Besides the constant diaper changes and milk feeds, here’s what you can look forward to when baby’s here.
WORDS JUNE YONG
There are few things that can turn your life upside down like a new baby. Besides the constant diaper changes and milk feeds, here’s a look at 20 things that change when your little bundle arrives.
1. No Longer in Control
Your body is no longer your own and someone else controls when you get to pee, eat, and sleep. Yes, he is a miracle, I know. But it’s as if this little miracle comes with an inbuilt remote control to you.
2. Your Baby’s Needs Come First
Your needs… erm, what needs? As Ng Wei Yee, 29, a HR executive, describes, “My priorities have shifted. In the past, I would pay attention to my own needs. Now in every decision that I make, I will consider my child’s needs first.”
3. Your Clothes Don’t Fit Anymore
Since mid-pregnancy, you’ve been dutifully packing up those too tight clothes in the hope that they’ll see daylight one day. But it’s likely you will need some months to get back into shape. Tips? Breastfeed, exercise, and eat healthily.
4. Date Nights Become a Thing of the Past
But the good news is that you’ll probably get more creative with how you keep the romance alive. Which brings me to the next point...
5. A Trip to the Supermarket Now Classifies as a Date
You may be in a cotton tee, shorts and flip-flops, and your hair may look a little messy, but heck, you managed to get out of the house with your spouse. That’s something worth celebrating! So go ahead and make the most of it, while picking out the freshest produce of course.
6. Your Schedule Revolves Around Your Baby’s
Who needs an alarm clock now that you have a baby? In the early days, it might feel as if you’re under house arrest. And suddenly, you’ve got a curfew to keep almost every time you go out.
7. Your Partner Realises That There is Such a Thing as Chores
Eeleen Lin, 31, homemaker and mother of one, shares, “I expect my husband to spend more time at home and to help out more. Even my love language has shifted, and I appreciate his acts of service a lot more than before.”
8. Calmness and Patience Flies out the Window
It is said that stress levels (especially for the mother) rise the most during the first year after having a baby. Along with that, it’s often hard to stay your usual calm and collected self when the baby is wailing the house down. One word. B-R-E-A-T-H-E.
9. Along with Calmness and Patience is Time for Yourself
Being able to take a 10-minute shower without someone banging your door down is a real and rare luxury. So is cutting your nails and your hair.
10. You Love Like Never Before
You develop an amazing ability to love, in spite of the fact that you seem to have permanently lost your patience. Each time you gaze at your little one, especially when she’s peacefully sleeping, that’s when your love tank starts to recharge and you feel a surge of energy and passion for your life, and baby’s.
11. You Have a Newfound Respect toward Your Parents
Ruth Liu, 29, homemaker and mother of one, says, “I always knew my parents worked very hard for us, but I never knew how much until I became a mum.”
12. You are Less Judgmental towards Fellow Parents
It does take being a parent to know what it’s like. So go easy on others as well as yourself. As Eeleen says, “I’m a lot more forgiving of other kids acting up in public. I now know that it’s not in any way a reflection of the parent’s parenting skills, and I hope others feel the same way when my kid acts up!”
13. You Multi-Task a Lot More
So much so that you often forget what you wanted to do in the first place.
14. There are More Areas for Disagreements with the In-Laws
Before kids, the in-laws never seemed to bother you that much. Well when the child comes, there are many potential mines in the valley of inter-generational parenting practices. It helps to be aware of what your non-negotiables are and to voice your preferences early. Even if you do disagree with the in-laws, remember that you will still require and appreciate their help from time to time. (And the kids do still need grandparents.)
15. Your Career Takes a Backseat
You barely have enough time and energy to brush your teeth, let alone worry about your ambitions or plan your next career move. But take heart, these crazy days shall soon pass and you’ll get the hang of being a parent. Give yourself this season to enjoy your baby, and to let the love you have for him motivate and inspire you to dream bigger dreams.
16. You Learn to Survive on a Lot Less Sleep
With night feeds, diaper changes, and a baby who can’t tell day from night, a good night’s sleep will start to look like a distant memory. But your body will slowly adjust to the broken nights and 3+3 hour nights will become the new norm... and coffee, your best friend.
17. Shopping Takes on a Whole New Meaning
You keep your eyes peeled for child-friendly amenities instead of the word “sale” when you’re at the mall. Nursing room – level two left-wing. Toilet equipped with baby seat – ground floor next to the concierge. You draw a mental map of every new mall you’re in so that you’re prepared for emergency needs that Baby might spring on you.
18. You are More Willing to Ask for Help with the Kids
Pre-baby, you told yourself you’ll do it all singlehandedly and you’ll survive. Post-baby, such lofty ideals will go straight into the dustbin, along with the dirty diapers, and you’ll be happy to accept any help from practically anyone.
19. You Start Loving Veggies Because You Want Your Kids to Eat Theirs Too
Suddenly “healthy” isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s the only option. You raid your kitchen cupboards to get rid of all manner of junk food, and start making green juices every morning. Green even becomes your favourite colour.
20. Poop Becomes Something to Celebrate, Rather than Wrinkle Your Nose at
During the most part of the first year, parents treat (and investigate) each of baby’s bowel movements with great interest. We smell their butts multiple times in a day “just to check” and particularly if the baby has constipation, each poop is met with a hurrah and sometimes even a mini celebration.
Sure there are a lot of changes – most of which you’ll get used to in no time. But motherhood also brings a whole lot of joy that makes the challenging times worth it. And for most, it’s even worth going through it all, all over again.