Editor's Note: This article was first published in 2015 but has since been updated.
In a recent conversation with my mom, we discussed how having a child changes your life. "You just really can't understand it until it happens to you," I said. "No one can really tell you beforehand." She then asked me how I would explain it, to which I replied that I would have to give a minute by minute account of my day. After further reflection though, I know that it's more than just the difference in how you conduct your daily activities. It affects every single part of your life. So in an attempt to prepare the parents-to-be out there, here's how you can expect your life to change upon the arrival of your bundle of joy.
How Having a Child Changes Your Life
- Everything will take longer. You'll get used to it after a couple of months, but if you attempt to go anywhere in the first month with your child, just tack on at least another hour to your getting-ready routine. It's not so much about getting baby ready as it is about getting yourself ready while taking care of baby. You'll see.
- Your perspective on life is going to be different. My husband and I have been city-dwellers for about four years now, and we have loved it. After having Beckett though, we quickly learned that raising a baby in the city is not all it's cracked up to be (at least for us). Having to carry a baby-filled car seat down the stairs and outside a block or two to your car will help you in the baby-weight-losing department, but it doesn't do much for your sanity. We didn't think twice about continuing our beloved city living life when I was pregnant, but the reality of actually doing it has definitely changed our perspective on it.
- You will wonder what you used to do with all of your time. I used to think I was busy. I didn't know what busy was. Having a busy social calendar and having a busy baby-filled life are two entirely different things.
- Planning becomes key. Gone are the days of whipping up dinner at dinnertime. The post-baby days involve more cutting up vegetables on Sundays for the week's dinners. And if that doesn't happen, then take-out is a more likely option than trying to slice a pepper with a baby on your hip.
- You'll become more concerned about the future of the world that we live in. After all, what the world is becoming is what we're handing over to our children, and we want to give our children the best environment to grow up in that we possibly can.
- Your life will be more full. You're going to gain something that you didn't even know was missing. Sure, our lives are busier and in some ways more complicated than they used to be, but I wouldn't trade the joy Beckett has brought to our lives for the entire world.
- The forms of entertainment you enjoy will change. Do you enjoy watching movies right now? Reading books? Soon, your favorite form of entertainment will be watching your baby do literally anything. I know it doesn't sound all that exhilarating, but it actually is. Watching your baby learn to giggle and coo and reach and grab and roll over will provide you far better entertainment than any book ever could.
- Cleanliness will fall by the wayside. I don't consider myself an incredibly tidy person, but I do take pride in a clean home. I've had to adjust my standards of "clean" since having a baby. I keep it as clean as I can, but if I have a choice between baby snuggles and vacuuming, I'm taking the snuggles every single time.
- You will make decisions differently. Literally every decision you make - big or small - will at one point involve the question, "How does this affect my child?".
- Your heart will multiply in size. I promise you that it's not big enough to contain all of the love you're going to feel for your child. You have never loved someone this much. You just haven't.