To say “Marriage changes after you have kids” is to deploy a truth of stupidly shocking obviousness; it’s like saying “Your legs change after a whale falls on them.” Marriage changes so much after kids that they should probably come up with another word for the pre-kids version, something livelier and more zingy, like one of the idiotic old-timey party words they use for music festivals. (“Do you take this woman in the holy bonds of Lollapalooza?”) But that doesn’t mean it changes for the worst, despite what 98 percent of bookstores and 106 percent of your single friends will tell you. Since you’re probably reading this because you’re terrified, here are 10 things that will happen to your marriage after kids.
You will immediately become the least important person in your family.
Congratulations on the time you just spent enjoying acclaim as the alpha male, provider, earthstone foundation and Reliable Provider of Sexual Ecstasy. Once the baby arrives, you immediately and comprehensively become the third-most important person in your triumvirate, as most things shall begin rotating around the adorable shriek machine. Are you hungry? Sleepy? Feeling like you could use a little time to your important self? Congratulations, no one cares. The sooner you adjust to the shifting of roles, the happier you’ll sleep.
It will suffer due to lack of sleep.
Nobody sleeps with kids! Books that argue that it’s possible to establish sleep schedules are flammable garbage boxes dripping with new-age hooey, which is also flammable. Everyone’s sleep is going to be a mess for the next two to 24 years, and though we are saying this in the form of Delightful Internet Comedy, it is also something that will legitimately affect your physical status and mood. Everything is worse with sleep deprivation (except Black Sabbath albums, which become only more awesome), so begin thinking of ways to get around it. My wife and I have slept in separate rooms for years, and the effect has been magical.
Budgeting will rule it.
Have you started a family budget? Good for you! You can plan for your next frivolous fancypants date night in 16 years. If you haven’t, prepare to dedicate something like an extra mortgage or student loan payment to daycare, while you and your partner hustle back to work. Do this together, because you do not want either of you to feel surprised.
Formerly minor gestures become huge deals.
The process of bringing each other a coffee goes from being a minor event to one of imposing thoughtfulness. Making a snack for each other becomes a glorious marvel. Letting your partner sleep an extra hour is more or less cause for sainthood. As you adjust to this new world, little things matter about a billion times more.
It will become boring.
You know all the stuff you hear about never going out again, no longer having a life, being stuck indoors?
They’re mostly true! They’re also not! You can get out to eat just fine, you can hire babysitters, you can rely on friends and family, you can go to movies or on hikes or have unabashed sex overnights in some hotel, and you should do all these things. But not as much as you used to. Here’s the weird part: You probably won’t want to as much anyway, which is convenient.
It will look different on social media.
During many nights. you will both gaze upon the childless and untethered in social media with envy and curiosity. Don’t! Social media is awful! Post sporadic adorable pictures of your babbling drool machine, and otherwise throw it into a garbage pile and remain tied into your real life, which requires your presence much more.
It’ll break a little.
You’ll grow apart, and then to the side, and then in a sort of diagonal direction, and then eventually back together. You’re adding the biggest possible change into the most important relationship in your life. It’s hard. Do not expect this to go smoothly.
It will be pushed to the limits any time you travel.
With the strollers and baby bags and supplies and feeding and bumping into other people and then the kid cries and it’s all just so awful.
You’ll realize it’s brilliant.
You become a team, and in short order you find you don’t even miss your Lollapalooza.