One of the hardest truths of parenting to learn — and one of the hardest things to understand before you have kids — is how much of your life changes the moment you child enters the world. Even if you have a super-involved co-parent. Even if you keep your career and your hobbies. Even if you have every resource in the world. It feels like the entire world shifts and nothing will ever be the same again.
This week, dad and TikToker Andrew (@parental_with_me) shared the best parenting advice that he’s ever gotten — and it’s really more of a diagram than advice. By just drawing a few circles, he conveys what it feels like to have a kid as well as what it feels like when you add more kids to the equation.
First, he draws a series of overlapping circles.
“Here’s what I thought would happen when I started to have kids. As I’m adding kids, my life changes, but a lot remains the same,” he says, shading in the overlapping parts of the circle. Here’s what you think as you move up the ladder: There’s going to be lots of overlap between the circles. My life is going to be similar.”
Sadly, this is not what a lot of parents experience.
He draws a new diagram, this time of a series of circles that don’t touch.
“So the advice I got was: don’t think of it like that,” he explains. “As you have kids, you basically reset your life. You can’t really carry over much from the world that you existed in into this new world. They will feel familiar, but it will be so different.”
So true. If only someone had showed me the circles before my first kid! And before my second kid!
“Bedtime is different. Getting the kids out the door is different. Going to a restaurant is different. Travel is different,” he lists. “So many things that are similar just aren’t the same anymore.”
Why share this somewhat depressing fact with his viewers? He thinks knowing it made it easier to take on those big changes.
“The more that you have this mentality of, ‘I’m in this new world and I can’t take much with me from my old world, but I’m really eager to learn and figure it out,’ the happier I think you’re going to be,” he shared. “It really help me shift my mentality.”
Down in the comments, people couldn’t agree more — although one person had an added bit of advice: this information could be hard to hear before you have kids.
“Do NOT say this to a pregnant first time mother,” they wrote. “She’s gonna need a little bit of her old self.”
Andrew agreed — it sounds scary to hear that basically 100% of your old life is going away when you have a baby.
And if you think Andrew is being dramatic, or that he doesn’t like having kids, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, he has a really cute series of videos about all the reasons having kids is awesome. So, in his case, the “life reset” after each kid is totally worth it.