Readers Reveal: Surprising Ways Life Changes When You Become a Parent
A New Respect for Mom
"Strange as it may sound, one overpowering new feeling I had when I had my first child was, 'Wow, so this is how much my mom loves me!' My love for my own child was so visceral, it made me appreciate my own mom so much more."
-- Keli Fisher
Your See the Big Picture
"You become much more patient. Not just with day-to day-things, but with your future. Before kids, we would see something we wanted to buy, and we had to have it. Now, we're learning the joys of taking our time, saving up, and budgeting for the really important things in life, like college funds and 401(k)s. Makes you find the joy and see that all the material things that run the lives of most people really mean nothing at all."
-- Tegan Drapehs
Baby Makes Your Day
"Hmm, let me count the ways life changes after a kid: no sex, no sleep, no alone time; anxiety about whether or not I'm a good parent; and did I mention no sleep? But most important, leaving work on time so I can see that bubbly face light up when I walk in the door. At that exact moment I realize that I must be doing something right."
A New Timeline
"Before, if it took me 10 minutes to get somewhere, I grabbed my bag and left 10 minutes before I had to be there. After the first baby, I soon realized I had to feed her, change her, gather her stuff, load her into the car seat, load the stroller into the car, get her back out and change the huge blowout that happened the second I put the car into reverse to back out of the garage, then change my shirt because she spit up all over me, and then try again. I finally learned to add about 30 minutes on to my 'leave by' time. Huge adjustment. (Of course, by the time the next baby came, I needed another 10 minutes for the baby and the potty-training toddler.)"
-- Kelly England McElwain
"You don't get to go to the bathroom alone anymore, and you can actually get by on three showers a week if you have to. But don't you dare skip laundry day!"
-- Tia Delao
Wake Up Call
"After having a baby, you'll never need an alarm clock again! My son is 15 months old and I'm 5 months pregnant. I have not used an alarm clock since I came home from the hospital after my son was born."
-- Becky Shapiro
A New Perspective
"You see the world in a different way. It's much scarier and more dangerous now, yet at the same time you get to see things through the eyes of an innocent child, with wonder and amazement. A crawling caterpillar is more entertaining than Dora, a field of dandelions is not weeds -- it's hundreds of wish flowers -- and lemonade is the best drink ever!"
-- JeanMarie Morrise
"I started healthier eating habits, to lead by example. I thought I was already eating well, but I didn't realize how much better I could do. So when my son was born I kicked it up a notch or two. Now he's 7 and a very good eater. I've witnessed some pretty good choices on his part, too, like asking for milk when his papa offered him soda!"
-- Kelly Hardison
Your Spouse is More Important
"I've relied on my spouse more than ever, from the moment I said, 'We're pregnant,' through pregnancy, delivery, and those first few days home with your new baby. Watching the man you love shift into a new role as a daddy -- it's a wonderful journey with your spouse, especially when he holds baby for the first time. Priceless!"
-- Heather Ludwick
No Sleep, No Problem
"I was amazed by how quickly I adjusted to the lack of sleep -- how much I could still get done after only two to three hours of sleep. I was able to hold a conversation and think straight, on most days, even though I had been up most of the night."
-- Ali Mygrants
"Before you have kids, you go to a movie fifty times a year. After you have kids, you watch the same movie fifty times a day."
-- Erica Byrd
Pets Become Just Pets
"Your pets, which you used to hold in the highest regard, and considered 'people with four furry legs,' become simply 'pets,' like everyone said they would. My pets are no longer my "kids." I still love them, but I don't prioritize them the same way I did. They were my world before I had my daughter."
-- Jayme Johnson Bond
"I used to be really worried about keeping my house clean. Every Saturday morning I would clean the whole house before doing anything else. Now, my house gets cleaned every two to three weeks because I would much rather watch Saturday morning cartoons snuggled on the couch with my kids! My priorities have changed more than I ever expected they would."
-- Brandie Silvey Thompson
"My closet used to hold tons of clothes, and I shopped nearly every week for new shoes, tops, dresses, etc. Now my daughter, Callie, has the most extensive wardrobe ever for a 13-month-old. My closet, on the other hand, has dust and moths. My husband quit smoking after 15 years when Callie came along. He also gave up his Friday-night drinks with his buddies. We hang out only with other parents and their kids now, which just sort of happened. My mother and I are speaking again and we're forming a nice relationship, all because of one little girl. Callie sure changed a lot of things about my life; most important, I learned that I could love someone more than myself, more than life, so much that it hurts sometimes."
-- Stephanie Reeves Cottrill
A New Fashion
"Your go-to black top/dress/sweater/jacket is no longer your go-to top/dress/sweater/jacket unless you want everyone to know that your child wiped her drool and snot on you during that sweet hug goodbye when you dropped her off at daycare. White is the new black for now."
-- Jennifer Taillac
Who's Looking After Mom?
"No one takes care of mom when she's sick -- you still have to get up and do everything as normal."
-- Jodi Pierce
All About Baby
"It's not all about me anymore. It was always about me. Now I'm lucky if I even get a nap. My life is for her. Everything I do is for her. Not one second goes by that I'm not consumed by thoughts of anxiety, worry, joy, and pure love. What I do wish I was warned about is how your marriage changes, too - not on purpose, but it also changes."
-- Lisandra Cobos
"I was surprised by how confident I've become. When I look in the mirror, I think I look more beautiful than before ever, though I know I look no different. I just feel like being a mom gives me the confidence to not care so much what other people think."
-- Leanne Kaufmann Wellert
Becoming a Mom
"The minute my daughter was born I was instantly transformed. I was no longer me, I was Mom, and that is the most powerful feeling in the world."
-- Ashley Gabriel
Saying Ridiculous Things
When you become a parent you start saying totally parenty things. Everyone kind of expects this, though, so it's no great shock to hear yourself saying "Just one more bite!" Or "You'll understand when you're older." What is a bit surprising is the complete nonsense you hear yourself saying when conversing with toddlers. "But I can't show you the picture until I take it!" is a commonly heard quip around here. As is "If you're cold, put your clothes back on," and "Please get your finger out of your butthole while you're eating."
That said, there is something wonderful about living in a land of whimsy 24/7. Parenting young children means you're bound to find yourself deep in complex conversations about invented animals, the inner lives of dollies, and whether or not wolves/fairies/cookie-trees/mean people are really real. Hey, it's better than discussing Kimye or whatever it is grownups talk about.