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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:01 pm 
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Another introvert here. The first month or two was really challenging, because I felt like I was spending 24/7 with a person I'd just met, a person who wanted me to hold him all the time and to gaze at me adoringly, and I was like, dude, back off! But spending that much time with someone (even a baby) forces you to make a deep connection fast. It was hard at the beginning because our days were unpredictable, but once we fell into a sort of routine, I could count on getting a shower or a nap or time to cook or read during his naps. If I was really feeling cranky we'd go for a walk-- he would sleep or look at the world, and I would listen to npr and podcasts (so I had something to think about/discuss besides poop).

I'm pretty lucky because my kid is also an introvert, and he entertains himself really well. He is happy to look at books alone in his crib for 30 minutes while I shower or clean. I get to read the paper most days, while he reads or plays with his kitchen equipment. It's amazing. He still naps most days, so I get a break in the afternoon, and he goes to bed at 7pm, so I get some me time or couple time in the evening. If he doesn't nap I get cranky and we go for a walk and zone out, separately.

Preschool has also been fantastic. He only goes one morning a week now, but next year he'll go two mornings. Most weeks all I do is clean my house, but it's terrific to do it without interference. Sometimes I go to a coffee shop and read. Sometimes I get a haircut. I love having three hours a week I can count on to be responsible ony for myself.

Becoming a mom has made me a better advocate for my needs. I never used to ask anyone for anything, but I've had to learn to speak up, especially with my husband. His job is really demanding, and unless I tell him I need time off, he will work 6.5 days a week. If I'm feeling burnt out and need a day, I have to ask for it. For the first year I was uncomfortable asking, but I've had to learn how, and that's a positive development.

I've had to learn to take the longview with regard to a lot of things. Yes, right now I don't get as much sleep or time alone as I'd like, but this is one brief stage in my life. It won't be long before my kids are in school full time, and then they'll be moving out and I'll have nothing but time to myself. Some things are hard about having a small child, but those things won't be hard forever.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:21 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I actively didn't want children until I was 37, and then I thought it would be an interesting experience, in part because I thought my husband would be a really great Dad and I figured that could pick up the slack if I was terrible at it for a while.


Thanks for sharing your story, it's a good reminder for me that 35 is not some sort of magical deadline and people do have perfectly healthy kids later than that. There's just SO much stuff in the media about the perils of being an older parent (or maybe I've just been noticing it more since it's on my mind).


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:43 pm 
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the introvert thing worries me as im a super introvert to the point of having severe social anxiety. im not particularly worried about losing friends or not being able to go out when i have this kid cause i dont go out and greatly prefer to stay at home.
i have a party to go to Saturday night that im dreading.
i do worry about passing the degree of my introvertedness onto my kid. my husband doesnt have the anxiety i do but he is generally pretty quiet.

i worry how i will find stuff like mom's groups and play groups so that my kid can meet other kids and whether or not i will have 50 panic attacks going there if i can even force myself to do that.

im hoping i will basically be forced outside my comfort zone and then find some cool people/groups/things and be glad i did it.
i honestly dont even know how to look for these things. (play groups, moms groups, etc)

im glad im due in early May because the spring/summer will just be starting so i can take the baby for walks and stuff in the nice weather and not be confined to the house like i might feel i was in the cold cold winter.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:48 pm 
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pixel wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
I actively didn't want children until I was 37, and then I thought it would be an interesting experience, in part because I thought my husband would be a really great Dad and I figured that could pick up the slack if I was terrible at it for a while.


Thanks for sharing your story, it's a good reminder for me that 35 is not some sort of magical deadline and people do have perfectly healthy kids later than that. There's just SO much stuff in the media about the perils of being an older parent (or maybe I've just been noticing it more since it's on my mind).


im 35 and pregnant with my first. i have found that it is soooo common now for women to have babies in their 30s and even later 30s and into their 40s. i was worried when we went to our first childbirth class that we would be ancient compared to everyone else but i would say everyone in our class seems about the same age.

they do tell you that 35 is like the magical line they draw in the sand for certain "high risk" things but the way my dr presented it to me was that it's sort of arbitrary and it's just a number that was picked. yes your rate of certain things does go up as you age but you dont hit 35 and become super high risk. everyone's body is different. everyone's pregnancy is different.
despite some bad early testing results which turned out to be a false alarm (i believe the same thing happened to Tlish and some other people i know in the over 35 category so i honestly think the test is borderline B.S. at this point) i have been considered low to no risk thus far.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:49 pm 
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Lisa, you might check and see if the hospital you deliver at has a new parent group. They often do. I used to go to one with E (and later a PPD group at the same hospital) and I think it's a pretty common thing.

