8 ways that motherhood has changed me

Baby E & me
Bebe (4.5 months) and myself at our family photoshoot

1. I became a light sleeper — but only when it comes to Bebe.

Ask anyone who’s ever spent a night with me, and they’ll tell you the same thing. It’s incredibly difficult to wake me. No alarm clock is ever effective on me.

My husband is a loud snorer (so loud that he can be heard from the living room) yet I can sleep soundly snuggled up beside him.

At the same time, I wake up at my baby’s slightest whimper.

It’s incredible and I don’t know why it’s possible to happen that I can do both (sleep to my husband’s snoring and wake to my baby’s whimpering) but it’s true and I can’t explain it and it’s just so darn amazing to me.

2. I found out that I can survive on so little sleep.

At six months old, my baby still wakes up several times a night. I work full-time. Sometimes I wonder how I’m able to (mostly) function with the little, broken sleep that I get night after night.

There was a time when I was seriously considering sleep training as an option, but I’m back to “I think I can bear with it.” She sleeps in a cot beside our bed, so I still have to get up when she wakes. Sometimes I nurse her to sleep, sometimes a little patting and rubbing is all she needs, and sometimes she’s so wide awake that I need to rock her to get her drowsy. It’s only those moments (once a night, at most) when she just wouldn’t go to sleep, not even after nursing or  rocking her for close to an hour, that sleep training thoughts crawl into my head.

3. I discovered the strength of my arms.

According to the growth chart published by the Singapore government, Bebe is at the 97th percentile in weight. My sister tells me that my 6-month old is heavier than her almost-3-year-old child.

I used to think that I could not possibly rock her when her weight reaches 8kg (~18 lbs). Her weight is now almost 9kg (~20 lbs) and I’m still able to rock her to sleep. The only exception would be these once-a-night incidents where she’d sometimes become sleep-resistant: wouldn’t fall asleep to nursing or rocking. When I’ve rocked her for close to an hour, my arms start to ache. When I reach this point, I cave in, wake my husband up, and ask for help.

4. I found myself caring much about how my baby looks, but I don’t mind going out knowing I look dishevelled.

Her clothes are awesome, thanks to the generosity of my family and friends. When we go out, she’d look so incredibly put together, while I look like I just rolled off of bed. And I don’t care.

5. I’ve become less affectionate towards my husband.

This one is kind of tough to admit, but it’s true. My patience with him has become short. I get snappy. I demand more. I expect more.

It takes a bit of effort to remind myself to keep our relationship healthy. Just because I’m tired doesn’t mean I can snap at him for the little things. I need to learn to take a moment, take a breath, before responding. Sometimes that one intake of air is all it takes to make me react appropriately.

6. I found myself wanting to be home early.

Bebe is an early-to-bed, early-to-rise baby. She’s down by 7pm, and up for the day at 6:30am, with several wakings in between. Sometimes it’s a little inconvenient because you get to say “no” to most dinner invites. But I’m not complaining. This schedule gives us “me” time to unwind at the end of they day — and I think it’s what keeps us sane.

When we do go out with Bebe with us, we’ll definitely be home around 5pm.

When I go to the office, I don’t get to be the one to put her to bed because I don’t make it in time for her bedtime routine. Instead, I try to be home by 9pm.

7. I’ve become one of those parents on your social media feeds.

Yes, all my posts are about my cute baby. I flood your feed with her cuteness.

8. I’ve become to appreciate mothers more. Especially single moms, stay-at-home moms, and nannies included.

Raising a baby is an extremely demanding task, and I am saying this from the point of view of a married woman blessed with a nanny to help me out with a single baby. I don’t know how people cope with a child with special needs, multiple children, and/or with little help.

To anyone who’s ever raised a child: I am amazed by you. You are incredible.

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