5 Relationships That Change When You Become A Parent
Growth comes in many forms once you and your partner join the parenthood club.
The moment you become a parent, everything in your life changes. Yes, I’m aware this is the most cliché thing to say, like, ever. But, it’s true. Not only do you go from only having to take care of yourself to taking care of another tiny helpless human, you also go from doing anything you want whenever you want, to doing the exact opposite of that.
Before I had my baby, I always told myself (and anyone who would listen) that I would never be your typical mom. I’d say thing like, “I’ll never miss girls nights” or “I’ll never stop going to the gym” — and now me, as a parent, laughs in my old self’s face. Hard. There is nothing out there to say that you have to stop these things. However, given the limited time I do have to myself, I’ve opted for other things that require my attention instead. Those other things include making an income (lol) and cleaning my house (and also myself ).
So many things in my life have changed in the past 8.5 months — but the things that have changed most drastically are my relationships. My marriage, my friendships, my career, my personal well-being and my money have all seen adjustments. Adjustments that are necessary to fit with my new lifestyle. The one that revolves around a pudgy-cheeked baby who loves to suck up every ounce of energy I can muster in a day. She’s s’cute though.
So, if you’re expecting, or planning to grow your family — here are some ways your relationships may change: the good, the bad and the other…
Parenting changes your relationship with your significant other
The good: Communication is no longer optional. You become comfortable discussing the uncomfortable and you are faced with some of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever have to make. The bright side of this challenge is that you’ll have someone you truly love to make those decisions with you and by your side.
The bad: In many respects, you will have to mourn your old relationship for awhile. Gone are the days where you can go on a spur of the moment date night or take off on a weekend getaway without heaps of planning.
The other: Growth comes in many forms once you and your partner join the parenthood club. You’ll experience growth spurts, growth charts, and most importantly — personal growth.
Parenting changes your relationship with your friends
The good: What’s that country song that sounds like every other country song called again? Oh, right. You find out who your friends are. This one might sound a bit dreadful because you may realize that those you truly loved before no longer fit into your lifestyle. However, those that do fit and that are supportive become so much more than you ever knew you needed. It’s not easy to maintain relationships once you’re a parent, so having friends that understand this and are willing to meet you (more than) halfway is key.
The bad: You’ll probably go through a phase where you kind of suck as a friend yourself. Unfortunately, it’s not always someone else who is the problem. Sometimes it’s you, too. However, learning to balance your relationships without spreading yourself too thin is one of those ways you’ll grow as a person. Those willing to wait for you should be thanked over and over again. We love a patient friend.
The other: Finding other parent friends isn’t always easy, but it’s honestly super valuable. More often than not, it’s best to ask a real human person for guidance rather than typing into the Google bot and crossing your fingers your baby doesn’t have a development delay or super rare illness because they pooped funny and you don’t know what to do about it. Chances are, one of your other parent friends has seen a similar poop.
Parenting changes your relationship with your work
The good: Taking time off (if you choose or are able to do so) will really help you discover how you’d like to spend your time. Do you miss your job, your co-workers, and your workload? Or do you enjoy the break and want to find something that better aligns with your life as a new parent? Sometimes it’s not always an easy answer — but it does make you think.
The bad: It’s hard not to give birth to a child and fear that your job will no longer need you, will replace you, or that once you do go back you’ll never be able to catch up. Often times, these feelings are unavoidable. Just remember to remind yourself that you are of value to any employer who gets the chance to work with or for you.
The other: People will make a ton of assumptions about you now that you’re a parent. They may assume you’ll stay home, they may assume you’ll go back to work earlier or later than you plan, they may assume that you aren’t as committed to the job as your co-worker who doesn’t have a child. Unfortunately, everyone likes to assume that they know parents because they are parents or they know a lot of parents. But, the reality is that we’re all different and we all live our lives in a way that is best for our family, and our family only.
Parenting changes your relationship with yourself
The good: Personally, the moment I became a mom is the moment I realized that there are bigger things to worry about than whether or not my lipstick needs a touchup, whether I’d miss a bachelorette party or whether I’m wearing the latest fashion. Parenthood means maturing, and focusing on staying healthy for new reasons. I now want to go to the gym so that I am healthy for my daughter, I want to get a massage so that I can continue to rock my daughter, and I want to wear comfortable clothes so that if she spills on me it’s not the end of the world.
The bad: Who am I anymore? Like, seriously. I don’t even know because I hardly get any time to myself. Parents are some of the toughest people I know. Why? Because they are no longer living their life for themselves. They are truly living to ensure that their children are able to do everything they need and want to do — which means letting go of some things that they used to do for themselves go.
The other: Suddenly, all of your emotions are heightened. It might be because you haven’t slept in 72 hours, or it might be because you are laughing, crying and screaming all at the same time. Either way, some emotions you didn’t know you could feel or would feel have come to the surface, and it’s time to just ride the wave, my friends.
Parenting changes your relationship with your finances
The good: Fresh air? Never heard of it. Because for the first three months of having a baby I barely left my couch. Although it’s only temporary, you will soon stop spending money on anything other than coffee, baby supplies and take out. Sure — those can be costly. But so were your other spending habits!
The bad: I mean, can the good be bad, too? The amount of things parents buy because they need to get things done fast is ridiculous. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d pay anything for fast groceries and faster food.
The other: Baby products, expenses and supplies are not cheap. However, they are important. Learning how to save and plan for the future becomes essential once you have a child. In fact, those habits will likely start to creep in before your little one even joins the pack.
When you become a parent, you really learn who you are and what you need
Family is family — whether it’s two of you or ten of you, there are always times in your life that you will experience ups and downs. But if there is one rollercoaster ride you cannot predict — it’s parenthood.
Change is never easy, but it’s definitely good. So hey, embrace it — just like you’ll be embracing a million + one diaper changes.