Dirty nappies, sleep deprivation, endless washing and an end to your social life as you know it. These are some of the expected consequences of having children.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are nine unexpected but positive consequences of having kids:
1. You will love Christmas again
For many, Christmas lost its shine back when you realised that maybe Father Christmas didn’t actually visit every year. But having kids will reverse that trend. It’s fantastic to watch your child’s jaw drop when they discover the crumbs left by Santa and Rudolph. You’ll laugh at their leaps of glee, when they find stockings overflowing with glittery gifts. These are magic moments that melt even the coldest of hearts, and restore faith in Christmas. The generosity towards young children at Christmas will amaze you, and to make way for the new gifts consider storing old favourite toys and items that you can’t bear to part with, even if your little one can!
2. You will learn a new language
When your child first attempts to talk, it can be very frustrating. They clearly know what they want to say, and you desperately want to understand. For a few months between gurgling and uttering basic words, you develop a unique temporary language. Only you know what your child means. Your family and friends will be astonished, as you casually converse in gobbledygook. It’s a new language created by necessity and love.
3. You won’t suffer hangovers
Not strictly speaking true, you will have one hangover post-childbirth. But the aftermath is so hideous you’ll never do it again. Imagine. Thumping headache, nausea, and chronic tiredness. Mix that with screaming child, dirty nappies, warm milk, and a constant fear of dropping your child. The combination of shame, anxiety and pain is never forgotten or repeated. Unless someone else is looking after your child the next day, then all bets are off.
4. You will share the things you love
Most parents maintain at least one pastime they love. Baking, skiing, art, mountain biking, whatever you love to do, your child will want to do it too. You’ll get a kick out of seeing them ride a bike without stabilisers, and quickly progress to riding trails in the forest. Or it might be sharing the joy of mixing, baking, decorating and eating your first cupcakes. It doesn’t have to be active or creative, you can simply introducing them to one of your favourite childhood books or films. It’s a deeply satisfying feeling when they enjoy the things you love too.
5. You will experience unconditional love
From the moment you discover you’re having a baby, a feeling of unconditional love and protection consumes you. You will sacrifice your world for theirs in a heartbeat. It’s true; you don’t need to be a parent to experience true love. You love your partners, parents and pets, but there is a primordial bond between parent and child that is indescribable, and wonderful.
6. You will gain new friends
It’s generally accepted that all your single and childless friends will swiftly disappear within a year of childbirth. So you find new friends. Friends who:
- you can share your experiences with and they will empathise
- will be happy to share a bottle of wine but understand why you can’t get drunk
- you can exchange baby-sitting duties with when you need time out
- have kids that will entertain your child, allowing you to have an adult conversation for 10 minutes
7. You will be young again
Parenthood gives you a chance to be a child again. At first you’ll experience slight embarrassment and refuse to play ‘tag’ or go on a swing. But soon playgrounds, bouncy castles, fairground rides and waterparks become irresistible. When everything else about parenthood makes you feel old, playing like a child will make you feel young again.
8. You will understand parenthood cliches
When you become a parent, suddenly you understand why your friends with children:
- continually declined your invitations to go out
- always looked dishevelled and tired
- were generally more emotional
- found new friends
The respect and appreciation for your own parents quadruples. And sayings like “it’s impossible to understand unless you have kids” no longer annoy you.
9. You will rediscover cherished possessions
An invasion of noisy toys will occupy every space in your home. Possessions you once deemed essential will get buried and forgotten. You dare not throw anything away. Which is wise, because you will need the bike and canoe, bookcase and desk, tent and sleeping bags, plus many more buried treasures again. So when your home is overflowing, don’t be tempted to throw away, rent some self storage space instead. Shurgard offers affordable storage solutions, with access 7 days a week and flexible terms, meaning you can keep hold of those cherished possessions that you are not quite ready to give away yet, and will be over the moon when you need them again in years to come.
Andrew is a forty something surfer, father and author of the Surfer Dad blog. He enjoys mucking about with his daughter, partner and friends in tropical Cornwall. When Andrew is unable to go out and play, he writes about surfing and fatherhood instead.