It's so funny, because people kept telling me "you're going to be stuck at home all the time! You're going to be so lonely!" and I kind of looked forward to it, and then it wasn't my experience at all.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:54 pm 
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And re: age, it's probably something to do with where I live, but I am MUCH younger than most parents around here who have kids E's age. I was 25 when he was born which felt normal-to-late to me (my mom and grandmother both had their firsts at 17, and my sister was 20, so yeah).

The average age for a first is shifting pretty heavily to older ages, and my prediction is that in another decade, doctors are going to be so used to caring for older first time mothers/aware of how they are or aren't different that 35 is probably not going to be an instant "high risk" marker anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:55 pm 
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yeah that's a good idea. i know a friend of mine found a mom's group through her hospital (different hospital than im going to)

the hospital im going to is so big and has so much different "stuff" i bet it does have something like that.

there's also a store nearby me that has a drop in breastfeeding "group"
i just need to like not have 8000 panic attacks and just go.....
that's the bigger problem :-/

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:58 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
The average age for a first is shifting pretty heavily to older ages, and my prediction is that in another decade, doctors are going to be so used to caring for older first time mothers/aware of how they are or aren't different that 35 is probably not going to be an instant "high risk" marker anymore.


yeah we went to a "family planning" appt with my OB before i got pregnant and i was just a couple months shy of 35 and she was basically like "yeah im supposed to tell you you will be over 35 when you deliver but you can take that for whatever you want"

which to me translated to "i have to tell you this but i dont think it's a big deal"

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:59 pm 
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pixel wrote:
Thanks for sharing your story, it's a good reminder for me that 35 is not some sort of magical deadline and people do have perfectly healthy kids later than that. There's just SO much stuff in the media about the perils of being an older parent (or maybe I've just been noticing it more since it's on my mind).

I feel like the unspoken line in the sand is at 40, when suddenly, everyone kind of acts like you're going to have a Down's baby (although most of them won't say it directly). I'm 36 and nobody I've told has acted like I'm too old for another pregnancy (my MIL is the only one who ever said I was getting too old and I was 28 at the time!!), but I suspect that will change as I approach 40.

Tofulish wrote:
and I have so many people telling me that its unfair to just have one.

UGH. That is SO WRONG! I would have been fine as an only child (my sister and I usually didn't get along and I was forced to babysit her when I would rather have been reading in my room or watching Star Trek). I don't recall any of my only-child friends ever complaining about not having siblings, but I've read about other only-children sometimes wanting siblings -- I feel like there is this idyllic view of what it's like to have siblings that they have, though. My husband wanted a brother so badly, but he has 3 little sisters instead, so it's not like having more than one kid is necessarily going to be all rainbows and unicorns.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:02 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
pixel wrote:

Kelly, I found it superhelpful to read MBM and Paprikapapaya's posts in the Peeves thread and some of the ones in the other thread about how their friends had changed after having children and how to keep friendships alive. A lot of it seemed very helpful and useful. I love the idea of having people over if you don't feel like you can get out, and some of the ideas for toddler friendly things to do together were great. I realized that I need to start getting more people out here to visit me! Their suggestions seemed pretty uplifting to me and definitely helped me see how I could feel less isolated, which was great. Maybe we could all be mindful of being kind and non-judgemental.


I'm glad their feedback was helpful! Maybe a thread about how to feel less isolated after having a baby or how we hang out with our friends differently after having kids is a good idea?

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:13 pm 
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I'm the youngest reproducer on my maternal line in three generations! My mother started at 34 (had last just shy of 40), my grandmother started at 34 (and second at 36), I started at 31. My father's family has shorter generations (he was his mother's second child when she was 18), but he had me when he was over 40 and had two more children after that.

I think people make less of a big deal about having your 2nd, 3rd, or later child at older ages than they do having your first (or only) then, even though there isn't any difference in risk. Maybe because you've already proven your genetic capacity?


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:01 pm 
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Okay, I'm back.

I was raised in an ultra-traditional, conservative environment that offered me three options for my adult life: 1) get married and have children; 2) take care of old people; 3) be a schoolteacher for a fraction of the pay offered to any male counterparts for the same work. I did want option #1 but there just wasn't anyone I ever saw myself being interested in long-term and I really really wanted OUT of that lifestyle and its expectations of me, which I did eventually manage to buck.

