What Having Kids Did to Me
I hear them talk about their stretch marks and droopy breasts. About the hair loss, weight gain, sleepless nights and new gray hairs. I see Moms dragging their kids through their days, stressed beyond belief and wishing (hoping, praying, begging) for a break. I hear them complain about what “damage” these kids have done to their lives and bodies and then I reflect on what mine have “done” to me.
Yup, naps are less frequent and my nights are filled with cramped sleeping quarters because my 4.5 year old daughter likes me to bunk in with her in her single bed. And sure, I’m less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the mornings. And look! There are definitely more grays on this head (but hey, I’m 36, so that’s expected anyhow, no?) than pre-kids. My breasts are uneven, I have stretchmarks, too. I have discoloured skin from hormone changes and wrinkles and bags under my eyes from being so exhausted. I have less time with friends, and my husband and I struggle to find time to chat as a couple, and I watch more Dinosaur Train than I’d care to admit.
But what my kids have done to me is nothing listed above.
My kids have taught me the importance of being a good person. They reflected to me the importance of the lessons I teach them, and how those are important reminders for the adults of the world.
They’ve given me a new reason to enjoy kids’ movies and amusement parks. They gave me the chance to sit and make fairy houses for hours, to set them outside and wish for fairies to come visit our yard.
My kids give me the chance to trust that there is goodness in this great big world, with their insights into life and their unconditional love for one another.
They gave me a real reason to love myself and take good care of myself: I don’t want to miss a single moment of their amazing journeys to adulthood. I want to be here, healthy and happy, for them, every step of the way.
My children allowed me to find something I really love and work for it: because that’s what I teach THEM to do. They taught me how to put down the broom & dust pan and take time for a tickle party. They got me on the slide and swing and dipping my toes in freezing cold puddles and stomping in mud.
Having kids did wonderful, magical things to me. Having kids redefined me in ways I had no idea were possible.
So every time they whine, throw tantrums, stress me out, tell me I’m a terrible mom, or otherwise drive me to the brink, I’m going to try my best to remember life before them, and be thankful for what these wee beasties did for me, not to me.