Parents Share: How has becoming a parent change you for the better (or worse!)?
Parenting is an exciting life-transforming chapter.
It can unearth character traits or skills you never knew existed, and turn you into a new person you never imagined possible. Has becoming a parent changed you for the better, or for the worse? Let’s hear it from these mums in Singapore who share their earnest transformations and experiences!
The most obvious change after becoming a parent would be physical ones for mothers. After nine months of skin stretching to accommodate a growing baby and belly, some things may not revert to what they were before.
Mum of two toddlers, Jingyi Gab says looking at herself in the mirror and accepting those scars and stretched tummy are some changes that took some getting used to since pregnancy. This mama acknowledges that they are her badge of honour and feels that these physical scars portray the truth about unconditional love.
For Lup Wai who home-schools both her kids, she gamely accepts that the “haggard look” comes with being a mum who has witnessed the “ups and downs of looking after kids “, as “having children makes life even more colourful, interesting and exciting!”
Patience and temper – lost or found?
With children, situations may take unexpected turns which catch parents unawares. You may find yourself breathing through gritted teeth and struggle to remain calm when dealing with the kids. When that happens, patience run thin and tempers are lost, or found?
Mums agree that after having kids, they undergo self-discovery and revelation…only to learn more about themselves. Patience, or the lack of, is an understated hidden gem!
The worse bit for Joanne, mum of 2, is “discovering I have less patience and worse temper than I thought I did. Now, I (try) to be more patient, choose kinder words and generally being more aware of my “triggers!”
Andrea Kang Gruszka seconds Joanne’s revelation: “I go from Jekyll to Hyde in a matter of seconds – it takes VERY little to antagonise me now!”
While it takes a conscious effort to hold their tongues and minds before firing away, mums also realise that their children are mirrors of their teachings. For Yvonne Mardiana whose girls are in primary school, she admits that she “became more aware of how mean and how loud I can be from my children’s reminders.”
Days before children came into the picture, it might have been easy to judge other parents when their kids throw tantrums in public. After becoming a mum, Lai Xiuli who has two young children understands that some situations are trickier than others. She compares them to “infantry training” (as the kids) train my energy level, my patience and train me to see things with an open-mind. Guess that changes me to be a better person? Children definitely add lots of colours and laughter into our lives.
”For new mum, Nerissa Lewis, despite the sleep deprivation, she feels that becoming a mother has made a better loving person with the new perspective and meaning in life.
“You become more aware of what’s going on in the world just because you want “it” to be a better place for your children,” she adds.
As Andrea rounds it up, “Everyday I’m pushed to consciously choose love – love is not an emotion, it is a choice. Patience, self-giving, tolerance, optimism are thankfully by-products of having chosen to love.”
Making decisions and managing time
Naturally, decisions made are usually in the best interest of your children. That includes deciding to eat healthily, go for more vegetables and be the right role models in front of your kids. Mum of 3, Clarissa Chen shares that she has since become “more aware on food choices”. Late night suppers and date nights with the husband is also a thing of the past as part of their marriage! Turning into a picky eater no more because “the kids are watching me at meal times”, says Jessica.
Candidly revealed by mum of a toddler, Serynn Guay, “I’ve (become) better at multi-tasking and generally more tolerant of work, because nothing, NOTHING (including coordinating a 1000 pax event involving Ministers) at work is more challenging than getting a toddler to eat vegetables.” Suddenly, no mountain is too high to climb at work! Much have been said about time management skills being sharpened too, regardless of the size of your brood, right?
As Evangeline Yang, mother of 2, shares about motherhood, she has become more patient, more loving and more creative.
Taking creativity skills on a spin
If Home Economics was your Achilles heel back in school, fast forward to parenthood, you would have probably braved the kitchen fire for your kids. Well, you might have also learned to read nutrition labels, researched tons about superfoods or even put together creative and delicious lunchboxes for your kids on a regular basis!
To that, Yvonne agrees that becoming a parent “improves my creativity in cooking, arts and imagination”, skills which might not been used to describe her prior to starting a family.
Creativity skills are also sharpened and used in unexpected ways as Jessica Kong shares.
“I gained the ability to tell smooth white lies without flinching when asked about the whereabouts of their pacifier, tv remote, kinder surprise egg…,” she reveals.
“Looking at my children with love, taking care of them takes so much effort and knowing you would do anything for them opened up my eyes to how my parents took care of me,” confesses Yvonne. “Be appreciative of the time spent with your spouse, your children and your own parents.” It takes a village to raise a family, just as it has been for our parents themselves.
After all the days are long, and the years are short. First time mum, Melissa Goh agrees wholeheartedly that she enjoys the positive changes in herself.
“The feeling that we give selflessly really applies here,” she shares.
At the end of the day, parents continuously strive to become better individuals and better parents. All in a bid towards loving our children more with each day, as we nurture and raise world-ready children with each tantrum, spice and everything in between!