Nothing prepares you for motherhood. Sure, parenting books, classes, and advice can help, but nothing truly gets you ready for how much your life changes when you become a parent. The sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, and continuous feedings turn your life upside down. But what might be more surprising to you is that, with time, you’ll no longer mind. The best part about being a parent is that you naturally becoming willing to give up so much for a such a little—and sometimes demanding—person. What changes, might you ask? Here are the top ten things that absolutely must change once you become a parent.
1. Your sense of time.
Before you had a baby, you could get ready in under an hour. Adding a baby to the mix changes your entire schedule. Your everyday routine now includes packing a diaper bag, changing and feeding the baby, and loading him or her into the car. And that’s if everything goes smoothly. There are unseen disasters like diaper blowouts or tantrums that make it harder to get ready. As a new parent, your sense of time completely changes. Even if you weren’t the most timely person before, you become one. You somehow magically are able to anticipate the next 24 hours and can get where you need to be on time.
2. Putting yourself second.
The moment your baby is placed into your arms, you become responsible for the security of a little person and ensuring this tiny being is cared for and loved. You worry more about your child’s future than yours and take steps to ensure your child is provided for—especially after you’re gone. You invest in life insurance to make sure your kids are provided for (in case something awful happens) and that might mean taking a little more out of your paycheck each week. Life insurance, is something you have to strongly consider—peace of mind is priceless. Choosing a carrier can be overwhelming, but there is a wealth of information about the best life insurance companies and further reading.
3. Financial responsibilities.
Spending money may not have been a big deal before you had kids. If you wanted to go to the movies, you went. When you saw a cute shirt in a shop window, you bought it. Once you have kids, though, you have to start becoming more responsible with your money. You start saving for college soon after your baby is born, which might require cutting out pedicures or a night out. Instead of buying yourself a new pair of shoes on a whim, you spend that money on diapers or add more clothes to their wardrobe. Plus, your kids grow up really fast. One day you’ll be stocking up on diapers and formula and the next you’ll be looking for your child’s first car.
4. Sleep becomes a thing of the past.
In the old days, you may not have functioned on less than eight hours of sleep. With kids, that’s a luxury. Get ready for endless nights and days that blur into one another. But don’t fret: you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done on only 1-2 hours of sleep. You’ll learn how to keep moving even if you’ve had three nights in a row of no sleep. Waking up throughout the night becomes routine and sleeping in until 7am becomes being well-rested. And luckily, there are tips to get more sleep.
5. Your fashion sense changes.
Your wardrobe changes drastically after having a baby. You trade your dressy clothes for ones that are comfortable, basic, and budget-friendly. Clothes that can withstand drool, spit up, and sticky hands become your go-to outfits. You’ll save your designer pieces for special occasions and keep them well out of reach out of your kids.
6. Take better care of yourself.
There’s nothing like motherhood to motivate you to make healthier choices. You’ve got a little person depending on you for literally everything. You become more committed to developing healthy habits like practicing yoga in the morning or cutting out fast-food. The sugary drinks and package of Oreos in your pantry are replaced with granola and bananas. Plus, your kids will develop healthier habits as they see you eating healthy and exercising. Seeing mom snack on apple slices or going for a walk will help your kids develop healthy habits.
7. Planning becomes key.
Gone are the days where you could do things spontaneously. Meals, vacations, and getting out of the house are thought out and planned for once you have kids. You learn to make sure an outing doesn’t interfere with nap time, or that dinner is simple enough to whip up with a baby clinging to your legs. If you and your spouse want a date night, finding a sitter and getting them comfortable with your child becomes a part of planning your date night. Going to the gym or to the grocery store requires either getting your child ready for an outing or making sure your spouse or a family member can watch your child. Planning becomes a key part to your survival.
8. Your marriage.
The time you used to spend with your spouse curled up on the couch watching movies or reading together disappears once you have a baby. That time now goes to changing diapers, making bottles, or catching up on household chores. There’s little time for you and your spouse to spend together, but you learn new ways to bond with your spouse as you care for your child. You’ll begin to appreciate the little moments and, in many ways, you’ll fall in love all over again.
When you have a baby, you may find yourself spending less time with some friends and more time with other friends. You might realize that hanging out with friends who have kids is more fun for you. They’re understanding if you’re a few minutes late because your baby had a blowout or if you’re a little cranky from, yet, another sleepless night. Plus, your kids can play together while you get some much-needed adult conversation.
10. Who you are.
Becoming a parent changes you as a person. You find an inner strength and confidence you never knew you had. Small things, like cleaning the house every day or doing your hair, become insignificant. All you care about is making sure your child is happy and healthy. Your life becomes fuller—not just with things to do, but with love. You start to see the world through your child’s eyes, which can bring a little bit of wonderment to your life. The curiosity and awe your child has will help you see the world in an entirely new way.
How has your life changed since you’ve become a parent? Let us know in the comments below!