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7 Things I Didn't Know About Myself Before Becoming a Mom

Photograph by Twenty20

Becoming a mother will teach you a great many things. You'll learn how to change diapers like a boss and the patented "mama sway" to calm your babies. You'll learn all about picking your battles and about the fine art of redirecting volatile toddlers. You'll learn the theme songs to ridiculous children's shows and you'll learn way more about bodily fluids and functions than you ever wanted to know. But even more than all of those things, becoming a parent will teach you a whole lot about yourself.

Becoming a mother has most definitely shaped me into the person I am today and through this ongoing journey I have learned some very interesting things about myself. Here are just a few of those things I didn't know about myself before becoming a parent.

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1. I'm kind of a bad ass

I've never been what you might consider to be a "tough girl." I enjoy the comfort of modern conveniences, don't like getting dirty and am not particularly scrappy. That said, since becoming a mom, I've found myself having my limits pushed on plenty of occasions and realized...I'm actually kind of a bad ass. I mean...I pushed a 10 and 1/2 pound baby out of my lady bits without so much as an aspirin. If that's not bad ass, then I don't know what is.

2. I can carry ALL the things

Nothing will motivate you to get better at multitasking quite like parenthood will and as a result I have gotten really good at carrying a whole lot of things at one time. Ain't nobody got time for multiple trips from the car after grocery shopping. Balance that toilet paper on your head and get the job done in one fell swoop is what I always say. My husband teases me endlessly about my compulsion for loading myself up in order to avoid more than one trip to and from somewhere and will sometimes send me photos of himself bogged down with items with the caption "Hey! Who am I?" Whatever buddy, you only wish you had these carrying skills!

3. I care far less about other people's opinions than I thought

I have always been a people pleaser to my very core, but since becoming a mom, I've realized that I care way less about what other people think than I thought. Perhaps it's a matter of realizing the things that are truly important in life, or simply coming into my own and being confident in who I am as a person and as a mother, but either way, I am much better at shaking off negative opinions and marching to the beat of my own drum.

4. I'm far less independent than I once believed

It takes a village to raise a child. I never realized how true that was before becoming a mom. Of course I could muddle my way through this parenting thing on my own out of necessity if I had to, but it would be really, REALLY ridiculously difficult. I am incredibly thankful for the supportive community of family and friends that helps me through this journey. When I had my first child I recall trying to cling onto that independence fiercely, but quickly realizing that I wanted and needed help and that was OK to. There is no shame in asking for help.

5. I can function on less sleep than I thought humanly possible

It's seriously kind of amazing how little sleep I can get and still be able to function out in society. I like to think of it as a secret party trick.

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6. I'm a professional at extending the time between showers

I regularly go a week without showering. It's a sad, sad truth, but hey...sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day (like basically every day.) I've turned dirty hair into a skill, though. I've actually impressed myself with how decent I can make unwashed hair look and my current personal dirty-hair record is two weeks and three days. I should probably call up the Guinness Book of World Records pretty soon.

7. I can be annoyed at my children all day and then miss them immediately once they're asleep

It's the craziest thing, but the depth of love that I have for my children baffles me all the time. They seriously drive me crazy some days, but then I'll find myself missing them and flipping through photos on my phone's camera roll with lovelorn eyes. It's nuts, but I love it. Being a parent really is the best.

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