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10 ways your life changes after children

Posted by mama.m | Apr 07 2014 | 7 comments | 1 like

OK, first things first, what most parents can agree on is that despite the hardships of parenting, the “highs” make it all worthwhile.  The first smiles, laughs, hugs, are enough to seriously melt your heart, and make you forget about the rest (which is why many of us continue on and do it again).  However, the hardships are plenty, and once you’ve been there and done that, you’ll be able to laugh about it too, but don’t worry if you can only cry right now.

1.       You’ll pretty much never sleep again


Ok, so you probably already realize that you won’t sleep when they’re a newborn, and the next person who tells you to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, well just ask them when you’re supposed to go to the bathroom, eat, shower, or have a glass of water.  And if you’re lucky enough to get them sleeping through the night after that, I’ve got two words for you: growth spurt, no one: teething, no another phrase: new developmental phase.  One reader told us a story of how her 9-month old was learning to clap, and she looked over at her baby monitor and saw him practicing how to clap at 2AM! Needless to say, incessant crying followed.  How annoying cute!
 
2.       You’ll never eat junk food again

So this one won’t exactly start immediately, as your child won’t be eating solid food for at least the first 4-6 months of life, but after that it’s open season, and food off your plate just tastes better (yes, even the same food).  So you’ll start hiding the chips, cookies, candy for your after-bedtime second dinner, and before you know it, you’ll be walking around in public with a candy bar like it’s contraband. The upside is that this may help you lose those extra preggo pounds!
 
3.       You’ll be far removed from pop culture

There’s a new Kardashian pregnant?  You missed the season finale of [insert mega popular TV show here – because I don’t know one] last night? The Grammys are on?  No, forget all that, your world is now ruled by poopy diapers (months from now when you’re googling infant poop colors, you’ll remember this moment), infant milestones, and doctor visits (I’m not kidding, there are a lot of them).  In the unlikely event that you get a free moment, you’re going to want to sleep (reference #1).  Don’t worry, you’ll be back to the world in about 1 to 1.5 years (well…unless you have another one). 
 
4.       Yoga pants are the new black

Who says you have to give up the wonderfully stretchy waist of a maternity pant?  Once you get in the funky in-between phase directly post-pregnancy where you’re too small to wear your maternity pants, but can’t yet fit back into your pre-pregnancy pants (and if you can we ALL hate you!), yoga pants will become your new best friend.  Once you’ve discovered the greatness of the yoga pants, well it’s hard to go back. 
 
5.       Spontaneity is a thing of the past
 
I’m sure you realize that the days of “let’s just go to a movie” on Friday evening are over, but even the playdates are scheduled weeks in advance.  And an errand as simple as going to Target will mean you need to plan around your child’s naps, meal times, and bed time, make sure you have snacks and entertainment, and at the end of your excursion to pick up dish soap, you’ll feel like you just finished planning a wedding.
 
6.       You can only be friends with other people with kids
 
Oh you think you won’t become one of “those parents” who can only talk about little John’s first foods, words, steps, etc., but it’s almost uncontrollable.  And your single friends can only take so many pictures of little John on the swing, in the bathtub, or out for a walk in his stroller.  Also, your single friends are great as they typically allow the judgment-free zone to have as many glasses of wine as you please, but they’re totally clueless about what your new life and schedule entails and will find themselves truly offended when you turn down bar-hopping with them on Friday night. 
 
7.       At some point, you’ll be involved in the “mommy wars”
 
This is the best-kept secret of the parenting world.  Got a question about say 1) vaccinations 2) circumcision 3) car seats 4) breast-feeding vs. formula feeding 5) staying-at-home vs working outside the home, well that’s going to be fun!  If you thought these were benign family choices where you could seek logical information from others, well, you couldn’t be more wrong!  What you’ll find is that many all some mothers will have a STRONG opinion on many of these topics (and others) and insist that there is only one correct choice.  At some point someone will judge you for the way that you’re raising your children (and you’ll probably judge someone for how they're raising their children), there’s no way around it.
 
8.       You will visit/call/interact with the doctor more in the next year than you have in your whole life
 
Well first there are the scheduled well-visits, which will “grade” your child’s height and weight relative to other children their age, producing a lot of undue strife, and where you will receive vaccinations if you so choose.  And then, no matter how laid-back you are, having a newborn in your care will feel like, well having a newborn in your care!  They appear fragile, you feel under-prepared and under-qualified, and every cough, fever, and abnormal poop will seem like it could be the beginning of Cholera, especially if you’ve consulted Dr. Google (word to the wise: don’t, just don’t.  You will anyway, but don’t!).
 
9.       People are not impressed enough that you just gave birth…they’re ready for the next one
 
The second your child can accomplish even the smallest of milestones, sitting-up, crawling, sleeping (for you lucky ones), you might start to hear that they’re “moving out of the way for the next one”.  EVERYONE will want to know when you’re having your next child.  This is not a question of “if” btw, obviously you wouldn’t want to buck the social norm and have less than 2.5 children, a house and a dog.  This is when you learn to perfect the “smile and nod”; it’s going to be useful, I can’t tell you how useful!
 
10.   You’ll upgrade your life status to “elite”

Oh you say you no longer drink, go clubbing, dress sexy anymore because you’re simply at a new stage in your life; you’ve moved beyond that (and we know you mean “above” that).  Your childless friends may believe you, but the rest of us know that you simply don’t want to go through the trouble of finding a sitter or wake up hung-over to baby cries at 6am.  And you’ve convinced yourself that wearing jeans that are now too tight because you can no longer fit them totally counts as sexy (simply ignore the blueberry stains on the hip!)…at a minimum they’re an upgrade from yoga pants.  We’ve all got your number!


Discussion

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  • Wakingbug My children enriched my life so much.I loved it all even getting up in the middle of the night.I would not trade a day of my motherhood for anything.I loved it so much that I seldom needed a babysitter because I took them everywhere with me.

    September 08, 2014, 02:59 pm | 0 likes
  • Mary87 In my opinion about finding a sitter is not true. My mom takes care of my daughter which I feel makes me feel happy, with all the things that happen with day care or sitter not taking care of our children I feel so lucky my mom can take care of her.

    September 08, 2014, 02:59 pm | 0 likes
  • Ignoblemonkey I don't think all of this holds true for all moms out there. You need to do a lot of these things in order to keep yourself healthy as well. When you lose sight of your interests and life from raising children then I think most of the time you end up bitter or having resentment. And yes, moms can have a little resentment which shouldn't make them feel guilty. Anyway, that is a whole other thing. I just think a lot of people have a misconception about being parent - that you lose everything. Totally not true if you do not let it happen. I think it is okay to have time for myself even if it is just once a week without feeling guilty.

    September 08, 2014, 02:59 pm | 0 likes
  • Mom If it hadn't been for my mom, I don't know how we'd have survived with #1! He turned out okay anyway but WOW!

    September 08, 2014, 02:59 pm | 0 likes
  • Flippersmama I didn't get any sleep through the night until my daughter was five years old and to go out to eat without a crying baby would have been something. But I made it through it and so did my daughter.

    September 08, 2014, 02:59 pm | 0 likes
  • Skborden4 My first little boy actually done a lot of sleeping when he was a newborn, i was surprised!

    September 08, 2014, 02:59 pm | 0 likes
  • Alona45 I actually really love how #2 has worked out! Once I started looking into food I quickly decided to make baby food myself, and it really has spread to all meals and foods. It's been just the motivation I needed!

    September 08, 2014, 02:59 pm | 0 likes