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You've read all the baby books. You have a good idea of what to expect when you're expecting. You've seen your friends and family members become parents and all the changes that come along with it. And now it's your turn, and you're readying your life for the arrival of your little one. You are ready! Or ... so you think. For all the preparing you can do, there is so much about becoming a mom that you CAN'T prepare for. So many little things in your daily life that will suddenly be completely different. Things that you never even considered could allchange, will. From how you drive to how you get ready in the mornings, having a baby changes it . Your life before and after baby can seem like two different lives, especially in the beginning. But don't freak out yet!
A lot of people underestimate just how much a new baby will throw them for a loop. But it's not the end of the world. And it's not the end of your old life and ways! Becoming a mom has a HUGE learning curve, and a pretty long adjustment period. You're trying to find yourself in this new role, while also caring for a tiny human being. There are going to be some bumps, and a lot of tears, but things have a way of working out after a while. Your life after baby may not look exactly as it did pre-baby. But it will be pretty sweet, nonetheless.
Image: Disney / The Princess and the Frog
Toward the end of your pregnancy, this becomes less of a problem since you'll probably have been up since 2 a.m. with restless leg or something. But before that? You needed your trusty alarm clock to get you out of bed at an ungodly hour. Apparently there are people in the world who naturally wake up at 6 a.m., but those people are wrong. The majority of us would gladly sleep till the floor isn't freezing if it wasn't for that incessant ringing clock. We have a love-hate relationship with it, for sure. But we'd be lying if we said we didn't need it.
Image: BBC Two
Your baby is your alarm clock, now! And while it's probably much cuter, it's still just as annoying. Especially since the baby alarm tends to go off several times a night, can't be snoozed, and sends it's final wake-up call before the sun has even come up. The first few months of baby life are a blur of sleep in short spurts. But even once your kid starts sleeping a good chunk of time every night, we can guarantee they're going to rise and shine earlier than you ever thought possible. Babies like to get a jump on the day, it's one of their things. Silver lining: you'll never be late! LOL, just kidding.
Image: Def Jam Recordings
When you have only yourself to worry about, you can figure out exactly how much time you need to get out of the house to be where you need to be. It's so leisurely! You probably even have a few different routines, depending on how much time you have. If you planned well, you can get "ready ready". If you wanted to snooze once or twice, there's "half ready". Needed to sleep in or finish your show before leaving? That's when you get "god I have to go ready". But being punctual is pretty easy before you have a baby.
This is one of the ways that life before and after baby will never match up. Because kids take their sweet-ass time, and they are inconvenient as hell at the worst times. You'll get up extra early, get ready, pack the diaper bag, feed the baby, change the baby, and finally be walking out the door when your kid will blowout their diaper so bad they need an actual bath. We promise, this will happen MULTIPLE times. And it doesn't get better as they get older! Because then they want to do everything themselves, which means putting on their shoes takes 30 goddamn minutes. Or you make them breakfast but they don't like that breakfast and proceed to meltdown at an alarming speed. It's great.
Ahhhhhhh, those were the days. When the group chat was lit, the gossip was fresh, and the happy hours were plentiful. When you don't have a baby, you can totally hit up the wine bar after work on a Wednesday to catch up with your friends, no big deal! You can go to brunch on a Sunday, and brunch can turn into lunch, and then shopping, and since you're out you might as grab dinner and drinks. You have plenty of time, and quite a bit more disposable income. Plus, these are your GIRLS, you know? You'd move heaven and earth to be there and keep those bonds strong.
Now, this is one aspect of life before and after baby that will get better. But we're not going to lie: those first months or even year after becoming a mom? Your friendships are going to suffer. You might even lose some friends, sad as it is. Your friends with kids of their own will understand, and they will send a weekly text to check in and let you know they're there. They won't even get offended when you don't reply until three days later. Your friends without kids? That's a harder sell. It's SO HARD to explain what it's like to someone who's never experienced it. And that isn't their fault! You shouldn't hold that against them. Just know that your all-day lady dates will be on the back burner for a bit, and hope that your group is patient and understanding.
Breakfast? No problem! Remember, you have all the time in the world in the morning. Lunch? Well, see, you meal plan and prep for the week on Sundays and you remembered to bring it to work today, so you're set. Dinner? You don't feel like cooking after a long day, so you and your partner head out to that cute cafe you've been wanting to try. It's so simple, this eating like a grown-up thing! You even have time to shop for and prepare healthy, delicious meals, so you're eating well. It's OK that artichokes were expensive, it's just the two of you, you'll eat them, live a little!
