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1. You have so many fewer options, which means you’re way less likely to waste time ping-ponging between choices. Having a kid impacts everything from choosing a restaurant to selecting leisure activities and buying a new car. That said, decision making is so much easier when you have fewer options. The paradox of choice dictates that too many options can actually make the process of choosing super burdensome. Throw a kid into the mix and the pool of possibilities magically shrinks in a way that makes life wonderfully simpler.
2. Time truly flies once you have a child. But your awareness that time is always ticking will help you weed out the things you once paid heed to that never actually mattered. Kids have a way of speeding up time, which is terrifying but also electrifying. One minute you’re holding your infant, wondering if they’ll latch onto your breast properly for a feeding, the next minute they’re rolling onto their stomach all on their own, and then they’re graduating from kindergarten and asking if they can borrow the car. When you become a mom or a dad, you will make an effort to detoxify your life so there’s room to do the stuff that’s most important, all too aware that time passes way too quickly. You will see that the “little moments” that bring you so much joy as a family day-to-day aren’t so little after all—those little moments are in fact what counts.
3. On the surface, parenthood might seem kind of boring, but it’s secretly the best way ever to feel perpetually useful. A lot of parenting is just being around so you’re there if something bad happens, plus cleaning up the many messes tiny, uncoordinated people with lots of energy tend to leave in their wake. But guess what? When you’re the parent, seemingly boring stuff like picking up toys and wiping crustified banana off the floor make you feel super useful. When you’re not only responsible for your own life, but that of some kids’ as well, there’s literally ALWAYS something to do, and, by extension, some way to feel valuable.
4. You won’t always be able to get things done exactly when you want to, but when you do get the chance to tackle a project, you will transform into the most productive you ever. Parenthood involves so many unexpected needs, like bruised knees, sticky hands, and random crying fits. As a mom or dad, you can’t control your schedule like you once did. But because you live with this kid-specific cloud of uncertainty floating above your head at all times, threatening your productivity, when you do have a little time to get something done—because the baby is finally asleep or because you’ve hired a sitter for a few hours—you will cross To Do’s off your list like a champion.
5. Suddenly, there’s so much more on your plate, but you’ll impress yourself with just how much you’re capable of. You thought you knew what multitasking meant before you had a kid but this new balancing act you’re charged with is next-level. You’ve got daily pick-ups and drop-offs to orchestrate, playdates to plan, school functions to attend, random messes (figurative and literal) to clean, and lunches to pack. But you’ll be surprised by how much you can take on. You get it all done because you have to. It’s remarkable, really, how awesome you are.
6. Your social life subsides, but so does your urge to have one. When you have a tiny person to look after 24-7, you can no longer indulge your every whim. You can’t pop out the door to see the friend who’s in town unexpectedly or escape to the movies on a weekend afternoon without finding someone to mind your brood temporarily. And when you plan a night out in advance, it costs twice as much since you have to pay for a babysitter on top of everything else, which is kind of a bummer. The thing is, nights at home are suddenly more fun when there’s a mini-me around, so you’ll find yourself foregoing more and more social events anyway.
7. You have an automatic get-out-of-things-you-don’t-want-to-do card. Once you’re a parent, people are a lot less likely to question why you can’t make it or to push you into something you’re not that thrilled about. Basically, you get to say “no” all you want without the hassle of defending your decision or wondering if you’re offending anyone, especially other parents who just get it.
8. Children and sleep deprivation are a package deal, but when you do get sleep as a parent, it feels BEYOND RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING. You can’t predict when your kid might get sick or wake up screaming from a bad dream. Without a doubt, your sleep will be interrupted again and again and again over the years. But when you do get a nice long stretch of z’s, you will have a newfound appreciation for something that was once just a thing you did around 10pm.
9. While parenting is expensive, it’s also a good lesson in fiscal responsibility. On top of another mouth to feed, there’s another body to clothe, another person who might break a limb and require spontaneous medical attention, and another brain that might demand collegiate nurturing one day. That said, having children also makes you more mindful of money because you’re forced to consider the aforementioned realities. You’re way more likely to start saving and spending more responsibly once your economic decisions impact not just you, but your kid too.
10. New life has a way of prompting people to think about death, which can be quite bleak. Except that considering your mortality can also be quite inspiring. Suddenly, you will see clearly that your life is incredibly short, and that every minute of it counts. You will think about your current age and calculate approximately how much longer you have to enjoy your family and you will commit to appreciating every single second that you get to be in their company, which is heartwarming.