How motherhood changed me - Essay by Mel Lozano-Alcaraz

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How has being a mother changed your life? We've invited Filipino moms to share their thoughts and insights in this endearing series of mommy essays. Enjoy!

how motherhood changed me

It was a balmy Saturday afternoon, the kind that lovely, relaxed weekend hangs were made of, when I had an epiphany. A lifetime ago, I would’ve spent that particular Saturday at the beach or playing at an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in some exotic location with friends, but there I was, frantically rushing my then 10-month-old from one playdate to another.

In the midst of my triple play date booking, in between checking my watch and making sure we were right on sched, it hit me: I was a mom.

I was never a Stepford Wife, though. I don’t think I ever pined for a domestic life or longed to be a mom the way some women were brought up to do. I was by all accounts, a typical “modern woman.” I was ambitious and hungry for a successful career in the rat race of TV and media. I worked hard, but liked to party harder.

I spent my hard-earned cash on clothes, cigarettes, expensive food, and even more expensive drinks. I was addicted to Ultimate Frisbee, spent most weeknights and weekends playing the sport, and spent a good fortune traveling from one country to another just to play in the international Frisbee circuit. I traveled to six continents, discovered the world, and happily got lost in places unfamiliar to me.

You know how everyone says that motherhood will completely change you? It’s all true. The minute my baby girl was placed on my chest in the delivery room, every selfish thought, inkling, and feeling I had in me vanished in an instant.

From that moment on, I knew that everything would about her. She became my focal point, my life goal, the sun that my world revolved around. Nothing mattered anymore, but her.

People often ask me if I missed my past life. If I missed being a hotshot TV executive, or getting new stamps on my passport, or dancing all night and getting trashed with friends. If I missed the excitement and the rush of being a single, childless urbanite. And without batting an eyelash, or even taking a minute to reflect and remember what that life was all about, I usually smile and say, “No.”

I live in the suburbs now. I’m in bed by 10pm, but because my daughter still sleep feeds at night, I have yet to get 4 hours of straight sleep. I quit smoking and enjoy the occasional drink, but only if I know the yaya had enough rest during the day for me to be able to stay out later than usual.

Shopping for clothes now means shopping for baby wear and other infant essentials. My TV is tuned in to Disney Junior and Hi 5, and I sing nursery rhymes even while showering. I hate leaving the house, and the thought of going on a weeklong out-of-town trip without my baby still terrifies me.

But my life has never been this much exciting or fulfilling. My heart makes constant leaps when I hear my baby babble or laugh out loud. I get an adrenaline rush from watching her confidently stand for 5 seconds without any assistance.

I explode from sheer joy each time she gives me a big wet kiss or clings on to me for security and assurance. There is excitement in even the most mundane moments of being a mom, and I am constantly amazed by this creature who’s the only one who’s ever heard my heartbeat from inside me.

At the end of that triple-playdate booking, I got home completely exhausted, but it was a good kind of exhausted. I was tired not because I chased a plastic disc all day or because I was holed up in an edit suite, but because I made my daughter happy.

And I know that I will go through many exhausting Saturdays, weeks, months, and even years in the pursuit of my daughter’s well-being.  I’m a mom now. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MEL LOZANO

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