Whether a couple has been together for many years or just starting out together, welcoming a new baby to your relationship means big changes. This is usually the point in your lives when you refer to yourselves as a “family” rather than just a “couple.” Knowing you will be adjusting to changes is one thing, but knowing what those changes are helps prepare you even more. You will be able to navigate through the parenthood journey together a little more smoothly.
So What Kinds of Changes Can You Expect Once Baby Arrives?
1. Differences in Parenting Styles
You may agree on everything now, but when it comes to parenting, there will likely be some differences in opinion. What may surprise you is how protective you feel about your kids. If your spouse is disciplining in a way you don’t approve, or not paying enough attention to the child, this can bring up very strong emotions. Talk about your parenting philosophy now. Discuss issues such as whether you agree on spanking, organized sports, one parent staying home to raise the kids, and so forth. Respect the other parent’s opinion. Remember, you are in this together and differences are normal. It’s how you work through these differences that will define parents who are a team versus parents who operate separately.
2. Less Time Together
Children take a lot of time, attention, and energy so this is not a surprise. If you were used to quality time as a couple, you will now have to enjoy that time with a little one at your feet. Enjoy every moment together, even if the kids are around. Your baby will be a very special connection that only the two of you can share together. Also, schedule time for one another. Making these arrangements (babysitter, packing items, and money) can feel overwhelming at first, but spending that quality time with your spouse is a must.
3. Changes in Roles
Some couples redefine their roles after having kids. The man or the woman may shift their priorities from career-focused to family-focused and take on more of a domestic role in the home. Before kids, I was very career driven, and was highly surprised to find that after kids, I wanted more of a role in caring for my kids, my husband, and my home. Every couple is different and it can take some time to find the right fit for your family.
I have yet to meet a couple with kids who sleep late any more. Kids wake up early, and they don’t care if it’s Saturday morning or whether you were up late the night before. Staying up late all of a sudden doesn’t have the same appeal because you will always suffer for it the next day 🙂
5. Weekends at Home
Going out on the weekend can be a task with kids. You have to find childcare, and then make sure they have everything they need before you go. Unless you have family or other free childcare, you are also spending an extra sum of money for your night out. Like I mentioned above though, alone time will be important, so try to plan for once a month or as often as you can. It will be worth it!
6. New Social Circles
If you were hanging out with kid-free friends before, chances are you are going to see them less and meet other couples with kids. Why? First of all, other couples with kids understand when your toddler throws a tantrum over dinner and when you call it a night at 8:30 instead of 12:30. Secondly, kids can entertain one another. If your kid has a friend to play with, in a kid-friendly home, you can sit back and relax (your new definition of relaxing).
7. Financial Changes
This goes without an explanation. Having kids is an expense. It will be important to get ready for this before you baby arrives.
8. So Much Laughter!
I have never laughed so much in my life as I have since having my kids. When I think back to life pre-kids, I have plenty of good memories, but I never felt the kind of joy I feel with my kids. As a couple, you will be able to share these moments together. No one else will find the story or expression as comical as you do, so this will be a bond that only you will share as parents.
9. You Learn A LOT of Patience
I added this one in at the last minute. I realized how patient I have become when my toddler was throwing a classic terrible-two tantrum during dinner this week. It didn’t rattle me like it used to and I was actually able to tune it out and continue my conversation with my husband. Wow, this is an accomplishment!
10. You Kinda Loose Your Mind
Something happens between pregnancy and kids where you loose the sharp mind you used to have. There is so much on your mind that you can only keep track of so much. A friend of mine once told me “with kids your mind is never free.” So very true.
This is a question that can only be answered once you have your kids. It’s a journey like no other, and one that fills your heart with joy!
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