I used to be super selfish. Not in a totally bad way. But in a way that it was my world and I did what I wanted when I wanted to. If I wanted to drop $150 at Sephora, then I did it. If I wanted to get manicures and pedicures on a weekly basis, again, I just did it. I spent my money and time however I wanted.
My world is much different now! I’m more careful with my money and I rarely have time to myself. Motherhood changes your whole world, but especially your priorities. For example…
Napping: When I was a single gal, this is how my typical Saturday went down: Get up and go the gym. Come home and nap. Get up again and do laundry. Then take a 45 minute nap. Mid-afternoon I’d haul my ass out for groceries and after I finished I’d come home and nap. In the evening I’d go out with friends for dinner or drinks or whatever else. Then I’d come home, watch TV and go to bed and sleep for ten blissful hours. But, as a single mom, napping is quite different. Naps are no longer a priority for me but are a huge priority for my daughter. She is seriously the most terrible napper. She takes approximately three thirty minute naps a day. That’s not even enough time for the washer to run its full cycle. The entire time she naps I try to do something productive, but usually I am so exhausted that I end up laying on the couch watching TV and surfing Pinterest and Facebook. I would give up wine for the rest of my life to have just one more single gal Saturday!
Spending Money: In my single days, I spent my money on whatever the hell I wanted. $175 hair appointment? Yes please! $1000 trip to New York City? Sign me up! $250 shopping trip? You know it! As a single mom, I am SO super careful with my money. I still do spend some on myself, but not like I used to. I actually budget money now. I get my hair done a lot less than I used to. I don’t go on trips of any sort, unless you consider tripping up the stairs a form of fun. When I do buy clothing, it’s for my daughter. In fact, almost everything I buy is for my daughter. A couple of weeks ago I went to Wal-Mart and spent a little over a hundred dollars, and the only item I bought for myself was a new pen. A pen. Yeah, I am that lame. But in all seriousness, I totally love the new Sharpie pens!
Time with Friends: I basically never said no to hanging out with friends, pre-child. If they wanted to go for a dinner, out for drinks, to the movies or just have a girls night I pretty much always said yes. The only time I ever said no was if I was too tired (I had no idea what tired was back then) or if my mom was visiting from out of town. But now? I rarely say yes. Saying yes is a HUGE deal for me. It means I have to arrange for a sitter (shout out to my parents!) and find the energy to actually do something. I also have to plan financially for any outings. Any type of activity sans-baby requires as much planning as I used to put into planning a weekend getaway. That being said, I do enjoy getting out from time to time, but most of the time I’m pretty content just to chill with my girl.
Time management: Pre-child, I thought I had the BEST time management skills. I could handle anything my boss put on my plate and still manage to come home, hit up the gym and then bake cupcakes for work the next day. I realize now that my time management skills back then were actually just mediocre. Fast-forward to present day and my time management skills could win me an award. I’m not even kidding. My daughter goes to bed at 8 every night. I go between 10:30 and 11. In those three hours I can answer 3-5 emails, apply for several jobs, write a blog post, edit pictures in Photoshop, plan my daughter’s first birthday party, do three loads of laundry and catch up on favorite TV shows. If I am feeling really ambitious I can even manage to squeeze in a thirty minute workout. BOOM. That my friends, is time management!
Dating: I’m a single mom so dating is new territory for me, given my new status. As a single gal, I dated for fun. I would go on dates with people I met online or through mutual friends. And I really didn’t think much about it. It was just a fun way to get out and meet new people. If it worked out, awesome. If it didn’t work out, nothing gained and nothing lost. Since becoming a single mother, I am very wary about dating. First of all, I want to make sure that I am dating someone who shares the same values as me and will be comfortable dating a woman with a child. Second of all, my time is precious and I am very cautious about who I am going to spend it with. Going on a date means time away from my daughter, so he better be a really good catch if I am giving up even an hour with her.
It’s amazing how much motherhood can change you. Most of the changes happen in a super natural way. I’m more than happy to go without sleep, manicures and vacations to make sure my daughter has everything she needs. I know as she gets older my priorities will continue to change, and I am totally okay with that. Being a mom means putting someone else’s needs ahead of my own, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!