Things You Never Knew You Could Do Until You Become a Mom
The other day, I was talking to a friend who has not yet become a parent. She started complaining about how she was so bored and watched TV all day before she suddenly stopped mid-sentence and looked at me with wide-eyes. Then she apologized profusely for throwing her perfectly calm and peaceful life in my face. But it was okay, I was half asleep anyway listening since my baby was teething and kept me up all night.
You learn a lot once you become a parent. Of course, you better master baby-caring skills like diaper changing and swaddling by like day 2. However, besides learning about your baby and how to keep him/her alive, you also learn a lot about yourself. Here are some things that I never knew I could do before becoming a mom:
1. Everything can be achieved with one hand.
Okay, maybe not everything, but there is a heck of a lot that we can do with only one hand while we hold our baby with the other. Eating with one hand, for one, is something we do pretty much every day, multiple times a day. We still make mistakes, like waking up our sleeping baby by dropping a piece of chicken on his/her forehead while trying to satiate our hunger. However, I have definitely gained dexterity and agility, especially in my non-dominate hand. Even without my baby, I find myself multitasking and doing multiple things with both hands independently since my left hand is no longer useless.
2. Feet can be used as hand substitutes.
Yup you heard me, I use my feet when my hands are too full to pick things up from the floor. Sure, I can do deep squats while carrying my baby in one arm to pick up the dropped item, but sometimes my thighs just don’t feel like getting that workout. Laundry especially – seems like it’s impossible to transport a load of laundry without dropping a piece of clothing on the floor. I even discovered that I am flexible enough to use my feet to click off the light switch or close the trunk of my car.
3. No sleep necessary.
I remember a time before kids when my husband and I were addicted to Netflix and stayed up way too late binge watching. Then the next day, we would be all groggy and grumpy getting ready for work. Thinking back, I think we were getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night on weeknights, with a lot more sleep on the weekends because sleeping in was actually possible. Now, as a mom of two toddlers, I would be happy to sleep more than 4 hours a night, more than 2 hours at a time uninterrupted. And sleeping in? HA.
4. My boobs are more useful than I thought!
I heard about breastfeeding before becoming a mom, but when you are actually sitting there, nursing your baby, it really feels incredible. Boobs are actually little factories, churning out nutritious breastmilk that will sustain your baby for months, and possibly years. And if that’s not enough, boobs are also pacifiers, pillows, and the ultimate place to seek comfort for our babies. Got a boo-boo? Exhausted and overtired? Had a bad day? Boobs are the answers to everything. Amazing!
5. Mad cleaning skills.
Here is an embarrassing confession – I was one of those lazy people in college who just could not be bothered to fold laundry. Therefore, my twin bed became the place to store all my clothes. When I needed to sleep, I just piled the clothes into a small hill and pushed them toward the end of the bed so that I could at least curl up into a ball in the corner of the bed and get some shuteye. In an effort to keep my sanity and become a good role model for my kids, I have definitely stepped up my cleaning skills, and despite two crazy and energetic toddlers, I manage to keep my house in decent shape.
6. Doctor’s in the house!
Did you know that a kiss can cure all kinds of boo-boos? Did you know that a band-aid with princesses or superheroes on them makes ouchies go away? That’s right, this mom got some magical boo-boo healing powers. But for real, as a mom, you are constantly searching the internet for answers on how to make your child feel better. I don’t know how many times I stared at pictures of the various types of rashes or even pictures of different colors of poo, trying to figure out what was wrong with my child. And when you are a paranoid mom like me, you go to the doctor’s office for every little thing. Eventually, you memorize all the facts and at least know enough about the symptoms to know when to freak out and run for the ER.
7. Call me the Hulk.
I remember being so proud of myself shoulder pressing 25lbs weights per arm at the gym. Nowadays, I pick up my 25lbs toddler and run around with her without even breaking a sweat. Sometimes, my 43lbs toddler wants to be carried also, so what does mommy do? Pick him up with the other arm! And most of the time, I am carrying a heavy diaper bag and bags of groceries or toys as well. Eat your heart out, pre-pregnancy self.
8. Flash’s got nothing on me.
It’s funny how during dodgeball, I would see the ball coming as if it was moving in slow motion but just could not move my body fast enough to avoid getting hit in the face. However, when I see my kids in danger of falling a few feet away from me, I react and dive fast enough to catch them before they hit the ground. It is as if my maternal instincts kick in and all of a sudden I have lightning reflexes and no sense of self-preservation. My kids come first, and I am not about to let a little bruise and cut get in the way of ensuring their safety.
9. Patience is a virtue.
I thought I was a patient person…until my kids grew into toddlers. Then came the whining, the tantrums, and the constant need for attention! AHHHHHH! But guess what? My ability to tolerate all the screaming and the crying has grown as well, and little things no longer bother me. My son just wiped boogers all over my shirt? Eh, who cares, I will just wash it later. My daughter decided to have a meltdown in the middle of the store because I wouldn’t buy her a toy? Oh well, she will learn that mommy is not going to just buy things because she is crying and rolling around on the floor like a maniac. Be calm, and parent on.
10. Become the one and the only.
When you think about what you mean to your kids, it’s really mind-boggling. You are EVERYTHING to them. You are the ultimate source of food, comfort, and entertainment. It’s remarkable that you, who probably a few years before having kids were still partying it up and doing all sorts of reckless things, are now responsible for a life. YOU, my friend, are the most important thing in the world to your kids. Before motherhood, I would never have accepted such a huge responsibility, but now, I welcome it with open arms.
Motherhood certainly changes a person. As scary as motherhood is, I cannot imagine my life now without my kids. They have made me a very tired person, but they have also gifted me with a strong body, strong mind, and most importantly, a type of love that only a mother can experience.
How have you changed after you became a mom?