I have some friends who are wrestling with the decision of whether or not to have children. They all love the children, but are concerned about the lifestyle change that will come with a baby.
All I can say is - the lifestyle change is huge. I never imagined that I wouldn't be able to stop at Starbucks, enjoy my newspaper, or take a jog - that the time to do these things would be a luxury. I never realized that I would miss working - the talking to adults, the feeling important and useful and the money. I didn't think that I would look back on my pre-pregancy body wistfully and couldn't fathom that pregnancy and childbirth would make parts of it not work right. I've never felt so adrift as when we were trying to figure out how to get Annika to eat or sleep - our lack of knowledge and confidence was so humbling. I didn't know that children would stress my sanity and our marriage in monumental ways.
However, now I stop at Starbucks when I feel like it and when it fits in our day. It's a treat for me and for Annika. I read some of the paper during meals or while the girls are napping and I run early in the morning or not at all. I figure that I will fit in the exercising back in soon - now that I'm getting more sleep. I'm working again, and it is fun but it is also a stress - packing the three of us up for two meals and all day is a lot of work, so I appreciate the freedom that came with not working. The intellectual stimulation and the money provide a different kind of freedom. I've resigned myself to the need for sturdy and expensive foundation garments at all times and we are still considering whether I'll get the repair surgery for my bottom. Doug and I have developed a system of days/nights "off" that works for us so that we don't resent each other. I'm doing much better at appreciating what Doug does and not wishing he would do something else and not spouting off whatever my raging hormones are making me think. Yes, things have changed here. We can't travel on a moment's notice and lately I've been cleaning up an awful lot of pee.
But I wouldn't go back to my old life now that I've met my girls. Even when they are sick or whiny or defiant, they are still a joy to be around and I'm so lucky to be able to watch them grow and learn new things. And the hugs and kisses! What I'm saying is that my life is different now, but it isn't changed in a bad way - yes, I have less free time and yes, I have more chores and expenses, but I have so much more.