There is so much to be excited about when having a child for the first time. The smiles laughs, and seeing their very own personality grow is just amazing. You will just enjoy their milestones and it will just make you happy to see their progress and joy. Though, with all the highlights there are also some things you weren’t expected for or didn’t realize would actually change.
What changes for you when you become a parent?
With all the good there has to be some downsides as well. Many of the things that change you may expect to some degree, but it usually is much more than you think. Which may come as a complete shock. It did for me and I was preparing myself mentally for a long time, but you can’t really prepare yourself fully for what is to come.
Changes in schedules
Waking up early
Do you usually wake up at 6 am? If so then having a child may be a bit easier for you due to those early mornings you were prepared for. Do note that there may be earlier times as well as many times they wake up to eat at night during the newborn stage.
Planning nap times
That’s right nap times are essential for your little one. In the newborn stage, it might be easier, depending on the baby of course, because they just want to sleep and can end up sleeping at most places.
Now when they get a few months old and more they will need a set time and set place to sleep. Some children even need everything to be perfect down to routine or there is no chance for them to sleep. Whether that means bath time, reading a book or two, a hug from mom and/or dad, a certain way they sleep or having a blanket or stuffed animal with them.
Related: Bedtime Routine for Your Baby
Planning out their nap times will also make it easier for them and you as they get older. The older they get the fewer naps they will need until it is just sleeping at night.
Planning everything around your child’s schedule
At some point, you will start making everything fit into your child’s schedule. Some people may try the other way around, but for the most part, it will be according to the child’s schedule. Exceptions do happen though for things like work or prior important events.
The reason is that routine for your child is highly important and even though it can change over time or for some special occasions it is needed. So you will end up finding a schedule that fits you and your baby where the times they are asleep you can get chores and work done. And when they are awake you get to spend time with them and create memories together.
If you weren’t the type to take naps before having a child then you may try to fight this new change, but you will learn that naps are your best friend. And I am not talking about naps for your child, even though those are amazing as well.
“When the baby sleeps you sleep,” this is one of the best pieces of advice I got from when my daughter was a newborn. Taking care of a baby is exhausting and you are bound to become sleep deprived many times. If you take a nap when they are napping then you can make up for some of that lost sleep and make it more bearable.
If you have a family member or friend nearby that you trust to take care of your child then ask them to watch the baby for a couple of hours to take a quick nap. It is very important that you aren’t sleep deprived for too long and that you seek help from others if you are.
You will feel like you aren’t getting much done due to not enough time
With all of the work that it takes to raise a child, you will feel there is never enough time. They take up your whole day and you barely have any time for yourself. It may be hard to finish or even start tasks when you have a two-hour window or less, but you can do this.
Remember you are accomplishing a ton already by raising your child.
If you want to feel like you have accomplished more then set smaller goals. It does work and you are still getting things done. So instead of setting the goal of cleaning an entire room, let’s say the living room, set smaller goals like dust, vacuum or sweep the floor, put toys away, clean the coffee table, etc.
This way every time the baby is napping you can get one part done each time or more. Then the next nap you get even more done. In the end, you are less overwhelmed and got what you could get done over while still caring for your child.
Change of friends
It’s not exactly how it seems. You may keep all of the friends you had before you were even pregnant and that is perfectly fine. But there are times that those friends might not understand what is going on. Having friends that are single or dating is great, but it is even better to have other parent friends.
Having a mommy friend or daddy friend just makes life a bit easier on you. They will understand what you are going through and they probably won’t be scared that you are talking about dirty diapers because they will too. You can even ask each other for advice when you feel like nothing you do is working for your child.
Don’t forget having parent friends means you can have play dates and maybe even take turns with babysitting every once in a while. If you have a spouse or significant other then you should spend time with them too and not just spending time as a family. Have time off to have alone time together can keep your relationship alive, so have your parent friends watch your children one weekend and then watch their children the next weekend to make it fair.
Related: How to Keep Your Relationship Alive After Having Kids
Change in your emotions
This one can be such a rollercoaster. Many of us used to laugh at our moms for crying during movies that we didn’t find sad at all. Or their “tears of joy”. Be prepared. We become our moms.
Crying due to movies
Once you have a child you will notice that you feel more emotionally attached to movies and books. Mainly attached to the children. The movie may be a thriller, but somehow you feel so sad for the little girl or boy and end up crying. If the character doesn’t feel loved by their parents you may end up crying.
The reason for this is that you don’t want your child to feel unloved or go through those situations and you feel so bad that that character had to.
Tears of Joy
We get so happy to see our little ones grow and explore the world, but sometimes we can’t help but cry. There are many times that we just become so proud that we can’t help it. The life that we created and take care of is becoming their own person with their very unique personalities.
With every milestone that they pass we couldn’t be more proud, but at the same time we are sad. Why would a parent be sad that their child passed a milestone? Because they will never have that time before that milestone again.
Knowing that you are so proud of your child but so sad that you can’t have your tiny baby back cause those tears of joy.
Last on this list – Your sex life
I will just go into this one briefly, but if you want to know more on this topic check out How Does Your Sex Life Change When You Have Kids? and Sex After Childbirth.
Now that you have children most of your time is taken up by them. Which leaves you with little time for your relationship and your sex life. That means you may actually have to plan out when you are going to have time for sex or you may end up having to be much more spontaneous.
You may even end up planning things out with your partner to have sex that day, but in the end, you or they are just too exhausted to go through with it. Or you are about to, but your child wakes up from a nap.
Sometimes the best way to still have a sex life is by letting a family member or trusted friend watch your children for a little bit. This way you can have fewer chances of being interrupted or being too exhausted.
There you have it
Life after having a child is wonderful but different. Though there may be changes in your life a baby is still worth it. Hopefully, you should feel more prepared with all the research that you do, but just remember that even when you know a lot it still may be different than you prepared for.
Check out more!
- 11 Things They Don’t Tell You About Life After Labor
- How Important is it for a Child to have a Routine?
- Bedtime Routine for Your Baby
- Buying Baby Food VS Making Your Own Baby Food
- How to Have a Sex Life After Children
- And more under our Motherhood tab!