10 Ways Having Kids Changed My Life

having kids changed my life, Shannon Bradley Colleary
“You’re smiling now Mom, but just wait until I Ninja Slap those elderly cheeks.” “Is that so, Grasshopper? Or have you met your Ninja Slapping match!”

When the nurse placed my first swaddled newborn on my chest right after I gave birth, I believe the first words out of my mouth to my husband were, “I am so f#@ked.”

And I still feel that way.

Because before kids I was pretty invulnerable.

I worried about things like being carjacked at the intersection of LaBrea and Pico Blvd. coming out of Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles (no biggie if I’ve got the takeout with me).

I worried about contracting cancer from the spirulina in my wheat-free, vegan ciabatta from Whole Foods.

I worried wearing g-strings might give me lady candida. (Just ask The Pussycat Dolls).

And while I also worried something bad might happen to my husband, nothing compared to the raw, savage worry that overwhelmed me when they put that first baby in my arms.

Because nothing bad could ever happen to that little person.

Do you hear me God? Nothing! Yes, I know I haven’t prayed since that time I begged you not to let the fireman break up with me.  

And I know you were right to not intervene, because had I married him I would’ve come home from work after our nuptials to find six Geishas in bed with him.

However, nothing bad can ever happen to this child!

When the nurse came in to tell me that they needed to prick my baby’s heel in order to test her for jaundice, it was all Henry could do to keep me from Hannibal Lecter-ing her tongue right out of her mouth.

(BTW my pristine child did not have jaundice. As if.)

Here they are; the good, the bad and the ugly ways having kids changed my life.

1. Before kids, my career was unfulfilling. 

After kids, I have no career.

2. Before kids, I was vain.

After kids, I’m vain. Wait. Oh. Well, maybe after grandchildren I won’t be vain anymore?

3. Before kids, I had feeling in my nipples.

After nursing two kids, they no longer feel anything and are simply just for show.

4. Before kids, I cared what men thought of me.

After kids, I care what women think of me.

5. Before kids, I swore there would be no family bed. 

After kids, every living creature in our house is in our bed by 5 a.m.

6. Before kids, I wanted to be rich and famous.

After kids, I want to be financially secure and respected by my peers.

7. Before kids, I didn’t like kids.

After kids, I have to stop myself from sneaking up behind a mother with a newborn and trying to sniff a hit of baby scent off his head without detection.

8. Before kids, I loved my husband. 

After kids, I’d take a bullet for him, because he’s the best father I’ve ever seen.

He dances a rather embarrassing jig every time his girls kiss him goodnight. Which means maybe they won’t be attracted to philandering firemen when they grow up.

"Young Sensei, don't make me Ninja Slap you." "Don't make me Ninja Block you, oh elderly one."
“Young Sensei, don’t make me Ninja Slap you.” “Don’t make me Ninja Block you, oh elderly one.”
9. Before kids, I found myself amusing.

After kids, I’m my favorite comedian.

The other night, I taught Clare how to Ninja Slap, which is a Three Stooges type of … well … basically slapping someone. (It’s really fun.)

But then she became better at Ninja Slapping than me! (As my cheeks can attest.)

And when we both attempted to Ninja Slap my younger daughter, Bridget, we were shocked at how swiftly Bridget could Ninja Block, then Ninja Slap, then make Clare and me Ninja Cry.

10. Before kids, I was floating and directionless. 

After kids, my life took on a deeper meaning. For 36 years I was my main responsibility. And I liked it that way for approximately 34 of those years.

I woke up on my 34th birthday inexplicably sick of myself.

I was sick of thinking about how to fix myself. I was sick of trying to succeed. I was sick of my free time and sleeping in and never cooking.

And although having two daughters 22 months apart derailed my ambitions and made me hungry, sleepy and scared, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

193 thoughts on “10 Ways Having Kids Changed My Life”

  1. Having children has made me appreciate the small moments. Before I had kids, I seemed to be in a rush all the time and anxious to move onto the next thing. Now I wish I could freeze time.

