It certainly altered mine.
Motherhood became my catalyst to knowing myself on a whole new level.
This was often through being pushed to the edges of my limits (and beyond) in sleep, energy, and what I felt I had to offer my children.
These discoveries led to practical realities that still have a place in our home: the centering way we structure our homeschool day, the way I made rest a priority (what was once called rest time is now afternoon study time), the choice to say no to many activities and yes to a select few.
Along the way, I began to find out about my kids' personalities as well--the ways in which they blended and diverged from my own. It's one thing trying to understand yourself; it's a whole different ballgame to understand three others plus your spouse.
If I could boil my advice in this regard down to one tip, it would be this:
Be who your child needs you to be.
I tend to want to relate to my kids as friends, still as the authority figure, but mostly in a "can't we all just get along" sort of way. I don't naturally gravitate toward conflict and find it draining.
Most of the time this works well, and I think it honors my children as individuals.
But I have one child in particular, who doesn't respond as well to this approach. One child who actually needs me to be (when called for) stern, extra firm, clearly the one in charge.
The gentle parenting websites and books don't speak to this as much. I never could have predicted it myself and it has stretched me in ways I never thought possible.
Which is perhaps a very good thing.
Parenting isn't convenient, and it isn't all about us. There is no "one size fits all" technique or formula to use.
But when challenging situations arise, take a deep breath and a moment to consider: "Who does my child need me to be right now?"
The answer may surprise you.
When it comes to motherhood, follow the books and websites less and your heart more. Even when it means that parenting changes your personality.
"Understanding others' personality type allows you to see that their behavior
is only very rarely about you."
~ The Enneagram Institute