Before you can have fun with your child you have to first of all deal with the immediate changes in your life as soon as your baby is born. Unless you deal with these issues and sort them out mentally and physically you will find it difficult to cope. The main changes will be a ‘loss’ of things that you have been used to and which you probably have taken for granted. Let us deal with some major common ‘losses’.
Loss of sleep
The days of having uninterrupted 6-8 hours sleep every night are gone as long as your baby wants her night feeds. This can be very exhausting especially if you have to go to work the next day, so you might have to take turns looking after baby at night so that each parent can benefit from a couple of night’s uninterrupted sleep. Learn to catnap whenever you can and you will have to go to bed early so that you can catch up on your sleep.
Some parents actually worry if the baby does not wake up for a night feed so they set the alarm at the baby’s ‘scheduled’ feeding time to feed the baby. My advice is to let the baby wake up by herself and enjoy your sleep. However, if you are like me, you will never be able to sleep soundly if there is a baby by your side.
Loss of freedom
Once you have a child your freedom to do what you want is gone. Your active social life will suddenly be over. You will not be able to watch television in peace or a movie of your choice. You will have to watch Barney, Fun Song Factory over and over until you know the script before the characters says it. You will not be able to have a conversation without being interrupted.
The days of having a leisurely romantic meal are gone. Most times you either gobble your food quickly or eat cold food.
Even if you have a maid, you will not have peace of mind when you do go out, leaving your maid to look after your child. You will always be the first to leave a social gathering either because baby is at home or you need to get baby home to bed etc.
As your child grows older, your diary will be filled with your child’s social schedule rather than your own. You are now officially appointed as your child or children’s chauffeur.
Loss of freedom of speech
In a sense, you will also lose your freedom of speech in that you have to be careful what you say in front of the little one. In fact you have to be careful all the time because they have antennas to pick up every word that you said and you will be surprised when it is repeated to you, sometimes at the most inappropriate time. It is easy if you normally do not use bad language.
You also lose your privacy to some extent. Children love to tell their teachers and friends what happened at home. It is interesting how much you can learn about a family by talking to the children.
Loss of identity
You will lose your identity and become known as somebody’s mummy or daddy. When you contact your child’s daycare or school and tell them your name the answer is “who?” but if you say you are somebody’s mummy the answer is “oh yes!” Once Marie started day school I always had to introduce myself as Marie’s mummy to the other parents and teachers. “Cecilia” became almost non-existent.
Whatever the reasons for us to become parents and the number of children we have, our lifestyle will change completely from now on. Parenting the first child is the hardest because it is a completely new experience and nowadays most of us do not have nuclear families nearby so we do not have experience of handling small babies. I was very lucky in that I grew up in a house where there were always small children and we the older ones had to help look after the little ones. The good news is that once you have passed your first child’s second birthday it gets easier and handling the second baby will be a breeze. By the time you get to number 10 you will have lots of help from the older siblings (ha! ha!).
Having said all that however, nothing can beat the joy of being a parent; all the sacrifices no longer seem like a burden, and in fact seem worth it in return for what we can obtain as a parent. Please read on!