Your lazy weekends together are now the stuff of legends.
Remember how you two used to wake up at 10 a.m. on a Saturday, congratulate yourselves for getting up "early," head to brunch, and then stroll through the nearest bazaar, sampling artisanal pickles and chocolates before heading out to a happy hour that magically stretched late into the night? These are now the "remember when" stories you tell each other as you tag-team a diaper change at 5 a.m. on a Saturday. Or is it Sunday? It doesn’t matter; you won't have your weekends back to yourselves for another 18 years.
Date night ends at 11 p.m., and it's going to cost you.
Remember when you used to willingly shove yourself into Spanx and heels for a night out, or watch the sun come up without the feeling of panic swirling in your stomach? Yeah, not anymore. You're lucky if you even get out of the house together without your kid at all, and if you do, a quick trip down to your local bar for a drink feels like a luxurious night on the town. As long as you make it home early enough to get some sleep, because that's the only way you two will survive the 5 a.m. wake-up scream you know is coming.
Plus, there's often a hefty price tag attached to your date night, and so you gotta decide: Is it worth the money? Do you really want to spend more than a thousand bucks on food, plus the price of movie tickets, just to see the new Star Wars in the theater? Welcome to the dark side…of going out as parents.
Your sex life switches from spontaneous to scheduled.
The conventional belief is that once kids show up, your sex life as you know it is gone for good. And hey, that might be true for you, especially during those first few months after the baby's born. Because let's be real: sex is the last thing on your mind when you first bring home a small human who, in many cases, immediately makes your body its personal feeding machine. But this sex-free state is not actually permanent.
Sure, penciling in a quickie on your calendar between dinner plans and basketball games can feel like it's taking the fun out of things, but when you have kids, it's kinda the only way to get things done. And look on the bright side—it gives you something to look forward to and is a great reason to shower!
Who has time for sexting when there are potty pics to send?
There's nothing like the arrival of kids to change the tone of your text messages to each. Those racy pics you used to send have been replaced by very thrilling and totally sexy exchanges about picking up diapers at the grocery store and nailing down who's packing tomorrow’s lunches. Multi-tasking's not quite as sexy as racy pics, so maybe follow it up with something X-rated to keep 'em on their toes.
Modesty and manners are now an afterthought.
Look, most of us abandoned these things in relationships a long time ago (I stopped peeing with the door closed when my husband and I were dating, thank you very much). But parenting takes things to a whole new level of giving zero fucks about letting it all hang out. There's just something about pushing a human being out of one's body, or watching another person push a human out of the aforementioned body, that immediately sends all established social norms out the window. (Of course, it's not just the birthing process that changes things—if you adopt, I'm guessing there are still plenty of other intense moments that render you fuck-less.)
Kids bring out the most animalistic of your instincts. "Please" and "thank you" are long gone, replaced by "Go to the store and get me more nipple cream now, goddamnit!"
You occasionally feel more like co-workers than a couple.
At times, parenting feels like you're running a company with only two employees, whose sole job is to take care of the kids. You tag team, you get through the day's chores, you share Excel docs full of meal plans and grocery lists, send calendar invites for important kid-related events, and take turns shuttling tiny humans to play dates and gymnastics and birthday parties. You see each other in passing and offer up mild-mannered hellos. It's just like an office, only there's no clocking out of this job.
You might hate each other sometimes.
Sometimes, the weight of parenting can exhaust even the tightest of teams. It can feel like everything your partner does is just straight-up wrong. (How did your partner honestly not know that moving a sleeping baby out of the swing would wake them up? HOW?!) You bicker, you criticize, you can't stand how they don't put away their shoes. Do not despair; this is normal. Talk about it. Seek help from a counselor if it feels unresolvable. And leave their shoes on their pillow if they're not getting the message.
But then other times, you somehow love each other more.
Everyone tells you how much you're gonna love your kids when they're born. But no one mentions the fierce, fiery, unflinching way you can suddenly love your partner, more than you thought possible. Yes, you might sometimes hate each other (see above), but parenthood often reveals a whole new person hiding under your partner's skin. Who knew they'd sing TV theme songs as lullabies, become a master swaddler, and stay calm every time you shift into mom crisis mode? Is it because they've changed? You've changed? Your life together has changed? Or just because of all the diapers they've changed? Whatever it is, it will catch you by surprise. Enjoy it. And then send them that calendar reminder about the hot night in you've scheduled together this weekend. You two deserve it.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.