I was never the maternal type. Growing up I was always the youngest and I never really had much to do with children younger than me and had never really given parenting in my future a second thought. I rarely held a baby and when I did I had no idea what to do with it! It wasn't until I was in a committed long term relationship and engaged to be married that the conversation inevitably came about.
I'll be honest. I wasn't that bothered at that stage. My then fiancé wanted kids. He'd made that perfectly clear. So I guess, I just went along with it. Then after we were married, it really did feel like the natural thing to do. We got pregnant in early 2012 and then a week before Christmas our little beauty was born!
I was incredibly naive. As I mentioned before, I'd never really been around young children and that continued on into adult life. In the later years before becoming a mum, the closest I got was to my niece, who was a baby when I met her uncle, my now husband. I had no idea just how much having a child would change my life.
I mean, you can have babysitters, right? You can still go out? I can still have nice clothes and hair and make up? I can still watch the same programmes I like on the television and listen to the same music. My life doesn't have to change completely. I'll just have an extra person to look after as opposed to just my husband...!
Well. I say wrong. Yes. The things above can happen and DO happen. But do I feel the same towards them? No.
Yes we can get a babysitter and go out. It's not a problem. Do I always want to leave my boy? No. The attachment I feel to him, and the need to be near him is something I've never been able to really describe.
Yes. I can still have nice clothes and make up and I do, to an extent. Can I afford all of the things I used to buy? Not so much. I have clothes and food to buy for little man now instead and that is more important.
Can I watch the programmes on the television that I used to? Yes, but not necessarily when it's being broadcast. Thank goodness for the Sky box. Things have to be recorded and watched when I get the chance these days. Sometimes things sit there for weeks before they're watched.
Can I listen to the music I used to. Of course. But generally only on my commute to work. Gone are the days when I would get ready for work with my music blasting. Gone are the days when I would get through the mundane housework chores with my favourite band for company.
My 'me time' is limited. Very limited. It's usually only the few hours I get after little man has gone to bed - which is probably why I have so many late nights. Because I'm cramming my old life, the old me, into a couple of hours before my own bedtime.
I'm getting to the point now, after being a mum for four years, that I can't really remember what I used to do before I had a child. How did I fill my days? What did I do for an entire weekend before I was playing shops or doing jigsaw puzzles? Painting pictures and sculpting Play Doh? I can't remember.
There are times I get frustrated that I don't have the time to do the things that I want to do. Times that I'm so tired in the mornings because I've stayed up too late the night before because it's the only chance I have to get things done.
I could work full time to earn more money so I could buy the things I used to. But I don't want to. I could get a babysitter more often so I could go out and do the things I sometimes need to. But I don't want to. I could put the music on the stereo and my programmes on the television instead of back to back episodes of Peppa Pig or Topsy and Tim. But I don't want to.
Because I've changed. Parenting has changed me. Being a mum has changed me. I no longer think for just myself. My first thought in the morning isn't about me. My last thought at night isn't about me. And all my thoughts in between aren't just about me.
The love that you feel the minute your child is placed in your arms is like something I have never ever known. Immediately you would give up everything for that child. You would die for that child. It's consuming. It's intense. It's unconditional. So that's why. That's why the stuff that used to matter, doesn't really matter anymore.
I want to spend as much time as I can being the best mum that I can be. I want my child to know that I was always there as much as I could be. That I chose to work part time so I could be there with him as much as possible. I want him to know that I love him unconditionally and by giving him my time and giving him myself, this is the most precious of ways.
So. Why does parenting change your life? Because the love you have for that child and the love you receive in return, will change your heart, your mind, your soul and your priorities. It will change everything. And I for a fact wouldn't change that for the world.