So, you are toying with the thought of having children or you have a child on the way? Congratulations! While this is a magical time in any man’s and woman’s life and you should be joyful, the whole thing might not be as fairy-tale-like as you were led to believe by popular culture. Sugar, rainbows and unicorns are nowhere to be found and you will soon realize how easily you had it when you were just a couple with no progeny.

Surprised baby

You want to prepare for parenthood? Well, here are a few effective ways of doing this – you are not going to like them, but here they are anyway.

1. Say goodbye to your friends

Since you are going to be a parent and a provider at the same time, you are going to have to cut down on some things in your life in order to save time.  Going out and spending time with friends will be the first thing to go. Don’t worry, this will happen rather naturally. You won’t have to restrain yourself from going out; you will be too busy running around doing all kinds of important things like changing dippers and not sleeping. You can keep friends that have kids though. After all, there is strength in numbers!

2. Get used to irregular sleeping patterns

The first year of being a parent will be known as the year of no sleep. The child will demand constant attention and it will not care about the fact that you need your beauty sleep. You can economize on your sleep by dividing the duty with your spouse, but this will not guarantee you a good night’s sleep.

Baby monitor

3. Prepare for high stress levels

Most childhood-s tend to be carefree – it only makes sense that most parenthood-s are stressful times. Kids have a tendency to fall, bleed, get lost, get sick and do all this with magnificent carelessness. You have to think for them and this doesn’t do well by your nerves and anxiety levels.

4. Prepare your feet for stepping on small objects

There is no such thing as a tidy toddler. No matter how much effort your put into clearing away the clutter in your home, the kids will always find a way to set traps for you and you should get used to the pain or get that ninja caution going. No move is safe!

5. Learn that being stain free isn’t always possible

If you have a favorite shirt, lock it up somewhere and don’t pull it out until your child is at least 10 if you want to keep it safe. Cleanliness is next to godliness, but even God won’t save you from the stains a kid can pull off.  After all, it is a thin line between food and throwing ammunition to a child.

6. Say farewell to your privacy

You thought work didn’t leave you and your spouse with enough time for each other? Think again! A child demands a lot of attention and peace and quiet when it’s sleeping time. They also have a sixth sense to anticipate your intimacy time and interrupt it in new and funny ways, every damn time.

Mommy daddy and baby

After a while, it stops being funny. It is a good idea to prepare for this by learning to be fast and effective when it comes to the bedroom pleasures, since you won’t have hours to enjoy yourselves once the baby comes.

7. Learn to have constant companionship and one less arm

Have you ever felt lonely before? Well, you will be craving some alone time after the baby comes, not to mention when it starts walking and following you everywhere. The skill of holding a child’s hand while buying groceries, tidying up your home or whatever else is an art form you will have to master. It’s not that the child will be clingy. They will protest loudly about being forced to follow you wherever you go finishing errands. Your kid would be more than happy to go running around on its own, but you and I know that’s not a very good idea.

8. Realize that your salary is very small

How’s your bank account? Steadily growing? Well, growth time is now officially over. Congratulations, you now are officially broke! You need to setup a nursery, buy baby clothes (and buy some more every month since babies tend to grow), get all the necessary baby stuff, start thinking about a college fund (it is never too early) and loads more. You wanted to go on a vacation? Sure, you can do that as soon as your child is off to college!

9. Realize that your home just got a whole lot smaller

Baby hands on the carpet

If you two lovebirds thought that your love shack is just the right size, think again! Children need their own room and, on top of that, they have a tendency to shrink the rooms they spend time in on a daily basis. They work this magic by throwing toys around, spilling things on floors and carpets, toppling over laps, vases and other ornaments. A studio apartment just won’t cut it anymore.

10. Get used to watching children’s’ programs

This won’t take long to get used to, since after a whole day’s work around the child and no sleep, you will not have the mental capacity to deal with anything more complex than a children’s show. You will be thankful for its numbingly anesthetic effects and the fact that it is keeping your kid firmly rooted in one place.

You scared yet? Well, you should be. Bringing a child into this world isn’t a decision you should take lightly and you should be aware that it comes with a set of difficulties you need to be prepared for. Don’t let this discourage you though. Parenting is deeply set into your genetic code and the instincts will kick in when a child is born. Read up on the subject during pregnancy and plan out your future well to avoid more stress and you should be fine. Once again, congratulations and may you have great moments with your family.

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