Nothing can prepare a person for parenthood. You can hear advice and listen to other people’s parenting stories, but unless you have been a parent, you cannot fathom the situations you will experience.
First of all, when my husband and I were childless we would go out to eat and had spending money available. If we wanted to go out to eat, we would go. If we wanted to buy something we normally had money for it. Then our children came along. No more going out on a whim and forget that expensive outfit you wanted. Your cash is now spent on diapers and doctor visits. Nobody could prepare me for the fact that each time my child needed a diaper change it was going to cost me twenty cents not to mention the cost of wipes and diaper rash cream.
Secondly, my daily schedule no longer consisted of doing what I wanted whenever I wanted to. Instead for the first three months of parenthood, I spent each day at the mercy of my newborn and his schedule. If he slept, I slept. If he wanted to eat, I fed him. This was probably one of the hardest things to get used to. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be a parent. I had to learn how to go from having total control to having absolutely none.
Saturday mornings are no more about sleeping in. Instead it is all about hoping the kids sleep long enough that I can manage maybe an extra half hour if I am lucky. Most Saturday mornings consist of yells letting me know that there is a hungry mouth in the living room waiting to be fed. The best Saturday mornings are when I have someone jumping into my bed pouncing on me letting me know that I am no longer allowed to sleep and that it’s time to get up.
The scariest change I have noticed in myself since I have become a parent is that all of a sudden I hear my parent’s voices through my own. This is something that can just about convince me that my mom or dad is standing behind me because I am absolutely positive I hear their voice rather than mine as I speak to my child.
I have also noticed that getting out the door with kids is not just something that is done. Instead, it’s an event. I used to be able to grab my keys and purse and off I went. Now that I have kids, I have to give everyone a warning that we are leaving. Then it’s making sure everyone uses the restroom so there are no emergencies while we are gone. Then we have to find shoes. Then we have to find our jackets. Oh wait, a jacket was left at school so now we need to see what else we can come up with to stay warm. Then it’s someone trying to find a toy they want to bring along but only keep in the van. Then we have to make sure the dog was taken out. The list goes on. This process can take half an hour! I shouldn’t complain though because it used to take longer when there were diaper bags and strollers involved.
Life has certainly changed since becoming a parent. Sometimes I daydream wishing that I could just go out with my husband without having to worry about a babysitter and other times I wish all of my money wasn’t spent on kid’s toys. Then I look at my kids. The excitement in their faces when they learn something new, their innocence, their laughter that fills the house, and all the other wonderful things that come along with having a child. It’s not easy raising a child, but I would never change the opportunity for anything.