It’s amazing how much parenting can change you as a person. I’ve learned all kinds of new skills, plus incredible amounts about a vast array of topics.
Perhaps the biggest change, however, is one that is there 24 hours a day yet is rarely consciously considered. It seems to have given me a new way of thinking.
In fact, this realisation only struck me last week – almost ten years since becoming a parent.
I needed a new phone and the biggest must-have other than a battery that doesn’t die every few hours was compatibility with LEGO Hidden Side.
The eight-year-old got a load of the stuff for his birthday at the end of March but had yet to try out its unique selling point.
Once upon a time, my criteria would have included all kinds of techie things, but not now. As long as I had a phone that worked and let him enjoy his LEGO, that was enough.
While we’re on the subject of buying things, there’s a similar story when it comes to clothes. I hardly ever buy new ones – most of mine are at least five years old and some pre-date my children!
But, whenever I do look for new things, I always end up getting stuff for the kids instead. I suppose my unconscious logic is that I’m not growing – well, not upwards anyway – and their need is greater.
Perhaps this taps into another change in mindset – a growing disdain for waste. Speaking of which, youngest may have cottoned onto something.
Recently, she insisted I finish the leftover scraps on her plate. An hour or so later at bedtime, she chose a book called Dustbin Dad. Coincidence? I think not!
I’m not proud – if it’s basically edible, I’m having it. No questions asked. And this leads to yet another point – nothing can put me off food anymore.
I used to be really squeamish about all kinds of things, but not these days. I’ve witnessed three births including an emergency C-section as well as all the disgusting things kids produce and do.
Then there’s the adjusted sense of what really matters in terms of cleaning. Of course, I still clean toilets and sinks as regularly as I should, but have let a lot of other things like dusting slide.
Why? Well, I could argue that it’s because a bit of dirt is good – which it is – but mostly it’s because there are only so many hours in a day and I’ve prioritised other things.
I suppose the majority of these changes in mindset boil down to one thing – putting the kids first. Which, to my mind, is only right.
I may have become less bothered about my appearance and grubbier as a result, but I quite like the new way of thinking I’ve gradually acquired.
How about you? Has parenting changed your mindset?