After work the other day I was thinking about how I’ve changed since becoming a parent – and not just because I can survive on 5 hours sleep or answer questions about any subject known to man.
I was mid-20s when I started in my current job, very shy, never spoke up or said no, and generally got walked all over. Every review my boss told me I needed to be more assertive but it just wasn’t me. Now in my mid 30s I can see that I’ve changed without consciously trying to. A lot of this is no doubt down to age and experience, but I do think that a big part of it is down to becoming a mum.
I definitely don’t let people walk all over me now, whether it’s work colleagues or in my personal life. Being a mum is so stressful and hectic I just don’t have time for any bullsh*t. I’m far too busy with much more important things to spend time listening to other people’s crap!
I used to hate speaking to people I didn’t know, both on the phone and in person, like really hate it to a point that I’d get myself worked up before making a phone call. I still don’t like making small talk with randoms, but after you’ve been to a few baby groups and chatted to other parents in the park you just get used to it. I am definitely much more confident with approaching people I don’t know.
Voicing my opinions at work was always a struggle as well. More for the worry that they’d think I was wrong and/or stupid. As a mum, you come across so many people (other parents, health visitors, strangers in the supermarket, idiots online) who disagree with your parenting techniques that you get to the point that you don’t really care whether people agree with you or not!
Having a child definitely teaches you to fight your corner, you have a little person who needs you to speak up for them. We’re lucky to never have had a major issue to fight on Little H’s behalf, but even just trying to tell doctors on a third visit that she has more than a little cough, or telling the school that they will keep that horrible bully away from your kid, teaches you to fight for what you want. After all, if we don’t fight for our kids, who will?! And I definitely think it helps you to stand up for yourself in other parts of life – god help the person who pushes in front of me in a queue!
On the negative side though I’m much more of a worrier than I was before becoming a mum. There’s so much crap in the world to worry about when you have a child, and I definitely think you’re more aware of the dangers when you have someone else to look out for. I’m constantly on edge thinking about all the ways that she could come to harm, and I definitely think about things before doing them a lot more than I would have done before. I’m also a lot more emotional, I never ever used to cry at films, now I find my self welling up at adverts and completely avoid anything like Comic Relief or Children In Need, those videos are far too tear-jerking for me now!
On the whole, I think becoming a mum has made me a better person and hopefully, my family and friends would agree with that.
Do you think you have changed since becoming a parent?