That being said, after going to school and getting a job I realised that that just wasn't cutting it for me. I really really wanted a family. I met Mr B right after moving away from my parents. We got married 8 months later and then we got pregnant about a year after that (much much sooner than he had wanted). I however felt I NEEDED this child. I don't know why. I was desperate and in floods of tears and misery every single month because I just felt so... I dunno, empty. I was excited to be pregnant, it was an easy pregnancy, and I love the spicy little GooGoo I got out of the deal despite the fact that she has always been rather high-maintenance. I never knew I'd breastfeed her until 3 or that she'd fight bedtime like it was death every single night. I never foresaw the frustrations and the joys. there was a sort of detachment until she'd actually been born and been part of our lives for a few months and then finally I did feel I bonded with her and now I cannot imagine life without her. So that was strange, wanting her so much and then having that disconnect when she actually got here.

Lou Who on the other hand I did NOT want. I was just coming out of a severe bout of depression and we had planned to start trying in March or April but I conceived in November. I knew I had all kinds of issues I needed to work through (but I also didn't want the age gap to be much bigger between the two kids). So it was a miserable pregnancy, and a very intense birth, yet I instantly bonded with her and fell in love with her and she has been a model baby who sleeps well and is happy and gurgly and content pretty much all the time.

Two totally different kids. They haven't really cost us that much, so financially my life hasn't changed so much because of them specifically.

I am also very introverted and it's really hard (tr. impossible) to get any alone time in a 29 foot trailer. I love my family but find lately that I have to be creative in my coping mechanisms. that I like to have little secrets from them sometimes because it's one facet of my life that's mine and mine alone. (In my case, right now, the deep dark secret closet in my life is watching "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries", alone, with headphones, either at night or in the bathroom with the door locked. I know, so dramatic.) Whenever I get a chance to go to town by myself, I grab it. I don't have time or even interest in most of the things I used to do pre-kids, because right now they are my life and I don't have space let alone time.

Having two has helped me balance with GooGoo because I know that I'm a very obsessive person who easily gets too wrapped up in one thing. She has more personal space now that she isn't the only focus, and she and I are very alike and I think it benefits us both. I've gotten way more into cooking because it's something I have to do, so I've learned a *lot* in the last few years. On her first birthday I made latkes with eggs because I was scared to branch out and try anything new, but having put so much focus on cooking in the time since I feel very adventuresome with food and I'm not nearly as timid to just go for new flavours and ideas and am no longer dependent on any animal products - that's something when I met Mr B that I'd have laughed if anyone told me I'd be cooking vegan in under 5 years.
I'm trying to find a balance of being good mom but also functioning healthily outside of just my home, because that was part of what made my childhood so weird was the exclusiveness and superiority complex we developed out of that exclusiveness.

We don't have a big social life but we never really did before having kids, either. We try to go to church events as much as possible but the unfortunate fact is that usually these events are planned by people who don't have kids and have forgotten about things like bedtimes. Did take GooGoo to a birthday party once when it actually was on a day and time that we weren't otherwise occupied.

So anyway, that's what comes off the top of my head at the moment. I'm still a little off-kilter from being sick so I don't know if any of this even makes sense.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:47 pm 
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Thanks for this thread! It's nice to hear about the older parents out there. I'm 28 and I feel like I need 5-10 years before I can even think about having a kid seriously. My mom had me when she was 21, which is just unfathomable to me. I'm not enough of a grownup yet!

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:40 pm 
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I'm 27 and I am the youngest of all my mom friends! In my new mom's group the majority were 35 or over. A few were 40+. I actually feel kind of self-conscious, since 27 seems pretty young to have a baby nowadays.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:09 pm 
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b.vicious wrote:
Thanks for this thread! It's nice to hear about the older parents out there. I'm 28 and I feel like I need 5-10 years before I can even think about having a kid seriously. My mom had me when she was 21, which is just unfathomable to me. I'm not enough of a grownup yet!


Ha ha, I'm 40. The first boy (the Emperor) was born when I was 37.

Conveniently, C&S is a young slip of a thing.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:11 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
b.vicious wrote:
Thanks for this thread! It's nice to hear about the older parents out there. I'm 28 and I feel like I need 5-10 years before I can even think about having a kid seriously. My mom had me when she was 21, which is just unfathomable to me. I'm not enough of a grownup yet!


Ha ha, I'm 40. The first boy (the Emperor) was born when I was 37.