  2. Even more that reading fiction, having a kid means occasionally being willing to suspend your disbelief. When she was 3 and calling out the things she saw as we drove past them, I always scanned the skies when she called out “space ship!” Was she seeing into another dimension? A different wavelength of light? It took me a while to figure out that she saw a boat parked in someone’s yard…

  3. I forget how much having my son has changed me until I try to think of my life before he was born. What did I do in the evenings and on weekends? He helps me see joy in mundane chores, whether it be the fun of throwing a diaper in the trash (don’t try to help him! He’s got it) or his emphatic banging on the horse feed tub when it’s pony dinner time. He makes all the little moments in the day seem magical.

  4. Becoming a mother uncovered a more meaningful motivation to succeed and redefined the meaning of that success.

  5. Having kids made me realize how much my parents love me. Prior to that you have no idea until you have kids of own. It created a much greater respect and understanding for them…And number 7…guilty!

  6. My kids changed me for the better because I spend more time outdoors enjoying nature with them, and they are always pointing out little things to me, so I observe more.

  7. I loved your observations. Having kids has definitely taught me to not sweat the small stuff. All problems get resolved somehow.

  8. I find myself less reckless/liable to behave in a manner dangerous to my own health since having kids – I have a horror of traumatizing them or leaving them motherless!

  9. My niece and nephew have taught me to appreciate the people in my life and recognize the importance of relationships. They also have taught me to make a conscious effort to be happy and pleasure the little things in life. They have taught me not to take life too seriously and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  10. Margaret Smith

    Being a parent has made me be more responsible and patient. Thanks so much.

    rickpeggysmith(at)aol(dot)com

  11. Having kids made me realize it was really possible to love someone unconditionally – even when they screamed endlessly in the night; even when they colored masterpieces on the living room wall; even when they decided that they didn’t have to do homework, ever; even when told me I was an embarrassment to them; even when they stayed out past curfew and I stayed up all night worrying. The best thing about having kids was when they grew to adulthood and let me know that I had done a good job and they loved me unconditionally too.

  12. Having a child has given me carte blanche to be just as silly as I want with no repercussions, because hey, it’s all about expanding her mind.

  13. My kids have taught me better critical thinking as well as making me better at compromising 🙂   I need both in order to watch out for my kids best interests, as well as balancing freedom with good choices 🙂 

  14. my kids have changed me for the better because i try to be a good example and role model for them, so i am more aware of doing the right things at the right times.

  15. Having children has taught me patience, which was a big problem for me. You cannot be impatient with children at all, and with my new-found patience, it has made other areas of my life better, especially relationships with others. I find the care of children rewarding and watching them grow and change is wonderful.

  16. Yes, they’ve given me a newfound appreciation for life.
    I was pretty depressed until I met my husband and then had my children. I am so happy with them.

  17. I don’t have my own kids but the kids at my job remind me that people are resilient in the face of life.

  18. I have learned that even 30 years later you don’t stop worrying. The biggest thing I learned is that the best part of having kids is the GRANDkids!

  19. I don’t have kids, but I have a grandson. I am so much more patient and understanding when he’s around.

  20. I have two daughters and they have changed my life unimaginably so. They’ve shown me how to love and be intimate and selfless. I thought the world revolved around me, now it revolves around them! Everything I do I think about them first, and I never knew I could have so much love for two little ones but my heart always melts when I give them a little kiss or a hug, and they are so precious to me.

  21. My son has brought me so much happiness, joy, and the ability to understand real love. He’s the light of my life, and I am so happy that I am his mom.

  22. We tried for a year to have a baby, and then finally found out we were having twins. They have changed our lives for the better. My husband and I have gotten closer to God because of the things we went through trying to get pregnant and my son being in the Nicu (5 weeks early).
    We do not drink anymore, we are more patient, we both appreciate the little things in life more, and we just dedicate our lives and time to our kids. They are such a blessing and truly are the GREATEST gift!!
    Thank you!!
    faithrains2387 (At) Yahoo.com

  23. Before children I was selfish, self-centered, unreasonable, and hard. I’m completely opposite now. I melt just thinking of my children. Each day is hope and wishes for them. It pleases me to get that unfiltered hug and smile.

