So a couple of months ago hubby and I were standing in the line at the movie theatre waiting to buy tickets to the new Captain America movie. This was a very rare night out for us as Miss 4 was spending the night with my Mum, so we capitalised by having dinner out and catching a movie. Pre-child, this would have been a very common way for us to spend a Saturday evening.
Standing in the queue behind us was a young woman who was probably around 7 months pregnant. Now, I did not start out trying to listen to the conversation this lady was having with her friend, but after being in the queue for over 10mins, it did start to peek my interest!
I will start out by saying that none of us know what we don’t know. Never has this been more true then in the case of having children. As we grow older we hit milestones, living independently, flatting, having a significant other, maybe moving in with a partner, maybe buying a house, added responsibility in our careers, the list goes on. I firmly believe that nothing will change you like having a child will.
Never before have you been so responsible for something so helpless. You will never have felt such love, or the desperate need to keep this little bundle from harm. So clearly your priorities will change when you become a parent.
Back to our new source of entertainment at the movie theatre… clearly a first time parent. The chatter highlighted the blissful bubble of first time pregnancy, the excitement of what is to come without the awareness of the difficulty of the job description of a parent. She was telling her friend how she had not been able to go out dancing for the last 2 weekends as her feet were too sore in heels, but that was ok because once baby was born she would be able to fit into her knee high stiletto boots because her ankles wouldn’t be swelled up any more.
It suddenly hit me in a rush just how much my priorities had changed since becoming a parent! Pre-child I worked in a corporate office, I wore heels and nice clothes every day. Every time I showered I blow dried my hair with salon products and rarely left the house without at least mascara on.
These days I rarely leave the house with heels on, I live in jeans and dark coloured tops (to hide peanut butter finger marks and baby dribble), having a shower is a luxury, my hair dryer is buried at the back of the bathroom cupboard behind nappies and wipes, and who knows where my mascara is!
It really got me thinking about what my priorities are now compared to what they used to be. These were my priorities beforehand…
Well, we covered that off above. Looking good will come second to caring for baby 95% of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, you will still have friends. But don’t be surprised if you drift apart from those friends that don’t yet have children. They will likely continue to go out and live their adult lives, they won’t realise how hard it is for you to leave baby and to find a babysitter.
On the flip side, as a new Mum there are so many opportunities to make new friends who are all in the same situation as you. Attend Antenatal classes, playgroups, music classes, playgym, anything you have local to you that takes your fancy and connect with the Mums there.
Any extra money used to go on clothes, shoes, eating out and wine. Now on a reduced income it’s worrying if there is enough to go around for bills and food, not to mention nappies, baby clothes, childcare fees, the list goes on!
Being solely responsible for another person that isn’t yourself will really make you consider things you hadn’t thought of before…
I had always had insurance for my car and contents, the bank required us to get home owners insurance when we took out our mortgage, but I hadn’t considered all the other insurances that may become very important. Life insurance, Medical insurance, Income Protection insurance, Mortgage Protection insurance, so many options! Definitely seek out an Insurance Advisor to work out what your family needs.
It’s morbid to think of this world without yourself in it, but some day that will be a reality. Everybody passes on at some point. Make sure that you have your affairs in order now in case it happens sooner than expected.
If possible, make sure you have an emergency stash of funds in case you need it. Something goes wrong with the house, something goes wrong with the car, medical emergencies, all unplanned and all expensive!
A Support Crew
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Partners, Parents, In-Laws, Friends, most will only be too happy to lend a hand where they can. Take advantage of that and ask for help when you need it.
Develop a Mum’s Support Circle. You can each take turns watching the kids so that each of you can have separate down time. Or organize group outings where you can all help each other keep an eye on the kids.
The fact of the matter is that life will change when you become a parent. Most of those changes are for the good, embrace them!
How did your priorities change when you became a parent? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!
Gemma is a kiwi Mum of one and is the Editor for The Baby View. She also works with preschool children, loves cooking, loves sunshine, loves chocolate and loses countless hours at a time looking at cute baby pictures on Instagram!