After taking maternity leave for three months, I'm back in the editor's chair here at Patch starting today. The biggest difference is the most obvious—I'm a mom.
I gave birth to a wonderful baby girl, Olivia, on July 5th. I didn't think having a family would change the journalist in me, but being a mom has changed just about everything.
In the past, I'd been told I couldn't relate to certain situations because I wasn't a mom, and I'd always dismiss those comments. I remember the moment this all changed.
About a week before giving birth, my husband and I spent an hour trying to install Olivia's car seat, and we finally gave up and drove to . Firefighter Dean Crawford gave us a knowing smile and climbed into the back seat of our CRV. Five minutes later he told us we were good to go.
Driving back to the house, we realized we had a lot to learn, and our lives had officially changed. Now, three months later, we have the whole diaper/bottle/nap thing figured out. But we also know taking Olivia to a cute bistro is impossible, constant singing of goofy songs is a new reality, and bringing Olivia to a store will lead to at least one conversation with a stranger.
I also react to news differently, and not just when it comes to stories about parents and kids. The economy and employment, saving for college and 401(k)s and even religion and politics have more meaning to me.
I shouldn't be surprised. After all, plenty of research shows how parenting and new relationships change us.
But while life has changed significantly, I don't think I'm a different person. I'd like to think I'm now more open-minded than I had been. I feel closer to a wider group of people, and hopefully that means I can be an even better storyteller and journalist, especially in this family-oriented community. And I look forward to telling your story.
So how about you? Did starting a family significantly change you? And if you don't have kids, do you feel like your thinking is different from those who do?