Before you have kids, you think you can do it all. “I can be a superwoman at work and a supermom at home!” You’ll tell yourself. And at first, after you have your first baby…you will. You’ll make it work: you’ll put in the hours at your job and bring your work home with you to work on at home. You’ll make homemade dinners every night, sing your baby lullabies and plan all of the crafts to do with your little one when he gets bigger. You’ll keep a super clean house, read bedtime stories, work out regularly and be there for every big, shining moment. And then one day…you’ll realize that you can’t do it anymore.
Ok, it’s not that you can’t. It’s that YOU DON’T WANT TO. Suddenly you realize that you don’t care as much about keeping your house perfectly clean and doing your hair every day and just generally being perfect in every area of your life. Certain things become less important, while others (like playing with your little guy as much as humanly possible while he’s still little) become number one on your agenda. You’ll race home, throw on the oldest pair of sweatpants in your closet and get your butt down on the floor to spend time with that little person who has completely taken over your life.
Sometimes, that means your house isn’t perfect. Sometimes, it means that you completely ran out of time to go grocery shopping and your family is having frozen pizza with no veggies for dinner. Sometimes, it means your outfit doesn’t match or you wear your hair in a ponytail for a week or you fall asleep on your couch the SECOND your baby goes to bed. Basically: you become a very different version of your former self. Now, I realize that mommyhood is much different for every single parent. But in my own life, here are the biggest things that have changed:
1. Sleep, precious sleep. I used to need a solid seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Now I can get by on four or five for an entire workweek if I need to. After you have kids, experts will tell you all about sleep training your child. But do you know what sleep training really is? It’s you, learning to survive on just the necessities: minimal sleep and maximum coffee. I kid you not. Although I will say this: catch me after a week of four hour nights and you’ll get a bear coming straight out of hibernation. I can function optimally, but not nicely.
2. My fabulous wardrobe. I thank the lord every day for the opportunity to wear real clothes for my day job. Because my mommy job means I need to be in clothes that are washable, stretchable, baby chase-able and overall 100 percent baby PROOFED. Jeans + leggings + oversized cotton tops + boots + Crocs are my typical mommy wear. What’s yours?
3. The baby brand knowledge in my head. I USED to be able to rattle off what clothing designer made those jeans and who designed that purse like it was my JOB. And now that baby has entered the picture, I am seriously a walking encyclopedia for baby brands. Tommy Tippee, Nuk, Carter’s, Baby Boden, Little Giraffe, Little Tykes, Fischer Price, Playtex, Huggies, Pampers, Little Me, Koala Baby, UppaBaby, Recaro, PegPerago…like any mama, I know WAY too much about EVERY brand on the market because after you become pregnant, you become OBSESSED with researching every little item you buy. At least, that’s the way it works at my house. And it doesn’t stop after your baby is born. I’m guessing it goes on and on until they start buying for themselves…
4. The amount of time it takes to get out the door. For anything. When you’re just…you, you can get ready and get out the door in t-minus-ten minutes, flat. Well, if you HAVE to. When you have kids, there is no freaking way that this will EVER happen. Even if Ricky and I are completely dressed, I still have to plan and pack for any meals while we’re out, pack diapers, account for possible clothing changes, get on his shoes (and now his outerwear), change his diaper one last time, wrangle him into being buckled in the car (which is a feat in and of itself sometimes), make sure we don’t forget my own wallet and chapstick, pack all of his stuff into the car and FINALLY get on the road. Only to realize that we probably forgot something at home. Eventually, the process seems like second nature – but I did read somewhere to plan for fifteen extra minutes per kid to get out the door. Listen to that advice. Because it is so, so true.
5. What I eat during the week. I used to be super healthy and eat a very balanced diet. Now, I eat whatever’s handy while I’m on the run. Cookies? Sure. Pizza? You got it. Snickers bars? I should own stock. I do try to fit a Lean Cuisine into my work week every now and again – at least they’re more balanced than two sugar cookies and a strawberry lemonade from the gas station – but my former, veggie crazed self would be shamed by the lack of vegetables that live in my house right now. All in the name of a busy life.
So tell me in the comments: what were your biggest life changes after having your first baby?