Becoming a mom has been the best thing I have ever done. It has made me a better person in so many ways. Since I was a little bit older when I became a mom (32) I was pretty set in my personality traits. Now that I have Ryan, though, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and have changed for the better. These are the 4 ways that motherhood has helped to do that.
I am a fairly social person, but I like to be social in situations that I know with people I know. Since having Ryan I have had to move past that. I have been going to new activities, sometimes with just Ryan, and I know that it is good for both of us.
After we found out Ryan’s diagnosis we joined the local Down syndrome guild and have been going to their events. First, we went to a fundraiser for World Down Syndrome Day (granted most of our friends came with us so this didn’t take me too far out of my comfort zone). Then, we went to a New Parent Breakfast and met lots of nice families that are also a part of the organization. I even joined the board of the guild so now I will be going to those meetings as well as lots of other activities throughout the year.
Since I am a stay at home mom I am also now trying to find activities during the week that Ryan and I can go to outside of the house. We signed up for the story time at our library and we have been there twice now. I was very nervous about going, but it is very fun and he absolutely loves it!
Being Less Than Nice
This may shock some friends and family but I try to be a nice person. Yes there are times when I lose my patience and not nice things come out of my mouth, but usually I try to keep it kind. When it comes to Ryan, though, Mama Bear comes out and I am as rude as I need to be.
The best example of this is a fight we are having with our insurance company about a hearing test that Ryan had when he was a few weeks old. It was a necessary test but the insurance company denied the claim because they say it was “informative or experimental” and the hospital billed us almost $400 for the routine procedure.
I have been on the phone for the past couple of months trying to deal with this and let me tell you that the conversations have not been friendly. The worst of it came when I told the woman on the phone that my son has Down syndrome and that children with DS often have hearing problems so the procedure was even more necessary and she said, “I’m sorry to hear that”. My blood boiled, I turned red, and I told her that it is nothing to be sorry about.
Although this is a silly fight to be having, I feel like it is my first dive into advocating for Ryan. He needed the procedure and I want them to acknowledge that. I know that I will have a lot more advocating to do for him as he grows up and goes through school and ventures out into the real world and this is my dress rehearsal.
Being the Center of Attention
I have never liked being the center of attention. People looking at me makes me nervous and now that I am out and about with a cute 1 year old people look all the time. Everywhere we go people tell me how cute Ryan is and try to talk to him. Obviously I appreciate the kind words, but it makes me uncomfortable, especially at this age when he can’t actually talk so I find myself answering the questions for him.
I know this is something I am going to have to get used to because people love babies and toddlers. I also know that the positive attention is going to turn into negative attention when he is having a tantrum in the middle of the store and everybody inevitably stares at me. I have already decided this is going to be one of the hardest parts of parenting for me, and I am trying to get ready for it!
Again, my friends and family may think I am already a demanding person but I really try not to be. I try to make sure everybody else is happy and comfortable and adjust my needs accordingly. Now that I have a child, though, I am definitely more demanding.
When he was a newborn I had lots of demands. I didn’t want people to kiss him, we didn’t go to parties until he was 8 weeks old because of all of the germs, and people had to wash their hands before they held him among other things. All of these seem reasonable but it felt weird to me to demand it.
I also am more demanding when it comes to making plans. I make sure to make them around his nap schedule and if that doens’t work for other people then we just can’t get together that day. This one is really hard because it obviously changes my social life, but if he doesn’t nap when he’s supposed to it just makes for a miserable day (and sometimes night) for everyone. So really, he’s the demanding one, not me!
I knew motherhood would change me but I guess I didn’t realize how much. How has motherhood changed you? Has it pushed you out of your comfort zone? How?