Motherhood takes you by surprise in all kinds of ways on a daily basis, from the big to the small. I was not someone who always knew they wanted to become a mother, so the fact that I took to it with a lot more ease than I could have anticipated was in itself a cool surprise for me. Now that Sloan is crawling and saying Mama and Dada (though not always to the right person), I've been reflecting on what has surprised me the most about being a mom for the first time.
Surprise #1: My anxiety got better, not worse.
I feel like most people go through their lives pretty normal and carefree, and once they have kids, they become a lot more anxious because everything feels more high-stakes when you've got this whole life you're responsible for. Strangely, I found the exact opposite to be the case for me. I was anxious my entire life, but since having my baby, my anxiety has completely stabilized. I think it goes back to our chill parents, chill baby parenting mantra, whereby the more chill I am the more chill she is. Obviously I worry about Sloan, but when things are good, I'm not searching for things to be nervous about the way I did before I had her. Understandably, it's been a wonderful and wholly surprising outcome of motherhood for me.
Surprise #2: I identify with the mom in TV shows and movies now.
This might sound really obvious, but it was super unexpected for me to find myself identifying with the mom characters in movies and TV shows as soon as I gave birth to Sloan. I watched Stepmom on a plane recently, and when I'd watched it as a teenager, what scared me most was the thought of losing my mom. This time, it made me think about my own mortality in a completely different way. Similarly, growing up watching My So-Called Life, I'd always found Angela Chase's mom to be such a buzzkill. She was stern, structured, and not the cool one. I recently watched an episode of it, and couldn't believe how much my perspective had shifted. Instead of resenting her, I found myself thinking, "I get it. She's just trying to do her best."
Surprise #3: It doesn't feel like a sacrifice.
In contrast to those people you meet who just ooze maternal vibes, I was never that girl. So before I had Sloan, I thought I might be bitter about giving up aspects of my life. But I was surprised to find how happy I am doing things like attending music class with her and simply lying around on the floor together. This Sunday, instead of having a leisurely boozy brunch with friends, we were at the park with her and it was so fulfilling and sweet. It's not to say that every single second is fun and games, but I couldn't be happier to do anything and everything for Sloan.