Starting a family will be the most important decision you ever make. Becoming a parent will change every aspect of your life, and not always for the better. It is a great responsibility, so you need to be aware of just how dramatically your lifestyle will be affected.

your time

Children, especially babies, need constant care and attention. When your baby is born it will depend on you for everything. You will feed, change, wash, comfort, entertain and educate them. You’ll have extra meals to prepare, your washing will double and the rest of the household chores will still need doing. Somewhere in between all that you’ll want to shower and change and get some sleep! Don’t imagine for a minute that your baby will miraculously fit into your existing lifestyle. It’s more likely that you will fit into your baby’s!

your ambitions

Whether you are working or in education you will need to take a break when you have your baby. You may decide to only have a few weeks or perhaps not go back at all. You need to be absolutely certain that it is a good time for you to take a break from your career or studies. You will also need to consider whether a family is likely to affect your career progression when you return to work.

your relationships

All your major relationships will change when you have a baby. A new baby may bring you and your partner closer together but it will also put a strain on your relationship to some degree. Being a parent for the first time is a huge responsibility and it will be a while before you feel confident to deal with it. You’ll both be tired and stressed, the house will be a pig-sty and your sex life will be non-existent (at least for a while).

Your baby suddenly takes number one priority, replacing your partner. It can be difficult to accept that you will never be the most important person in your partner’s life again.

You will probably see a lot more of your parents when you have children and they will try to spoil their new grandchild as often as possible. This can cause problems, especially if you disagree on aspects of your child’s upbringing. Usually though, it’s a godsend and your parents will be the strongest support you get. Babysitters, money lenders and 24 hour advice service all rolled into one!

Existing friendships can become strained, especially if your friends don’t have children. For one, you will probably have less opportunity to spend time with them. Secondly, your new baby will temporarily become your only topic of conversation and that can be hard going for other people.

the costs

Babies need a lot of equipment to care for them properly. As well as the obvious items like nappies, clothing and safety equipment you’ll notice an increase in your water rates, heating and electricity bills. You may have to give up our nights out, holidays and other luxuries to make ends meet. You may also experience a drastic drop in your household income if you give up work.

fact sheets on finances