Before I had kids, I would always declare, “Having kids isn’t going to change me.” 

I guess back then I thought I didn’t need changing… or more likely that I was afraid of it. I mean, I’d seen what parenthood did to other people. How it made them more forgetful, how they seemed to not care that their bratty kids were affecting my peaceful dinner, how they couldn’t get out of the house without some sort of dried food or spit or snot on them, how they had the most boring weekends and nightlife.

No, having kids wasn’t going to change ME. I was going to remain my same put-together, hip, happy-hour-indulging self. That’s what babysitters and dry cleaning are for, right?

Flash forward to nearly 5 years after being baptized by explosive diapers into this realm of parenthood, and I don’t know what I was thinking. OF COURSE it would change me. Just like any major life event, it would change me. And thank goodness for that because I simply can’t envision 25-year-old childless me SURVIVING this.

If you’re on the cusp of  this major life change, if you’re halfway through your first pregnancy, or you’re contemplating getting pregnant sometime in the near future, take my advice. Don’t resist the change. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you’ll be the same person 1 year, 1 month, or even 1 day into parenthood.

Life is going to change. YOU are going to change. Your priorities, your tolerance,  your understanding, your views… they’re all going to change.

For one, the amount of time your life is going to revolve around poop is a life-changing experience in and of itself. It makes leaving the house a challenge in so many ways. So your priorities really shift from arriving somewhere on time, wrinkle and other crusty-substance-on-shirt free, to just getting there before they stop serving dinner, without any remnants on your person of the epic diaper you just cleaned up on your 4th attempt to leave the house.

So your kids aren’t sitting silently, perfectly still at the dinner booth. So you see the couple next to you rolling their eyes at your brood (while they, let me add, laugh loudly over their 3rd beer, causing the same level of noise your crowd is… but you’re still the one who feels like a burden). But you know what? The kids aren’t jumping off the table, and so far the only food they’ve thrown has landed on YOUR plate, and nobody else’s. You, my dear, will call that a win.

And by the time the weekend rolls around, the last thing you want to do is hunt down a babysitter you’re confident could keep your child alive long enough for  an ambulance to get there in the case of an emergency. Then pay more for them to come and sit at your house, use your wi-fi, and eat your food than you will spend on dinner.

Take the kids with you? HA! Hahahahahahahaha! You thought you’d be that couple that takes the kids everywhere, never missing out on a “fun” grown-up event, exposes them to cultural experiences, like concerts on the lawn and wine tastings while you push them in their expensive stroller and they sweetly coo at you, as you smile lovingly at them over your glass of riesling?

These are the ideas that CHILDLESS people have before they have children. Before they realize that a Saturday night at home with Chinese takeout and a bottle of red from the Target wine aisle is a million times better (and cheaper) than the hassle of a night out. That Redbox sure does have a swell collection of movies these days, too, golly gee.

Listen, this isn’t to say you won’t ever get out and do fun things after you have kids (with or without them), just that it takes about a month to plan for and pack the diaper bag for it, and 2 paychecks to cover the costs.

Now, this is probably freaking you the F out because, I get it, you don’t WANT to change. Nobody wants to. But I’m here to tell you that once you cross to the other side, it’s really not all that bad. You’ll survive. There will be an adjustment phase, but you’ll find your balance. One day soon, you’ll be making funnies on Facebook about your hot date with the Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond on a Saturday, and you’ll be okay seeing that come up right on top of your childless friends’ pictures from that concert and bar crawl you missed the night before.

It’s not that your life is better than your childless friends’ now. I certainly don’t mean to imply that people who have children change for the better, thus meaning those without children aren’t living as good a life. It’s just a different life, with a whole different set of perks and challenges. A life you can’t live and experience fully if you don’t change. So don’t fight the change children bring. If having kids is what you want, the change is worth it.

 

18 thoughts on “Don’t Fight The Change”

  1. Amen!

    My all time favorite is when my childless friends ask what I’ve been up to lately and I point at my 2-year old. Then they look at me and ask what else I’ve been up to. Ha!

  2. I think it definitely changes you, but it doesn’t have to change you in the way I was afraid of, pre-kids. I was afraid I’d have to suddenly turn into some new, baby-loving, mushy, girl-y girl, stuffy mom. (Not that there’s anything wrong with anyone fitting that description, it just didn’t seem like ME.) What I learned instead was that I stayed ME, but a new sort of Me Expanded. I still don’t love babies, except my own. I still love the things I loved before kids. My fun has changed and my habits and priorities and all those things. But I was thankfully able to retain my sense of self, the one thing I did NOT want to lose. Love this post!

  3. The poop thing…tonight, in the middle of the meal my 2-year-old announced he needs to go potty. Dropping everything I run to the bathroom with him. He poops – in the potty! I feel like I won a prize. I pour the content of the potty into the toilet and ask him to flush. He is looking at the bits of poop floating in the toilet, then points at it and says: “It’s broken, Mommy.” I ask him: “Do you mean it’s in pieces?” He says: “Yes. Can you fix it?” Umm…nope! Is this how I envisioned motherhood? Umm…nope…

  4. I worked at a baby store, and had a customer on the phone telling her friend “I can’t go into labor tomorrow, I have brunch plans”. When she got off the phone my co-worker and I asked if we heard her right. She responded with “yes, this baby isn’t going to change my life. He can come along with me, but my life will not change for him”. She had no idea what was about to come.

  5. So, would your childless self have listened to your advice?? 😉 I noticed that I did lots of stuff when my first child was still happily snoozing in his carseat. Now? Yeah right, if there is a wine tasting or other fun event that I am actually going to need to shower and fix my hair for, I will definitely want enjoy myself, therefore I will not be chasing down some runaway kid at an concert in the park! Lol

  6. I had those thoughts too, thinking “I’m going to take this baby everywhere with us, we’ll travel with baby, etc.” Hahahaha 🙂 To an extent, our first was pretty travel friendly, slept well in the car. Enter second baby, not a chance! He hates being in the car and only takes short naps. We’re pretty much home all the time and prefer it that way until he grows out of this stage a bit. So much less stressful to be in the comfort of home, without judgmental strangers’ looks eyeing you.

  7. I worked at a baby store, and had a customer on the phone telling her friend “I can’t go into labor tomorrow, I have brunch plans”. When she got off the phone my co-worker and I asked if we heard her right. She responded with “yes, this baby isn’t going to change my life. He can come along with me, but my life will not change for him”. She had no idea what was about to come.

  8. Bahahaha. “a Saturday night at home with Chinese takeout and a bottle of red from the Target wine aisle is a million times better (and cheaper) than the hassle of a night out. That Redbox sure does have a swell collection of movies these days, too, golly gee.” <- That's my idea of a great night NOW. So, apparently that part of parenting will be an easy transition. Love me some sweatpants.

  9. I love this post! AMEN SISTER! I was one of those people who would roll my eyes at whining kids at dinner, cringe at the thought of sitting next to a toddler on an airplane, etc. then I had kids! Karma’s a b*tch! We hardly go anywhere…it’s too much work!

  10. Yup. They are little bundles of self sacrifice but you sure do fine good wine in boxes these days and a Netflix streaming account can keep you occupied for HOURS.

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