So, you’re expecting your first baby? Congratulations! Just so you know, all of those promises you made to yourself about what your life will be like once you have kids… you’ll probably break most of them, and soon. Parenting is one of those experiences that you can’t really understand without doing it. The moment that baby arrives, many things in your life are going to change. Permanently.
Here are five things in your life that will never be the same.
1. Your House
Big changes are coming to the home front as well. These will probably happen in a few stages. By now you might already have the nursery set up and a house full of cute new baby gear. It’s more than you thought, but it’s not taking over or anything. And hey, you managed to pick out things that wouldn’t really clash with your current decor. It’s all good, right?
At the newborn stage, this may be true. Your baby can’t really move around on his own yet, so the amount of things he can get into is relatively small. Big changes are coming, though, at the crawling stage, then again at the walking stage, and once more at the climbing stage. Gradually you’ll find yourself moving things up higher and higher from the floor.
If your home decor resembles anything like a Pottery Barn catalog, its days are numbered. Elegant furnishings will soon be masked behind padded table corners, drawer locks, and safety latches. Babyproofing merits an article of its own.
2. Your Social Life
Most of us are well aware that social activities will be curtailed once the baby arrives (if not before, during the last several weeks of pregnancy). That’s something we know and accept about parenthood. However, there might still be a small part of you that thinks it won’t be so bad, or swears that the baby won’t have a big impact on your night life.
In actuality, it will probably affect your social life even more than you can possibly realize. Once the baby comes, consider yourself grounded. For a long, long time.
3. Your Car
Right now, you probably keep your car a certain way. Somewhat clean, somewhat organized, maybe a set of golf clubs or some other cherished possession in the trunk. A pair of sunglasses or two, plenty of cupholders, just the right music selection. It’s your fortress of solitude, associated with spontaneous road trips and fun nights out on the town.
Yeah, kiss most of that goodbye.
Transporting a baby any distance in your vehicle will take 90-95% of all seating, cargo, cupholder, and compartment room in your vehicle. There’s the car seat, the diaper bag, assorted bottles, blankets, pacifiers, toys, baby books, you name it. That stuff will spread throughout the car until there’s no room left for your stuff, which will quickly be relegated to a box in the garage.
Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of space soon. Because you’re headed for minivan ownership.
5. Your Friendships
You’re about to be placed into the category of “people who have kids,” and I’ll be honest: it can be hard to maintain friendships with those who don’t, no matter how close you are. So many things change about your perspective on life, and you’ll find yourself talking about your kids constantly.
This is not in your control, either. Your friends will be overwhelmed by the baby pictures in your Facebook feed, and if this bothers them, there’s not much to be done.
On the bright side, having children paves the way for new friendships because now you have something in common with lots of other people your age. Few things make for a better conversation starter with strangers than asking about their kids (or grandkids). Right away, you have common ground with them, and that’s a powerful thing.
5. Your Heart
Something fundamental and instinctive will happen when you have a baby: You’ve heard about maternal instincts and that sort of thing, but they only begin to scratch the surface. Now that you’ve brought a little infant into the world, and especially as you realize how wonderful that little person is, they become just about the most important thing imaginable.
Your heart will never be the same.
You will find yourself making lots of sacrifices — both small and large — for your child. More than you thought were necessary or even possible. Strangely, though, you’ll be happy to make them.