So I was pretty apprehensive about becoming a parent. It was commonly agreed by everyone that both you and your life change forever after having children, and that this change was mostly for the worse. You would be fatter, uglier, poorer, less happy, boring (as you couldn't possibly do anything cool), and forced to bid goodbye to most things you valued previously. More frighteningly, your marriage would morph into a childcare cooperative and you would stop having sex, a passionate connection or even conversations that weren't kid-related. However, you would also become much more selfless and mature, and somehow you would be so fond of your child that these things wouldn't bother you that much.
I wrote before that I was surprised by how much easier it was to be a mother than I expected. I certainly don't regret my decision to have a child at all. I still feel this way 6 months in, though I know the hardest parts are yet to come (toddler stage; teenage years), so who knows how I will feel later.
But what about being changed forever, as everyone promised/threatened? Again, I feel out of step with the accepted trope. I honestly don't feel that different. I am a little fatter (about 5 pounds); other physical changes haven't been that extreme (I should do a full assessment later). My personality/life outlook hasn't changed very much either. I still like the same things, think the same way, and have the same values that I did previously. I am a little bit happier, because I now have an unfailing source of joy (little R), and a little bit more consistently busier (since little R work is constant instead of time-based like a regular job). I still have trouble going to bed on time, being self-disciplined and not being grumpy when hungry, tired, overwhelmed or droopy. (So I haven't become a better or more mature person.) I also basically do the same things I did pre-little R, with the exception of going to work (since I'm not working).
It's true now we don't go to coffeehouses at night: instead, we do the same things at home (B works, I help him or read). We also have to take little R to dinner with us (somewhat lame as she has no table manners, conversation or patience), but we still go out the same amount (actually more since our kitchen stuff isn't here yet and the food out is so good), and to the same type of restaurants (since we always liked hole-in-the-wall places). I still entertain myself in the same way (going to museums, for instance), although I can't stay as long now (2 hours is about little R's limit for any activity).
More interestingly, my relationship with B hasn't changed that much. We still spend a lot of time on each other: talking, cuddling, interacting, having sex, arguing (although we've actually argued significantly less since little R was born, with the exception of the first three weeks of her life and our first three weeks in Singapore), debating, doing stuff together. The intensity of our connection hasn't really changed at all, and I would say that our focus is still primarily on each other.
I worry about this, because it's so different from most people's experience. I wonder if I am doing something wrong, if I am a bad mother because so much of my emotional energy is bound up in and focused on my husband. Most mothers seem to be almost exclusively focused on their children, with husbands as a distant second. (My own mother always told me that she loved me and my sister more than my father.)
I am also ashamed to admit this to anyone, in case it does mean there is something wrong with me, so I have only told B about it. (He of course approves highly, especially since he feels the same way.) I am glad that I can write about it on the Internet anonymously, because I know people would judge me if I admitted to such a thing in real life.
Maybe it's a good thing? Hopefully it means we will have a stable marriage (one of the most important things for a child), and maybe it will allow little R more space to be her own person (since my emotional needs are primarily met elsewhere, I don't need her to provide me with anything). I hope so, since there's no easy way to change your feelings.