How Becoming A Mom Changed Me

How Becoming A Mom Changed Me

Eight ways that motherhood has altered my perspective for the better.

When I was pregnant this summer I knew that my life was going to change. I accepted it. I posted on Facebook: "I don't want to be the kind of person who refuses to let a baby change them, who tries SO HARD to preserve their pre-baby self just to prove something." And that's still true, even though I'm adamant about retaining my own identity. But I had no idea how much I would change. Obviously, I knew that I would have more responsibilities. I would have to change diapers, make bottles, comfort a crying baby, etc. But that wasn't even the beginning.

Here are some of the ways that being a mom has changed me:

I have no filter.

A friend recently wrote an article that, among other things, said this about how mothers talk: "Moms get real. I'm not sure what makes so many of my Mom Friends so blunt. Maybe it's the experience of childbirth that cured them of shame. Maybe it's the difference in priorities. But I know I never have to ask them to be honest with me: they already are. They never try to baby me with sugar-coated criticism because they have a baby to coddle at home."

And it's very true. I find myself sitting in class and taking the discussion to places most of my classmates are clearly not comfortable with (ex: talking about how the sensations of breastfeeding and sex are similar), but that's just the way my brain works now.

I have no patience.

Having a child and being in college can make you lose patience with a lot of things and a lot of people. When someone starts talking about how they have an allowance or how they stayed up until four a.m. or how they have a crush but they're too much of a pansy to do anything about it...I can't handle it. I do not have the time or energy to deal with that kind of nonsense. I have other, more important priorities in my life.

My work ethic has improved ten-fold.

I used to be like most college students: glorifying busy, waiting until the last minute to write an eight-page paper, going to bed at midnight, forgetting to eat breakfast, etc. I don't have that luxury anymore. What that means is: I work diligently and in increments on all of my papers so that when it comes time to pick my daughter up from daycare and go home, I have nothing more to do and can devote all of my time and attention to her and my family; I go to bed when she does because that's the only way I'm guaranteed any sleep whatsoever; I also get up when she does, which is usually six or seven o'clock, meaning by the time I get to my eleven o'clock class I am ravenous, so yes, I eat breakfast. The end result: I am often done with my assignments on time or even beforehand and am more well rested and well fed than my baby-free peers.

Things that used to matter don't anymore.

Obviously, changing diapers doesn't phase me anymore. Before my daughter was born, babies grossed me out. Now I wipe her nose with my hand and I don't give a damn. Doing my makeup used to be a priority, now only special occasions warrant eyeliner. And none of that matters to me anymore. Honestly, I don't miss it.

I care about things I never thought I would.

Watching my daughter try to put a pacifier in her mouth (right side up) is more exciting to me than the Super Bowl. I keep a running tab of her bowel movements. I worry that her development isn't on track with the babies at her daycare. I try to find the most healthy food, the most stimulating activities, the most politically correct toys for my daughter.

It's added a whole other facet to my self-esteem.

Sometimes I feel like a super mom, but most days I feel like a shit mom. Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I find pictures of my friend's baby and it depresses me. Why? Because her baby is rolling over, and mine isn't. Because she dressed her baby in cute clothes and did a photo shoot, props and all, and my photos are a mess. Because her nursery is decked out with all of the "right" gear and plush furniture, and mine isn't. There's a ton of guilt that surrounds parenting and I feel the weight of it all the time. I want to be the perfect mother, and I can't be.

It's added a layer to my feminism.

I am a strong, independent, 21st century women and I know that I can brave the sexism of this world. But now I have to think about making the world the kind of place that I want to leave for my daughter. I have to think about how to raise her, how to navigate the treacherous waters of feminist parenting. I have to make all of my decisions based on whether or not I am being a good role model for my daughter. Or, at least, try to.

Basically, my brain has been re-programmed.

I see motherhood in everything now. I recently watched The Hangover with my husband and I made him turn the TV off. I've seen that movie before, pre-pregnancy, but now I couldn't condone their shenanigans because they neglected an infant during the process and I was too hormonal to find it funny anymore. I can't talk about literature without seeing it from a mother's perspective. I can't make plans without getting a babysitter.

I will never be the same, and I'm glad.

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn Rochford-Price

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.


This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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