My son is turning one tomorrow! And in honor of that, I’m taking a break from covering the usual topics and doing something I don’t usually do, which is share my feelings about my personal life. Here are some of the ways becoming a mom has changed me—for the better. Happy 1st Birthday, Leopold!
1. Becoming a mom has uncapped my emotions. I’ve become such a sap! I’ll cry at anything now—children singing, the God Made Dog video, thinking about the God Made Dog video, Modern Family, the Bachelor—basically anything.
2. When I was asked a few months ago about what surprised me the most about becoming a parent, I answered that I can’t get over how perfect Leopold is! He’s sweet and happy and adorable and pretty much only cries when he’s hungry or needs a diaper change. When do kids stop being perfect? And will he? I mean-I know no one is perfect. Who is a perfect adult anyway? They don’t exist.
3. “When I became a mom, I finally became the person I am, that I always should have been,” said Jessica Alba. I’m not sure if she meant it in the same way, but I agree that everything matters more now that I have a child. I’m motivated to do all those things that I always thought I should be doing, but often found an excuse not to. I’m talking about things like flossing and eating better. I practice these habits more regularly, because I want to be around and as healthy and vital as I can be, for as long as I can be so I can be there for Leopold.
But it’s not just about me. I want to do my best to make sure I do whatever I can to make sure the world is a better place—or at least as good as a place as possible—for Leopold. I’m still working on figuring out how to do that in a big way, but for now it means turning down a second iced coffee so I’m not throwing away yet another plastic cup, signing petitions demanding better gun control or simply being kinder to people I engage with on a daily basis.
As Nicole Richie says, “Besides being responsible for myself, I’m now responsible for someone else. And I have to set the right examples. I have to really be someone that I would want my child to look up to.” I’ve learned that I not only want to set a good example for Leopold, I want him to be proud of me.
4. Being a parent is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if it’s your next door neighbor who is talking about their kid or Prince William in an interview. You understand exactly what they’re going through and the feelings they’re expressing. The love of a parent for a child is pretty universal, no matter where you’re from or your income bracket.
So Happy 1st Birthday, Leopold! You are beyond my wildest dreams.