Conveniently, C&S is a young slip of a thing.



That is definitely how most people describe me. They usually mention how pretty my eyes are too.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:36 pm 
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mandycoot wrote:
I'm 27 and I am the youngest of all my mom friends! In my new mom's group the majority were 35 or over. A few were 40+. I actually feel kind of self-conscious, since 27 seems pretty young to have a baby nowadays.

I'm 33 and I have only one mom friend younger than me, she is 29. There is still so much time!


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:45 pm 
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c&s, i didn't realize you and i are the same age! the only other mom in my real life social circle who is the same age is 3 days younger than me, and her kiddo (who is the same age as tzipi) was accidentally conceived during a one night stand that turned into a whirlwind wedding in vegas! she's totally grown-up and staid now, but i've definitely felt like the odd one out for knowing i wanted kids young and being in a position to have them young.

how has parenting changed me? well, in some ways, a ton... i mean, my life kind of revolves around having a young family. but i really don't think i've changed at all... realistically, this really intense stage of having very young kids is very VERY short. before lydia was born and we got plunged back into infancy again, it was really quite amazing to see how much our life was changing back to "normal", just having the one older kid. mr bird and i were able to spend a lot of time together, we were able to spend time on our own interests and needs. that is what i really hold on to right now. it might be really tough and draining some days and i barely have time to do anything but eat and run around and clean up other people's shiitake, but it's going to change fast.

some days i feel nervous about how motherhood consumes me... i am going out for the evening with some friends this week... to a club, where presumably i will be required to talk to people about things other than my children, and i'm not sure i remember how (and do i have anything to wear that isn't stained or stretched out, and will i even be able to keep my eyes open??). i haven't worked out in months, i haven't done art in months or even finished a book.

one way that parenting had really changed me for the better is it's made me more ambitious. pre-kid, i would have been very happy to just roll along, taking little unchallenging jobs and waiting for motherhood to fulfill me. turns out, i don't want to be a stay at home parent, and i don't want to be 40 and doing a nice little mommy-track job. so now i push a little at work, think about what i need to do to get ahead, and in general i feel a little hungry for a good career.

i'm also not willing to take shiitake any more. i was reading a lot in this thread and the other one about women feeling uncomfortable or upset about their male partners and spouses not shouldering their fair burden of child rearing and housework. given how i was raised (very similarly to butterbobbin) it would have been very easy for me to just do all the cooking and the diaper changing and making all the doctor appointments and deciding what schools and activities my kids should be in. women's work. it took a little effort, but by the time tzipi turned 2, i'd given up a lot of the control i'd taken, over decisions relating to her, and demanded a lot more from mr bird in regards to him doing an equal share of the kid work. it is really working out well for us, i think. i don't think you have to assume that you as a woman will end up doing the majority of child rearing, but it does take some conscious work on both parents' parts to make it happen.

so, yes, completely and no, not at all. i think that answers it!


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:13 pm 
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I'm quite introverted and enjoy spending a lot of time alone, but I have actually found having a young baby to be very compatible with my personality! Especially in the first few months, I just didn't really feel like I was spending time with another person. It felt much more like I was caring for a little animal, which is something I've been used to doing for years. It's so interesting how other people have had such a different experience. Maybe it has a lot to do with our babies' personalities. I think Scarlett must be similar to Walter, because she is also very content to sit and play with toys and go for quiet walks. We have basically never socialized with other parents and babies so far in her 8 months, and she doesn't seem to be missing anything, and my partner and I (who split child care hours pretty evenly) don't feel like we're lacking in social interaction or support, either. I can definitely see how c&s's experience was so different because of your kid's personality. I anticipate that as introverts it might start to be more challenging for us as Scarlett gets older and we need to interact with other parents more.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:15 pm 
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@butterbobbin- my grandfather, who i never met, was called GooGoo by the family [i just found out a few months ago.]. it's nice to hear the name used.

