Thunk! Bam! Thunk! Pshhhhh.
As my car screeched to a halt, my purse and a large grocery bag went sliding off the seat, flinging all their contents onto the floor. Credit cards. Makeup. Veggie chips. Carton of almond milk. Basket of peaches. Everything.
“What the f**k, you f**king d**k?!”
I shouted, honked, and threw up my middle-finger at the blue mini-van who had abruptly cut me off to exit the I-294 off-ramp. If I could have reached one of the five peaches rolling around on the floor, I would have thrown it at their car.
Continuing to curse under my breath, I was livid that this inconsiderate jerk was willing to put lives in danger to dart across the highway, instead of just waiting for the next exit.
Turning the dial, I blared my music to drown out my frustrations, then rolled the windows down for a burst of fresh, suburbia air to slap myself back into my previous happy-go-lucky state.
Clearly, this wasn’t one of my most proud moments. Unfortunately, those kinds of outbursts would happen a lot. Road rage. Impatience. Frustration. Throughout my adult life, I was overworked, underappreciated, stressed, and anxious.
Then, what I thought was a good life graduated into an even grander life: motherhood.
Becoming a mother changed my life.
I am not that person cursing at the cars around me feeling like I somehow have it harder than everyone else. I am not that person who is rolling my eyes when I must wait for more than a few minutes in the grocery line. I am not that person who gets frustrated when a friend cancels plans last-minute. I am not that person who splurges on clothes, makeup, and getting pampered, striving for perfection.
That person is not me anymore.
Here are several ways a baby changed my life for the better.
I’m more compassionate.
We’re all fighting battles. Sleep battles, identity battles, work battles, potty-training battles, financial battles. Lots of different battles. When I encounter an angry person now in the store or an agitated mother on a playdate, I try to imagine the hurdles they may have faced today, yesterday, or in their life overall. We can’t perform optimally 24/7, we all experience mechanical breakdowns. I have learned to exercise compassion for those whose battles have caused them to run out of fuel.
I’m more appreciative.
I’m tired. I’m sore. I’m exhausted. I have a temperamental baby on my hip. Whether it’s brewing my morning cup of coffee before I make it to the kitchen or offering to push my cart of groceries to my car because I must console my screaming baby, I so appreciate you. I’m no longer invincible, taking on every task under the sun because they say, “if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.” I accept help and have the utmost gratitude for anyone who wants to make my life a little easier. Thank you so much.
I’m less selfish.
I don’t need that new Anthropologie dress, that $125 miracle shake, or that new, hip cell phone. I am content with giving my all to my little one. Having a child has brought so much joy to my life that, in the grand scheme of things, nothing else matters. I can live without this and that. I can meet you here or there. Do you need to borrow some diaper wipes? I can do whatever works for you because, honestly, I have all that I need in my arms. Even that bag of peaches.