10 Ways Having a Child Can Change Your Life
Updated: May 15, 2020
If you are thinking of starting a family you may be wondering "How is having a child going to change my life?" Or you may be wondering "Should I have a child?" Here are some things to consider before you start trying. Or if you are on your way to becoming a parent right now, here are some things you have to look forward to. Or you may be looking for some camaraderie. An article that you can go "Yeah, I am going through that. I'm glad I'm not the only one." You're not. Us as parents who are "In IT" are with you. Solidarity.
Some ways that having a child can change your life.
1. It is not about you.
This may seem obvious. But really. It is NOT about you anymore. You no longer are guaranteed hot coffee, warm food, a nice conversation on the phone. Everything is now at the mercy of your child's schedule. Their needs. Their naps. They come first. Your needs get to come in between. Unless you make them a priority. You may get that shower when you want, but you may your baby crying the entire time. But it does make you appreciate the small things. Like when you DO get a hot cup of coffee... it is just HEAVEN. You really appreciate it because it is not guaranteed.
2. You now have to think three steps ahead of everything your child is going to need. Or more.
Babies have a lot of needs. They have to eat every few hours. They need their diapers changed. They need changes of clothes. They need creams, sometimes medicines. And you, as their parent, have to anticipate each need before it comes. ESPECIALLY if you are out. If you are going to a restaurant, going on a trip, etc. you need to think of everything before you go. Your diaper bag needs to be lit. Like Diapers, Wipes, Creams, Medicine, Hand Sanitizer, a change of clothes, burp cloths, and some moms pack a change of clothes for themselves. You never know when you will get covered in bodily fluids. And if you are packing them a bag for daycare, or to go all day somewhere, you need to anticipate an entire day of what ifs.
3. You get creative with quality time.
This can mean quality time with your partner, quality time with your friends, whoever you need quality time with. You gotta get creative. Maybe you and your partner trade nights where you get to go out with your friends. Maybe it is having sex with your partner during baby's nap time. Whatever quality time you need, you gotta make it a priority but you may have to be creative. Spontaneity is a thing of the past. But creativity hits a whole new level. The time you do have becomes so precious because it is just limited. It makes you appreciate the time you DO have, and you spend it on the people you love.
4. You are somebody's world.
So, this little baby. You are their entire world. They rely on you for every mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual need that they have. You are it. You get to see every smile, hear every "Goo goo gah gah". But you also hear every wail. Every sob. Every unmet need that they need you to fill. You are it. It definitely takes some getting used to. Being needed so intensely all the time. It's something I had never experienced before. And it can be overwhelming.
5. You may experience a separation from people who are not in the same life phase as you.
For people who do not have children, they do not, and cannot, understand what you are going through. As a person with a new baby, you are not on a regular sleep schedule, you are learning to anticipate your baby's needs and read their cues, you are eating what you can when you can. Your world is totally upside down. You are creating a new relationship with your child. You are learning to love and be loved in the most intense way. And folks who don't have children just do not understand. Not to say that you cannot have friends who don't have kids. But your relationship may change. You may not be able to go out for trivia every Thursday and Karaoke every Saturday anymore, so you may hear from those friends less. After saying "no" to so many dinner invitations you may stop getting invited. That's OK. You are in a new phase of life. You are adjusting, everyone in your family is adjusting to your new normal. You only have so much time and so much energy for so many people. It's OK to let go of some social obligations and people who just don't fit into your life right now.
6. You may make new friends!
These new outings with baby will bring you into spaces you haven't been in a long time. The library story time, the playground in your neighborhood, the baby section at your grocery store, you will find parents everywhere. You will start noticing parents with kids your kids' age and think "They know". You may see a cute outfit and ask where the parent got it, and start a lifelong friendship. Being a parent just brings you to places where you are able to meet others that are in the same life phase as you. They get it. And it can be so easy to relate to them and form a friendship. See my blog post here to learn more about ways to meet mom friends.
7. You get advice. From everyone.
This will probably start in pregnancy if you are carrying. Everyone wants to tell you either what they went through, what their mother said, or what they read somewhere. Most of it is well-intentioned... almost none of it is solicited. It can get really annoying being a pregnant person being told constantly "You are definitely have a boy" and "Are you sure you aren't carrying twins?" And then when your toddler has a meltdown in Target it is super fun to get all of the looks from passersby... I haven't had anyone give me advice during one of these episodes yet. But I now make sure that if I see a mom with a toddler melting down, I give her a look and fist of solidarity. And maybe a "You've got this" on the side. Because public meltdowns are pretty much every parent's worst nightmare. And every kid is so different. You, as their caregiver, know them better than anyone else. With everyone tells you, just take what fits for you and leave the rest. You can say "Thank you, we will think about that", and move along your way.
8. You may feel sad for the way things were.
Especially with your first. You may miss being able to go out with your friends, eat food while it is warm, have long conversations on the phone, naps when you want to, etc. There are a million things that you can do when you do not have kids that are a touch more difficult when you have them. And it's ok to feel sad about that. To miss those things.
9. You get to re-live aspects of your childhood.
There is nothing like watching your child open a birthday gift or Christmas gift. Seeing the magic in their eyes. You get to feel their excitement for things that fill them with wonder. Seeing a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. The first time they see an airplane. The first time they visit the beach. They are just so full of joy about life, and it is amazing to get to experience those things alongside them for the first time.
10. You may discover a love that you have never known.
I've heard that having a child is equated to having your heart walking around outside your body. It really is amazing, as you get to know your child, to see all the ways they are like you or your partner, the mannerisms and facial expressions they pick up, that annoying thing they do that your dad does. They are truly a piece of you. Your heart, your blood, your time and energy, your love. You have created who they are, and it is just amazing and heart wrenching at the same time. I remember the first time I saw my toddler get excluded on the playground. My heart BROKE for her. I swear I felt what she was feeling, maybe more so. It is the best feeling and the worst at the same time.
Having children changes your whole world. These are just 10 ways that it can change, but you really can't comprehend it until it happens for you.
If you have children, how has your life changed?