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1. You’re suddenly ten times more productive—when you can be.
When you’re responsible for the wellbeing of another human at all hours of the day, even when you’re not physically present, time is suddenly THE most valuable commodity. So when you have a pocket of time to complete a task or a given project, you get down to fucking business. You don’t doddle—at all. Because you know that the window for getting that task done might close at any second—as soon as your baby wakes or demands a diaper change or the nanny calls with a dismal update about a sniffly nose or a fever. You use every precious minute of your day that’s available to get stuff done because all of the time you once spent surfing the web mindlessly or letting yourself get distracted now goes to childcare.
2. You worship sleep.
Sleep is the new sex. Actually. It feels that awesome. Every time you put your baby to bed, you implore him or her to sleep well. But the truth is, you can’t count on them to do that. Ever. Even a “good sleeper” who starts sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old is destined to wake up at 4am now and then. And every baby eventually teethes or gets sick or just decides to regress suddenly. For parents, every night’s a gamble. You’re no longer in control of your own sleep schedule. It doesn’t matter if you dutifully turn off the lights at 9pm. Your slumber might very well be interrupted by forces beyond your control. Which makes every single hour of sleep that you do manage to get incredibly valuable. You learn to nap whenever you can, stealing a half hour here and there, and you worship every 8-hour stretch you get like it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
3. You care less about life’s tiny frustrations.
It’s not that you’re suddenly more laissez-faire. It takes practice letting the little things go without second thought, but you have no choice but to adapt. If you were to let every tiny frustration irk you, you’d have literally zero time left for anything other than baby plus worrying, which isn’t a healthy recipe for living. Something’s gotta give, you realize, and it’s far better to let the small stuff go than the big stuff, right? You have to save your mental energy for appreciating important milestones. You simply don’t have it in you to care too much about whether or not you inadvertently offended that guy at work, or whether you maybe should’ve saved your two bucks instead of spending it, impulsively, on a frosted sugar cookie. You don’t have the bandwidth to ping-pong for more than a half sec over what movie to watch, or what to eat for dinner. In the grander scheme, it just doesn’t matter. You see that now!
4. You put less effort into how you look.
It’s not that you suddenly don’t give a shit about wearing clean underwear or showering daily. It’s that you don’t have the option to get your shit together every single morning like you once did. Your baby’s dirty diaper or their hunger will generally take precedence over your personal hygiene, which means that you have less time to do your hair and makeup and pick out flattering outfits. You tend to grab whatever clothes are within reach and you feel grateful if you get to brush your teeth for the full two-minute cycle. Luckily, you’re probably so busy caring for your baby that you barely notice that you look like shit half the time.
5. You shed the toxic people from your life once and for all.
Once upon a time, you let certain people walk all over you. You figured that there was little harm in being kind, even if that kindness wasn’t being reciprocated. You figured you’d be the person putting good karma out into the world, even when people mistreated you. But once you have a baby, you realize that there isn’t enough room in your life for such nonsense. If you’re going to socialize or interact with anyone outside your nuclear family unit, it better fucking be enjoyable and/or enriching in some manner. There’s just no wiggle room anymore. You won’t let toxic friends or family members squeeze their way in via guilt trip or gaslighting. Good riddance to all the shitty people you once tolerated even a smidge!