Once you have a child, your life is never the same again...We're expecting another little one to enter the family soon – a new niece or nephew is due this month! This prompted me to do some reminiscing over some of the major changes that the birth of my own child triggered.
It's a huge transition – giving birth to and raising another person. In an instant, all your attention, thoughts, values and priorities shift to focus on this tiny, screaming bundle of joy and you are never the same person you were before they were born.
A few things that really changed for me after the birth of my daughter over two and half years ago are…
How Little I Sleep
Yes, as a parent, you learn to function on only a few hours of precious shut-eye. Gone are the days when you can sleep in on weekends and then take a nap later the same day. Now, your sleep is ruled by a tiny dictator that can get you out of bed with the tiniest squeal. As a result, you learn to savour each moment of sleep, peace and quiet that you took for granted most of your pre-child life.
Goodbye Personal Time
Before my daughter, I could actually watch tv each night, go out for nachos when I had a craving, blow dry and curl my hair, exercise for an hour, go to sleep early and give myself a regular pedicure. Yeah, those care-free times of doing whatever I want, whenever I want, are over! After baby, even finding the time to take a shower becomes difficult. I’m sure I’ll have more free time when she goes to university, right?
Going Out Is Sooooo Much Harder
It used to be so easy to just get dressed, grab my purse, and go. Nowadays, I dread having to go out, because it means I have to dress my daughter, pack her diaper bag, food bag, stroller, toys, bundle all this stuff into the car, unload all this stuff at my destination, and then reload everything to go back home, usually forgetting a few items in the process. It’s exhausting and I often prefer to stay in just to avoid this whole exercise in packing and unpacking! (On a brighter note, I’ve become a very efficient packer).
You See Your Body Differently
Your body goes through a lot of changes during and after baby. It’s made me realize that I’m a lot stronger than I used to give myself credit for and I totally appreciate having my body back to myself! And let’s be honest, some things go back to pre-pregnancy form and some don’t. Accepting your body, changes and all, can be difficult. Right now I’m focusing on getting leaner, stronger and healthier (although it’s taking a lot longer than I expected to lose all the baby weight).
A Newfound Respect For Other Parents
This is not to say that I didn’t respect parents before, but once you have a child, you begin to view other parents (including your own) in a new light. You understand their complaints, worries and undying affection for their children.
You Watch the Same Cartoons Every Day
I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen every episode of Care Bears & Cousins that Netflix has made, several times each. Not to mention all the re-runs of Caillou, Elmo’s World and Bert & Ernie’s Great Adventures. Even worse, you know all the theme songs and sing them to yourself in your car, in the shower, while walking to work or when doing chores.
You Start Worrying About Everything
You are so in love with your child that you worry about all the things out there that you have to protect them against. Illness, accidents, bullies, predators, poor life choices, bad friends, drugs/alcohol – the list never ends! Just picturing letting my daughter go to school by herself has me terrified. Unfortunately, I don’t think this worry ever ends, so I’m trying to be realistic about it and plan to send my husband with her everywhere, at least until she gets her black belt in karate.