RE: how did people who had kids decide to do it?
having one kid was a goal on my list of goals (that type A thing at work). I wanted to be a young-ish parent, and found the best candidate for fatherhood by the time i was 25. I don't want to minimize the relationship, which is/was valuable in itself (if complicated, but which one isn't), but i think for me the kid was the motivating factor and i was willing to have a kid with or without a partner, and make it happen however possible.

i wanted to talk about being an introvert and needing space. it was very hard to carve out space for myself when the kids were young, and if i hadn't dedicated time and effort to therapy and mental health i don't think i would have had any space to myself in my free time; but i was very lucky in that i went back to work when the kids were quite small and i was able to have a professional life independent of my family responsibilities.
my daughter has grown up to be an introvert, and very similar to me. she's a great traveling companion, and when i take my own "alone vacations" she recently has started coming with me to discover how to get her own refreshment from peace and quiet. we've had glorious trips where she, i and my mother go camping with a stack of library books and sit on the lakeside, reading quietly side by side and drinking tea, three peas in a pod.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:06 pm 
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We're in this weird age pocket where all of Shae's friends parents are way older than we are and all of Silas' are way younger. So basically I feel obnoxiously young or hideously old all of the time.

torque, the reading by the lake trips with your daughter and mom sound like magic <3

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:33 pm 
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Since the babies, I have become more emotionally volatile and short-tempered. I already had a temper, but I had it pretty much under control. Now, I think largely due to the unending imposition of other people's needs on my own, and lack of sleep, I get pissy pretty easily. And I also get all sniffly and weepy at the stupidest damn things.

I'm not really sure what to do about this.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:37 pm 
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I think my idea of what parenthood is has changed and matured. I very strongly did not want to be a mother for 34 years. I never expected to change my mind about having a kid and my friends and family were shocked by the news of my pregnancy.

I think I was worried most about losing myself in bullshiitake roles of what a woman and mother can be in our patriarchal society. It doesn't help that I work in a female dominated institution where most of my colleagues are very traditional with gender and sex norms.

But then I realized that I don't have to follow in that path of least resistance. I never have with anything else, so why would I with parenting? My partner and I are interested in working against stereotypes in parenting and I think we have done a really good job so far. I work full time and he is staying home with the baby for now. We share chores and responsibilities and we build in free time for each other. I don't feel like my future choices are hampered or limited by becoming a parent in this partnership that we have created. And like mitten said before, I have done the nightlife thing and was well over it before I decided to have a baby.

Something else that is more clear to me now is that this whole baby/child thing is going to last like a minute. This is just one small part of my life. It's the most important part of my life and I care deeply about it, but I am already morning how short it will be and I am moving on with my personal development not only to be happy, but to be a good role model to babynut.

I'm overwhelmed by my awe of the consequences of my choice to become a parent. It's one of those things in life that is full of risk and uncertainty. That's certainly not for everyone. I work with kids and parents in my job and I often wish people would think more about becoming parents before they do. I am glad that I realized that it was a risk that should take. I love my daughter so much it hurts.

Another way I have changed is I'm more thoughtful about how much I wish certain policies in our society/culture need to change for fathers. I don't think women should be having to make so many difficult decisions to become a mother while fathers can remain largely carefree. Workplace policies should expect that mothers and fathers will shoulder the responsibility of parenthood if they so choose. Career expectations (work hours, etc) should reflect the humane reality that everyone has (can?) a life outside of work. I'm tired of all the arguments being about what women should or shouldn't be doing. It's time to scruntinize what fathers are/are not doing.

Oh, and this going to sound stupid, but I have learned so much about what it means to be human if that makes any sense. Stop me before I start singing the Circle of Life, but I understand my mother so much more and watching this little person grow and change from the beginning is just amazing for understanding people better. I guess I'm more compassionate, too.

And yes, I too cannot watch movies or hear news reports about violence and children without having a major upset.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:06 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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Location: Brasil
solipsistnation wrote:
largely due to the unending imposition of other people's needs on my own, and lack of sleep, I get pissy pretty easily.

i hear that this gets better when the kids have their own children and you can laugh at them, but i've got no citations to back me up on this.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:57 am 
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Not NOT A Furry

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Posts: 496
I think since my children (now 7,5&2) have been around I've had to start walking the walk. I know they're watching so I'm more straightforward and honest with myself than I used to be. I'm another introvert and I would have been annoyingly indirect about addressing problems, now I'm more open and my relationships have improved as a result. I'm also less inclined to tolerate my own moral inconsistencies- hence becoming vegan. If I were to summarise I would say that I'm still me, but I've stopped faffing around, I'm better at being me than I was!

Tiredness has made me act in ways I'm not proud of, I never thought I'd shout at a five year old, but on balance I'm more patient and kind I think. This small kids phase is stressful and if I can manage to be this patient now then I think that by the time they leave home I'll be positively zen!

I've got more creative about time to myself: my phone is a little mobile haven. I can tune out (at appropriate moments, like when everyone is watching a film) and be in a space made from my adult interests.


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