10 Ways Becoming a Parent Changes You Forever

Ways Becoming a Parent Changes You ForeverIn this article I share the many ways becoming a parent changes you forever – so you know what to expect – and that you’re not alone.

There are tens of thousands of “expecting parent” books on the market to help you prepare for bringing your first child home. But no matter how many books you read, videos you watch, or advice you get from parenting sites like babykidcare.com, nothing prepares you for the reality of becoming a parent.

Until you’re responsible for a child, you are the most important thing in your world. You’re not exactly selfish, but you are ego-centric — you live your day focused on your future.

I know this from my own life – being a mom and a bestselling philosophical author and founder of the therapist recommended video course called The Anxiety Cure.

With this in mind, I put together this article sharing how being a parent changes your life in many ways.

10 Ways Becoming a Parent Changes You Forever

When you become a parent, here are 10 ways that life changes forever.

1. You Live in the Minute

As a non-parent, what’s your planning schedule look like? Chances are, when friends ask you to do something, you can envision what your evening, next day, and next weekend will look like and respond accordingly.

Having a child throws that planning out of whack. You can try to schedule appointments and events, but your child dictates whether you attend. Until they’re much older, they can’t control their moods, illnesses, sleep needs, and other parts of life. Let your friends and family know you want to make it when you’re invited to places, but you won’t know when you can go until the last minute.

2. You Start Planning for the Future More

While it may seem like everything you do is a minute-by-minute thing, having a child opens your eyes to the future. What will your child need a year from now? Five years from now? When your kids graduate high school?

With these thoughts in mind, you begin planning for their future through your decisions. Who will take care of them if something happens to you? How will they pay for college?

You’ll focus on your finances, health, home environment, and other parts of your future because they’re entwined with your child’s.

3. You Reconsider Your Relationships

When it’s just you or you and your significant other, those annoying friends and family members are easier to put up with. But once you have a little one who will be influenced by them, you pay more attention to their behaviors and words.

You may choose to spend less time with people whose morals don’t match yours. This will mean establishing healthy boundaries. You’ll also want to keep your baby’s health safe, so you’ll likely avoid people with unhealthy habits or who are chronically sick with contagious germs.

4. You Become Less Judgmental

When you don’t have any children, it’s so easy to judge other parents. “My child wouldn’t act like that. I wouldn’t give in to those temper tantrums. I would never leave the house without showering/with mismatched shoes/with throw-up all over my shirt.”

Until you have a child, and then you understand.

Of course, there are those parents who stay judge-y. Parenting is hard enough on its own without having to worry about being shamed by others when you’re trying your best. Don’t be those judge-y parents. Give out the grace you’d hope to receive when you’re having a bad day. If you haven’t had one yet, be patient. It will happen, and it’s okay.

5. You Become More Patient

Speaking of patience, there’s nothing like being a parent to teach you this character trait. Things that used to be your pet peeve or irritate you quickly become easier to put up with. You’ll start dealing with certain things, like whining or (let’s be honest) boogers, in a way you’d never have thought possible before you brought a new life into your family.

Seeing things through your child’s eyes makes you realize that there are more important things than forcing your child to eat a dinner they don’t want just because you’re “in charge.” Raising them to become happy, well-adjusted adults is the goal; that journey will teach you to become more patient and flexible with how you get them there.

6. You Change Your Cleaning Habits

You might not think too much about your “cleaning habits” right now. However, once you have kids, you’ll quickly see you fall into one of two categories: the neat freak or the naturally messy.

If you’re a neat freak, being a parent will teach you which parts of keeping your home clean are essential and which areas you can be more flexible with. Spending time with your child, catching up on sleep when you can, and juggling your other tasks will take priority.

On the other hand, if you’re naturally messy, you’ll start to clean up after yourself more. Everything becomes either a germ-laden danger, something your child can get hurt on, or a choking hazard.

Either way, your cleaning habits will change until you find a happy medium.

7. You Learn to Control Your Emotions

Right now, when you feel emotional, you probably feel safe letting them out in whatever way you feel the most comfortable with. Yet, when there’s a child around you, you notice how you handle your feelings, and you realize they’ll start copying you.

Negative reactions, such as slamming doors, screaming, fighting, etc., aren’t healthy for kids to observe. When you get upset, you’ll start controlling your emotions better. Likewise, when your child does something “wrong” but funny, you’ll leave the room before bursting out into laughter.

8. Holidays Are Valued More

There’s something about being a child that makes each holiday more magical. Each holiday experience seen through your child’s eyes will make you value them more and leave the stuffy world of adulthood and responsibilities behind for at least a few hours.

9. You Pack Differently

Leaving the house as an adult means making sure you have your keys, wallet, and phone. With a child, you’ll need a diaper bag full of essentials: wipes, diapers, extra outfits, food, beverages, diaper cream, baby medicine, and much more.

You’ll pack differently for quick errands, and planning for a long-term trip becomes a process rather than throwing things in a suitcase at the last minute.

10. You Learn What Self-Care Really Means

Last but not least comes the importance of self-care. Without children, you can take a bath, relax in a hot shower, enjoy your morning cup of coffee, and even sleep in if you’re tired and not in a rush that day. These are things you take for granted, and “self-care” makes you picture things like a massage, pedicure, or other pampering activities.

Once you have kids, the definition of self-care changes, but the need for it does not. Whatever gives your batteries a recharge, whether it’s reading a book in peace for a few minutes or taking 20 minutes instead of five minutes in and out of the shower, is your self-care.

Recap: Parenting Changes You

Some days it may be hard to do these little things. Still, you’ll see how a few minutes to yourself makes you a better parent to your child.

With all of these lessons learned that come from parenting, you evolve into a better, truer version of yourself. You want to be a role model that your child can learn from, not a “Do as I say, not as I do” human. You won’t be perfect, but how you handle your errors can teach your child how to learn from their mistakes with empathy and compassion.

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