It's amazing how people's perceptions of you change once you become a mom. While many aspects of my life did change, who I was at my core did not.
1. My name didn't change to Mommy.
My kids might call me Mom, Mama, or Mommy, because I am their mother, but that's not the name on my driver's license. Just call me by my first name, or Ms. Spohr if you're nasty.
2. I did not magically have all of the answers.
When I was a kid, I thought parents were handed a book that held the answers to every question in the universe. I kind of feel cheated.
3. I did not become better than anyone else.
Becoming a parent didn't make me better than anyone else on Earth... it just made me a mom.
4. My time did not become more valuable than anyone else's.
If anything, I'm much more cognizant of how I use the limited amount of time I get each day, and more appreciative when others spend their precious time with me.
5. I did not give up on my personal hopes and dreams.
I am still a person who wants to accomplish things, find a measure of success, and achieve my dreams. Having kids was only one of my dreams, and I think it's OK to still hope for the rest of my dreams, too (even if I'm probably never going to be a backup singer for Gwen Stefani).
6. I did not stop having interests.
Some of them have evolved, and some might have dropped away, but I still find things other than my kids to care about! Imagine that. I am a better person (and by extension, a better parent) for having hobbies, passions, and pursuits.
7. I did not stop wanting to hang out with my friends.
It's harder now, for sure. We all have a million obligations and things to consider, but the time I get with my friends is precious and golden.
8. I didn't lose interest in sex.
I am a mom but I am also a wife, and I still enjoy all that that entails. I like to look good -- sometimes I even like to look sexy! I might cover up more than I did when I was in my 20s, but that's gravity's fault.
9. I did not suddenly believe children are the key to true happiness.
I don't believe that children are the only way to find true happiness, or to experience true love. What makes me happy may not make someone else happy. Kids are not for everyone. Some of the best people I know aren't parents.
10. My life didn't become perfect.
I think this one is pretty obvious. From the outside, someone's life might look good, but you never know what battles they're fighting. I have the family I always wanted, but not the way I wanted it. No one's life is perfect.
11. I didn't start trying to master it all.
I know there's a lot of pressure out there to "do it all" as a parent, but that's just not my jam. I choose to focus on what I'm good at and not worry about my shortcomings. For example, I don't throw big parties to make other parents feel bad; I throw them because I enjoy entertaining -- and I think I'm pretty good at it. Life would be a lot easier if everyone stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses.
12. I didn't stop valuing myself.
Not even a little bit.
Read more from Heather at The Spohrs Are Multiplying.