  24. My girls have made me stronger. They’ve taught me that I am strong enough
    to stand up for myself and them. I have to be willing to go that extra mile for
    them because no one else will. I can’t stand back and not say anything like I use to because I don’t want anyone hurting my child. Thank you!

  25. Having children has taught me how to really love others and have empathy, sympathy and compassion. Motherhood has been the most fulfilling job I have ever had.

  26. Having my daughter made me a more patient person. I was always pretty patient, but with her I learned to make sure I slowed down and enjoy every moment and wait for things, most everything is worth the wait

  27. A hilarious & thoughtful post as always, Shannon.

    Since having Lucy exactly 3 years ago, I’m less of a perfectionist. I want her to know she can make mistakes and not have to get everything right, so I’ve had to consciously change this tendency in myself…which is an ongoing challenge!

  28. Having children changed me in so many ways, I definitely became less selfish but more importantly I realized I had to take better care of myself because I was responsible for more than just my happiness in life.

  29. They have taught me true love, patience, motivation, kindness and that we should enjoy every moment in this life!

  30. I only have a furbaby, I was unfortunate and couldn’t carry. But, she is our joy and she brings so much love and happiness to our life.

  31. Because I had my daughter at such a young age, I had to grow up quite quickly and become a responsible adult and parent.

  32. Having children taught me to try harder to be patient. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded yet. Just think of getting 5 children under 6 years old dressed and out of the house on time. Yeah, allow an extra hour in the planning stage.

  33. My son has made me a much more patient person, and he makes me take the time to stop and appreciate the little things.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  34. They make you slow down and see the world from a different view. It seems that until you have kids you don’t appreciate the little things…..things you used to just walk by and never gave a thought to.

  35. Once I had kids I became less self-centered, got to feel what it was like to be a kid again, made me see the world in a much different way, made me value my own life more, it made my relationship with my husband, parents and sisters even stronger and overall I feel like I feel emotions even stronger.

  36. My kids have made me to constantly strive to be the best mom I can…I quit smoking 5 years ago for them…I’m always trying to set a positive example for them. I was an adventure seeker before them…now I’m much more cautious about EVERYTHING!

  37. Douglas Houston

    I tend to be a spur of the moment person but having kids changed that for good. You have to plan things out, you have to bring this, that and the other thing. When a kid has to pee, they mean Now not ten minutes from now.

  38. My kids have changed me for the better by making me see life through their young eyes, kids are so positive and see the best in life and other people.

  39. Lance A Pearson

    I quit smoking for my little 4 year old daughter because she asked me. After 26 years of the habit I kicked it for her..I want to see her grow up!

  40. I feel like having kids made me live in the moment, and taught me what was really important. Being a mom is the best thing in my life. I love my kids more than anything.
    4mariemh atgmaildot com

  41. My kids have changed me completely. The minute I had my first son I knew that the world wasn’t all about me anymore. For the first time I experienced true selflessness. I have 3 grown sons and 2 grandsons now and they are the most important things in the world to me.

  42. My son teaches me to live, laugh and love more and more each day. The day he entered this world I became selfless for him. He will be 9 coming up in May and I cannot believe how many ways my life has changed in those 9 years…but all in all he still remains to be the light of my life.

  43. I don’t have any kids of my own unless you count cats, but I am an Aunt. My nephew has taught me the joys of life and patience.

  44. my kids have changed my life for the better by showing me how to enjoy the little things in life. life is too short to be mad, just smile and have a good time.

  45. Having kids has taught me so much, and helped me become the woman I am today. It is a learning and living process every single day. Losing one of those precious kids has taught me even more than I can imagine. Children are such a gift to be cherished. Becoming a mother is one of the most single, most wonderful things in the world. The death of a child doesn’t change the fact that you will always be a mom, because that doesn’t stop with their passing.

  46. Tina d Reynolds

    I understand love so much more and the future is even more important I have a million times more patience. I also use to wish for time to fly by (growup) and now I wish it would slow down. 

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