YO MAMA: 10 ways having a kid has made me a better person
I’m not talking about all those cliches about unconditional love and selflessness. This isn’t that list.
I’ve realized that having a kid naturally leads to many positive lifestyle changes. By virtue of always role modelling for our kids, we end up striving to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. That means making healthier choices and focussing daily on the things that matter most for our happiness.
Think of these personal transformations as little bonuses for all the sleepless nights, stress and emotional turmoil our kids put us through.
10 actual ways having a kid made me a healthier, happier person
(also achievable by not having kids and devoting your life to self-care)
1. Good sleep hygiene: After having a baby, I learned to truly value the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. In the process of teaching my kid to sleep like a baby, I learned a lot about calming, predictable bedtime routines and the magic of going to bed at the same time every night. I will never, ever, take an eight hour sleep for granted again.
2. Better communication skills: I always use my very best vocabulary and model proper enunciation in an attempt to boost language skills in my child. That’s got to be good for your brain, right?
3. As a parent, I pay much closer attention to food labels. I choose lower sugar recipes and add less salt to my cooking. I am much more aware of eating a balanced diet and having healthy snacks available in the house.
4. I wash my hands more and take steps to avoid getting sick. I can't afford to get run down with a busy toddler to care for.
5. I drive safer. Nothing like a precious baby in the back seat to remind you to stick to the speed limit and avoid checking that text message.
6. My flossing and teeth brushing routine is down pat. Because I want my son to have good oral hygiene, I know I need to brush and floss in solidarity. That means no more coffee breath or skipped bedtime brushing.
7. Helping my son through toddler tantrums has taught me to label feelings. It’s incredibly helpful for kids, and adults too.
8. Putting my cell phone away. My phone’s “daily screen time report” has plummeted since having a kid. There’s just no time for meaningless scrolling anymore.
9. Embracing a “Do it Yourself” attitude. Whether it’s giving my son a home haircut or fixing a broken toy, I’ve improved my DIY skills and saved money in the process.
10. Realizing that everyone is someone’s baby. Woah. This was a biggie for me and the only semi-sentimental item on this list. I know it’s kind of obvious — how else would they get here — but reflecting on my own experience as a mother, and the bond I have with my child, has made me feel empathy for others in a way I didn’t before.
So, thanks kid for inspiring me to take better care of myself so I can take better care of you. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying.
— Charlotte Helston gave birth to her first child, a rambunctious little boy, in the spring of 2021. Yo Mama is her weekly reflection on the wild, exhilarating, beautiful, messy, awe-inspiring journey of parenthood.
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