I hate those comments about how everything’s different after you have kids. “Kids change everything!” “Nothing will ever be the same!” “Oh, *that random thing* will never happen again once you have kids.” Those people, however nice they may be, make me roll my eyes so hard my mother would have told me they’d get stuck. Because on the one hand, how could it not change everything, but on the other “YOU DON’T KNOW ME STRANGER!” And “THAT’S NOT HELPFUL, STRANGER!” And by stranger I probably mean my friends, my family, random people with kids, or that one older co-worker named Judy* who always shares all sorts of unsolicited worldly advice and knows everything. “Just you waiiiit!” Cue: another eye roll. We get it. New mom body, new mom schedule, new mom worries, new mom brain. At least that one is more of a “get out of jail free” card. Because it definitely is real, and it never goes away. Still, it’s also nice when you actually have a mom brain moment, because your friends will quickly forgive that you’re growing another human and it’s disrupting your brain function. And, once you have the baby, it will take part of your brain with it, and life will never be the same.
But what about mom heart? Could that be a thing? Is that a thing? Is that what people are really trying to warn you about with the “just wait until you have kids” comments?
Growing up, I did a fair amount of babysitting for neighbors. I played with dolls and loved tea parties. I read books to my stuffed animals and pretended to play school because I wanted to be the teacher. But as I grew up and having my own children became more and more of a real possibility, I sort of lost all that “motherly” stuff. I’m not the most empathic person, I don’t go crazy over newborns, and I knew pretty quickly that being a stay at home mom just wasn’t my dream.
But then I had kids… and those people, the ones with the annoying comments, were COMPLETELY RIGHT. Everything changed.
My 4-year-old is shy and pretty timid about trying new things. When he said he wanted to play soccer, I honestly think I tried to talk him out of it more than I probably should have, but we eventually signed up anyway. He did incredible the first week. I literally thought to myself, “who is this kid?!” But we were a few minutes late the second week, and he fell apart. The third week wasn’t looking too good either. Eventually, his coach pulled him aside to play one-on-one and run around the field with him. After he was comfortable, he joined the rest of the team. He was running, smiling, (sweating), and actually kicked the ball a couple times during their game.
After each game, the coach calls all the parents to make a tunnel for the kids to run through. I stood across from my husband and waited as the kids finished their “good game” handshakes and started to file through the mob of parents cheering, yelling, and supporting them. I began to join in, but my voice caught. My eyes filled with tears. I literally said to myself (inside my head), “what is wrong with you?!” For some reason, that moment completely overwhelmed me. I was so proud of all those kids. I was also thankful for the sunglasses I was wearing because no one else saw.
“Who’s the crazy mom whose kid wouldn’t even play the first half and is now crying about a tunnel!?”
It’s me, guys. I’m scrolling Facebook and see a post about a sick kid, and instantly I’m tearing up. I’m catching up on my DVR, and a kid gets eliminated from the latest kids cookie show and I’m immediately a blubbering mess. Kids helping others? Rapids down my face. What has happened to me to turn me into this sobbing mess? Oh yeah, I had kids. Everything has changed. It’s my new mom heart.
I could never imagine all that goes into having a kid. It really does change you (gag). But really, it does. I do things I never would have been comfortable with or thought I’d do before. I hop and jump and run on a soccer field in front of strangers to make sure my kid knows I’m there to support him. I yell, “GO LUKE!” so loud that I even surprise myself sometimes. I get excited over tiny victories because I know my kid is a praise driven kid. I let him run out of a public restroom before I flush the toilet because he thinks it’s too loud. Seriously, who is this crazy mom? It’s me. With my new (and improved) mom heart.
*Judy is a purely hypothetical persona. She is not actually someone that I work with and no Judys were harmed in the writing of this blog.