One thing first time parents often worry about is if having a baby will change who they are as a person. And, if it does, is it a change for better, or for worse?
There are so many ways your life changes after you have a baby. You no longer have the independence to “drop everything” and play hooky or even grab a late bite. When you look at the clock, and it’s 2AM, you’re not sad that the bar is closing; you’re groggy and feeding a helpless, tiny human. You have so much responsibility. And, while you might have read or thought of these things already, there are a few things that most people aren’t honest enough to admit about how having a baby changes you and how it affects your everyday interactions.
First, you’re tired. All the time. If you’ve ever worked out to the point where your muscles ached the next day, you might think you know what this means. You do not. You cannot even come close to imagining what the day in, day out commitment of having a baby is like. It’s one of those life mysteries – one of those magical life moments – that you can only experience. And that’s one of the things that makes being a parent wonderful, and frightening, and exhausting. I won’t bore you with the details. But, just know that the fatigue of being a new parent cannot be exaggerated. It’s both mental and physical. But if we’re being honest? It’s mostly mental. Which brings me to my next order of business…
When you have a child, maturity is everything. And let’s not confuse that with age. There are people on this earth who will die immature and irresponsible. There are some who spend time earning their maturity. And there are others who are born old souls. Don’t judge a parent by his/her age. Judge a parent by their actions. Or better yet, don’t judge a parent at all. Because, one day, you’ll be the lunatic in the grocery store. And, even if you’re not, you’ll be a crazy person inside your own head. Or maybe you’ll just be the crazy person to your husband. Either way, you’re not going to escape the crazy. Deal with it. And learn to manage it when you’re speaking to others. Yes, your husband/wife/significant other might understand absolutely everything you’re going through, but that doesn’t make it fair to unload all your shit onto the person you love.
Speaking of love, remember all the reasons you made a baby in the first place. That tiny human is half you, half the love of your life (but if you don’t know who your baby daddy is, then I guess you can skip to the next paragraph). Make time for each other. You might be rolling your eyes at that, but you really shouldn’t, because guess what? Hanging out with the person you love shouldn’t feel like a chore. If it does, you’re doing it wrong. And you probably need to spend more time together. Oh, and every conversation doesn’t need to be about “the baby”. If you don’t know what that means, then you need to read something other than baby/pregnancy/mommy blogs. Mmkay?
So, the question was: will having a baby make you a different person? Yes. And it will make you a better one, if you let it. Just don’t fight the changes. Throw yourself face-first into the uncomfortable. And be the parent your baby needs you to be. Not the irresponsible asshole you wanted to be in college. Because, after you graduate, that person doesn’t seem so cool anymore. In fact, those people are losers.