25 things that change when you become a parent
Opinion

25 things that change when you become a parent

Katja Fischer
21/3/2024
Translation: Megan Cornish

Everyone tells you that having a child changes your life. The truth is: this is a total understatement.

Everyday life with a baby is different to life beforehand. That much is obvious! And yet many expectant parents expect to continue living as they did before, even when the child is born. Surely things will be different for them than it is for numerous friends who have completely turned their lives upside down because of a little one.

If you’re laughing reading that, you probably already have children and know the bittersweet reality. Because, let’s be honest: once you have a child, nothing’s the same as it used to be. And that’s a good thing. Most of the time, at least.

1. Who needs privacy?

Going to the toilet, showering, changing clothes: you can no longer do it alone. With a small child, your privacy is restricted to a minimum. Or to when they’re sleeping. The problem is that’s when you want to sleep too. Which brings us to the next point…

2. Next-level tiredness

You just smile at the feeling of tiredness from your pre-parent life. You only experience true tiredness when you have a baby. Lack of sleep becomes a permanent condition, but you’ll get used to it. At some point, you’ll get to a stage where you’re too tired to be tired.

3. Your definition of punctuality is flexible

Even if, as an organised person, you’ve timed feedings and nappy changes perfectly, it’s impossible to keep appointments in the first few weeks. The baby will get pee or poo on your clean shirt right when you want to leave the house. Trust me, the well-known «academic quarter» becomes the «parental half-hour».

4. Say goodbye to your handbag

You can confidently dispose of your handbags. Now you need a spacious alternative with lots of compartments. The good thing about this is that you’re always ready for a trip around the world because you always have everything with you, from alphabet books to zebra toys.

5. Off with the heels

You can also clear out all of your high heels. You’ll only have the opportunity to wear them once a year at a wedding reception. And you’re too lazy for that anyway. After all, sandals work too. Between rare celebrations, you’ll be wearing trainers, flat ankle boots and Birkenstocks.

6. What’s binge watching again?

You only have vague memories of evenings watching Netflix with your partner because someone always falls asleep after the first ten minutes of the series. And it’s definitely not the baby.

7. New series friends

Speaking of series, you’ll soon be back in the game – with new friends. Their names are Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Fireman Sam.

8. Everything revolves around kids’ poo

Has the child done a poo today? If so, how many times? What was the consistency? What colour was it? And what was the smell like? When you have a baby, your relationship to faeces changes. It’s now a constant topic at home. And you think it’s perfectly normal.

  • Background information

    Colour, consistency, odour: let’s talk about children’s poop

    by Katja Fischer

9. Message(s) not received

It’s quite possible that your voice is constantly slightly hoarse. You also have to say everything at least five times. In five different ways in five different tones, of course.

  1. «Put your shoes on, please.»
  2. «Shoes on, please.»
  3. «Why don’t you have your shoes on yet?»
  4. «Now go on and put your shoes on!»
  5. «For heaven’s sake, put your shoes on now, or there’ll be no TV time!»

10. Loud, louder, loudest

You should get used to a constantly high volume level anyway. It’ll stay that way for the next 16 years.

11. Your Spotify isn’t your Spotify

At the end of the year, everyone proudly shares their Spotify annual review on social media. Except you. Your Unwrapped list, dominated by children’s songs, is no longer intended for the public. Your Spotify account is now entirely in the hands of the children; the only thing you’re allowed to do is pay for it.

12. Living at a snail’s pace

Putting on shoes, walking from A to B, eating breakfast – no matter what it is, children do it at a snail’s pace. In a hurry? That’s your problem. Your children have their own sense of time. None at all. And you need a lot of calm, patience and good breathing techniques.

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Ravensburger Hurry up, little snail! (German)
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13. Efficiency is now your middle name

However, you have little time left for everyday tasks. The time window is limited to the two hours after your children have finally fallen asleep and before you go to bed yourself. The result: you become incredibly flexible and efficient. What previously took you hours to do can now be done in 30 minutes.

14. Your circle of friends shrinks

What you have least of all time for is yourself. Me-time becomes a valuable asset that you’re careful with. There’s no more room for unimportant things. Nor for unimportant people. But they don’t want to talk to you about children’s poo anyway.

15. Mirror, mirror on the wall

«What have you got on your head?» If your partner asks you this in the evening, you either overdid it with the dry shampoo in the morning or you’re still running around with hair clips on from the children’s salon. Either way, you realise that you haven’t looked in the mirror once all day.

16. Welcome to hobby management

Congratulations on the new job. You’re now also a hobby manager. Your job description? Coordinating appointments, ensuring equipment supplies and chauffeuring your children from A to B.

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17. Party in the living room

You can only dream of a tidy home. As soon as you’ve picked up the Lego bricks from the floor, the Playmobil figures come out. It feels like you’re constantly cleaning up after a party you didn’t even attend.

18. Your car is now a store cupboard

If you think the car will stay tidy, you’re in a dream world! The back seat resembles either a store cupboard or a bird feeding station. An entire family of birds could move in and easily feed on the crumbs for an entire winter.

19. Driving is the new me-time

Despite the crumbs and rubbish: the car is now your favourite place. It’s wonderful when the children sit in the back seat strapped in and disempowered for a few minutes. Solo drives are even better – this is your new me-time.

20. Holidays are cancelled

Holidays definitely aren’t me-time. Sleeping in, reading a book, living for the moment – forget it. The children don’t suddenly sleep through the night or suddenly feel like doing nothing. Just like at home, you get up early in the morning and at night and plan all activities around your child’s sleeping and eating pattern.

21. Dancing now happens in the afternoon

By the way, the kids don’t sleep in even after you go out. And even if you could sleep in, you’ll definitely wake up by 7 at the latest for some other reason. Your bladder, for example. Or the noise from your steam vent. Daytime parties are where it’s at.

22. From a whole suitcase to a single compartment

Back to holidays: no matter whether you’re travelling for three days or three weeks, you’ll spend at least half a day packing up half your household. Three and a half hours are spent on the children’s things, half an hour on yours. The layout of the suitcase is as follows: the children have the whole thing; you have a single compartment.

23. Suddenly, you understand your parents

Your parents were once the stupidest people with the worst rules who said the most embarrassing things. Now you understand absolutely everything they have ever said and done

24. You’re a star children’s chef

If you don’t like Riz Casimir and spaghetti bolognese: my condolences. These are now your signature dishes.

25. Your heart explodes

But you know what: Riz Casimir will also become your favourite food. Because in the end you love everything about and with your children anyway. Love is a great phenomenon when it comes to children. It doesn’t just grow, it explodes.

Yes, as a parent, your life is completely thrown off track. But it’s not over; on the contrary. You get a new one – a fuller, more meaningful and even funnier one. Sometimes a more challenging one. But that’s a good thing. Most of the time, at least.

Header image: Shutterstock/Olesya Myzzz

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Mom of Anna and Elsa, aperitif expert, group fitness fanatic, aspiring dancer and gossip lover. Often a multitasker and a person who wants it all, sometimes a chocolate chef and queen of the couch.


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