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It's not that you don't WANT to eat. On the contrary, you are always starving. Always. Especially if you're breastfeeding! Postpartum recovery takes its toll, and your body needs fuel. Unfortunately, it's hard to fuel your body when your hands are always full of baby, or you're trapped on the couch with one stuck on your boobs. You very quickly give up the ghost and settle for stolen bites and snacks throughout the day. A proper sit-down meal? What the hell even IS that? But don't worry: eventually you'll graduate to eating the leftovers off your toddler's plate and subsisting on handfuls of Goldfish crackers. It's fine.
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The couch during Netflix and chill. The kitchen when you're making dinner. Occasionally even in your bed! Shower sex? All over it. Morning sex? It's the best part of waking up. You and your partner are in love, you are young and attractive and attracted to each other, and you can and should be intimate as much as you want. That's the best part of a relationship without kids, the carefree sex. Don't need to worry about a tiny person crying right before you climax or god forbid, opening the door to see your "O" face. You have all the sex!
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Now, look. If you had a vaginal delivery, sex will be the last thing on your mind for QUITE SOME TIME. Your nethers need some recovery time. C-section? SAME THING. Just because the baby came out a different way doesn't mean it's not a bloody mess down there. Your stitches are just positioned a bit higher up on your body. But even once you've healed physically, the mental and emotional toll can have a major effect on your sex life. Maybe you co-sleep because it's the only way anyone gets any sleep at all. Maybe breastfeeding is draining all of your energy (and natural lubrication ... sorry!). Or maybe you just have no desire whatsoever to be touched or touch another human being. All of those are valid reasons. It'll get better. And right when it does, you'll have little bedroom-door openers to contend with.
Your vanity looks like a Sephora counter. There are potions and lotions and serums and something covered in needles. You have so many face masks, you have a little filing cabinet to store them in. Sleep in your makeup? YOU WOULD NEVER. Your nighttime routine is 14 steps and takes at least 45 minutes, depending on the day of the week. And in the morning, you have time to wash and tone and primer and contour. You walk out of the house every morning looking fresh, with a glowing face and coordinated outfit. You care about your appearance, but not in a self-centered kind of way. You just realize that this is your face, the only one you get, so you take good care of it!
Siiiiiiiigh. This part of life before and after baby stings a bit. But you've got to prepare yourself: you aren't going to have the time, or the money, or the desire to keep up your routine (at least in the beginning). You will sleep in your makeup, and you will very likely wake up and leave the house in that same makeup. Your morning routine becomes sometimes brushing your teeth, throwing your hair in a messy bun, and checking to make sure you're wearing a bra. Unless your partner applies your face mask to your face while you're passed out on the couch from sheer exhaustion, you aren't going to do it. You'll be pretty and primed again when your baby is in preschool.
Driving can be so relaxing, right? Grab a couple snacks, get in the car, crank up your favorite tunes, and see where the day takes you. 14-hour road trip to see your favorite band in concert? Absolutely! Scenic drive at the beach just to get some fresh air? Perfect way to spend a day. Plus, look how clean your car is! There is no trash on the floor, the backseat is not taken up by a car seat, your trunk can fit vintage treasures and a plant or two from the farmer's market. Just you, your partner, a full tank of gas, and the open road. What could be better?
We don't know what it is about cars, but babies REALLY don't like them. And one quick trip to the pediatrician or market can turn into a nightmare when you've got a screaming, crying, inconsolable baby in the back. You will find yourself doing anything and everything to avoid having to drive anywhere. Or you'll refuse to go alone, so you or your partner can sit in the back and try to keep the baby happy. Plus, your car suddenly resembles a storage locker of baby shit. You've got a car seat, the base, the cover, the diaper bag, the back-up diaper bag, the stuff that doesn't fit in the diaper bag but you need to bring "just in case". Grocery shopping becomes a game of Tetris when you try to fit your groceries into your trunk around the stroller. Relaxing? Not even close.
Image: Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
You got any big weekend plans? Of course you do! Road trips, weekenders, concerts, farmer's markets. Weekends just come alive before kids. You work hard all week, and you really lean into the weekend when you have the chance. Or maybe you're exhausted from working hard all week, and just want to veg all weekend. You can totally do that, too! The possibilities are endless on weekends before kids. You can say yes to everything, or say no to everything. You can sleep in, or wake up early and make the most of each day. Make that weekend your bitch, you've earned it.
There are no more days of the week. Your weeks now consist of one long day and night. You probably don't know what day it is most of the time. This is especially true while you're home with baby as a stay-at-home-mom or on maternity leave! The only difference between a weekday and a weekend is that your partner will usually be home so you can actually shower or leave the house alone. Once you go back to work, weekends aren't for relaxing. They're for catching up on all the stuff you neglected throughout the week trying to keep all your balls in the air.