities may change. You may spend your life on the ball field. You may decide extracurriculars are not your way of life.
Before moving to Texas, I was warned about the “crazy, Texas” sports parents. I was scared of them and their commitment to their children’s sports. I may have even said, “I would NEVER put my children in a sport that goes year-round.” Guess what? My sons swim 12 months out of the year. And do you know why that works for us? We realized we do better with a consistent schedule and energy exertion. But guess what? I also have friends who have dropped out of competitive sports because it causes their families too much stress. To each their own. Never say never, either way.
Cheers to changing for the better, mama, and to changing again when the time calls!