Whether you want it to or not, life changes after you have kids. In fact, “life changes” is probably an understatement. “Life is flipped completely upside down” sounds more like it. Don’t misunderstand – life with kids is a gift, but you should just be prepared for change. Even our thoughts change because most of the time what we think about is directly related to our kids somehow. In no particular order, here are the top things that parents think more about after having kids.
Food is something that you didn’t used to have to think about. It was something that you thought of when you were hungry, and when you knew what it was you wanted to eat. Forget those days: You think about food now in terms of what you will feed a family. Forget your beloved cheese pizza because little Suzy is lactose intolerant. You might be thinking about that pizza, but you certainly won’t be thinking of how you’ll be eating it soon.
It’s no surprise that kids cost money… tons of money. Now, and in the future. You live life buying enough stuff – food, toilet paper, clothes, laundry detergent, etcetera – for you, your spouse, and your children. That is no cheap way to live! In addition, you are saving for their future needs: college, cars, weddings. No wonder you think about money all the time!
Ah, vacation: You think about it very often. You think about it while you’re sitting in carpool line, or nursing your baby at 2am, or prepping dinner for your family of five. You don’t think about the Disney World kind of vacation, you think about the adults only all-inclusive kind of vacation: The one you know is not in the near future, but the one you long to experience.
Mostly, you think about lack of it when it comes to sleep: You didn’t get enough sleep. You are tired. You will put the kids to bed early and you will go to bed early tonight. Sometimes your days and your thoughts revolve around it for a reason: Because you simply didn’t get enough.
Sure, you and your spouse thought about sex before kids. You acted on those thoughts whenever the mood happened to strike, and life was simple. Now, you have a kid who insists on falling asleep in your bed every night, and you’re running on fumes anyway. You think about how you miss the simpler days of sex, where it didn’t require planning or effort. You think about how you’ll rekindle those days as your kids grow and become more independent. But for now, you just miss it.
Never have you ever been more concerned with the stomach bug. Sickness never concerned you before kids. Sure, it was a nuisance whenever you came down with the flu, but you weren’t so worried about it that you avoided public places in high flu season. Now? Admit it: You try not to leave the house when you hear the words, “flu epidemic” on your nightly news.
This may have been an after thought before kids, a morally upright thing for you to do from time to time. Studies show that your entire view on religion changes when kids enter the picture. Suddenly, you care more about morals and you don’t want your kids growing up in a world without Sunday School.
Before, your spouses buddies’ belches would just roll right off your back as you thought, gross. Now, you think more about having a serious discussion with him about his manners for fear that he’ll rub off on your little ones. Table manners, language, common courtesy, you know they watch everything you do, so you better be on your best behavior!
Remember the days where you picked a car because it was cool and fun to drive? Those days are over. Your car now must have a 5 star crash test rating. Before, you might drive through a rough part of town to get somewhere. Now? You’ll go all the way around town to avoid it. Let’s face it: Safety is your priority no matter what you do because you have to protect those little munchkins.
After kids, you think about time. You plan it, you run out of it, it goes too fast: all of the above consume you. You don’t get your years with your kids back, and while lots has changed that you may find kind of annoying, you know you’ll miss this time when it’s gone. Most of the time, you think about time.
If you haven’t had kids yet, read this list thoroughly and understand how much every aspect of your life will change before you take the plunge.