Author Bio: Guest blogger, Ryan Howard runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.
When a lot of parents look back on their life, there is a pretty big distinction between the before kids and after kids time periods. I can remember when we were expecting our first child, everyone was advising us to get out and have fun whenever we had the chance. Little did I realize, this was going to be our last chance for a very long time. I wouldn’t trade the chance to have kids for the world. But when you have kids, you do need to prepare for some pretty big changes.
What Is Free Time?
The most immediately striking change once kids arrive is that all of a sudden, you have no free time whatsoever. If you have hobbies like tennis or yoga, you can pretty much forget about them for a little while. Don’t even think about something more time consuming like golf.
In the very early days, it can even seem difficult to find the time to get enough sleep at night or to squeeze in a shower. After a while, you’ll hit your rhythm, and your schedule will become more manageable. But, at least in the first several years, you won’t have the loads of free time that you had before kids.
In your youth, when you have a big decision to make, it pretty much comes down to what do you want to do? Should you buy a Toyota Camry or a Ford Focus? Should you take a job in New York or move to San Francisco? If you’re married, you will probably consult with your spouse over these decisions. But even then, you’re just trying to decide what’s best for both of you.
Once you have kids, everything changes. You need to factor them into every decision. If you take one job over another, will that mean you don’t get to spend enough time with your kids? Will you still be able to pick them up from daycare? Should you treat yourself to a brand new car or get a used car and stash some money away in a college savings plan?
Life On A Budget
When you have kids, there are all sorts of things you need to buy. Strollers, cribs, car seats, and tons of diapers, just to name a few. Then there are things like nannies, daycare, and preschool. A lot of people find themselves on a rather tight budget after a baby arrives, and this can be a shock to people that are used to doing a lot of discretionary spending.
While this can be an adjustment at the beginning, it’s actually not that hard to get used to after a little while. Many people realize that it’s actually not that hard to do without that latest pair of designer shoes after all when money is tight.
While having a baby certainly means your life will change, it’s also incredibly rewarding. The joy experienced from holding a baby or playing with a toddler is almost unmatched. So, in my opinion, any of the trade offs that you need to make are more than worth it.