It's commonly said that everything changes after you have a baby. From your brain chemistry to your relationships (spouse included), life is a different experience when you're suddenly responsible for another person.
In many ways, adjusting to this transition can be difficult and confusing. After all, not getting enough sleep once the baby arrives (or possibly for years afterward) isn't something to celebrate. But before you put too many marks in the "negative" column, what about all of the positive ways your life changes once you have kids? Can we measure the daily positive impact of being a parent?
For a closer look at the things we learn from our children, we surveyed over 1,000 parents. Read on as we explore the lessons parents glean from their kids, the positive impact parenting can have on your career, and the health and fitness benefits that may come as a bonus!
More to Learn
Daily routines are an important part of raising children (and keeping them occupied), but that typically means a lot of activities for moms and dads, too. Parents spend nearly twice as much time with their kids compared to parents from decades past.
When asked about the biggest lessons parents learned from their children, patience (nearly 47%) and the importance of a work-life balance (46%) ranked highest. Prioritizing work-life balance was a more common lesson for parents in their 20s, while parents in their 30s and older more commonly listed patience as a lesson learned from their children. Generational gaps may also help influence what parents pick up from spending time with their kids. Almost 30% of parents in their 50s and older also said their children helped them understand technology better, and nearly 1 in 3 parents in their 20s said their children helped them to learn the importance of mental health.
Other life lessons derived from children included how to be a better person (almost 32%), living in the moment (30%), and time management skills (26%). While learning how to multitask was a less commonly reported lesson, mothers were more likely than fathers to pick up the skill while caring for their children.
All the Feels
Yes, your life will change after having a child, and life may continue changing as they get older. And while you may think about all the ways your body or social life will shift after becoming a parent, your values and emotions will likely change, too.
Parents cited the importance of family as the biggest change to their value system, followed by unconditional love, patience, listening skills, and forgiveness. Many parents also identified learning how to play, changes in creativity, navigating honesty, and having big dreams after having children.
For many people, the decision to have children is contrasted with the desire for a successful or lucrative career. For some, they may feel deeply conflicted; having children may mean giving up your career, and prioritizing your career may feel like giving up on ever starting a family.
Of course, many families find a way to manage both. And while studies show that parents' careers can impact their children, how does having kids impact parents professionally? Thirty-two percent of parents told us they took on additional work, including a second job or side hustle, while another 29% cut back on their working hours. However, it was more common for fathers to take on additional work (nearly 33%), while mothers were more likely to go back to school to earn another degree (about 26%)
More than 1 in 5 parents said becoming a parent made them want to pursue their passions, and over 1 in 4 parents said they got a better job after their children were born. Parents in their 20s were more likely than older generations to say having children made them want to pursue their passions (36%) and that they started working longer hours (over 35%).
Sure, your body probably changed after having a baby (for moms and dads alike), but that doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Over 3 in 4 parents reported meal prepping more often after their children were born, followed by around 2 in 3 parents who often ate healthy, balanced meals or ate on a more regular schedule.
Despite more than half of parents admitting they didn't get enough sleep to feel rested after having kids, a majority reported they were more likely to stay fit and active (64%) and keep up with vitamins and supplements (57%). Parents were also more likely than not to try new exercises, get involved with sports, or go to the gym compared to life before children.
Parents have a lot to teach their children about life and values, but kids may have lessons of their own. More than half of parents discovered new apps after having children, and nearly as many (52%) agreed to more smart devices in their home. Nearly half of parents also learned the ins and outs of texting after becoming parents, in addition to modern vernacular. Even better, 1 in 5 parents reported learning technology skills from their children that helped to advance their career.
A Lifetime of Learning
No one ever said having children would be easy. But parents acknowledged all of the ways their children positively impacted their lives, including teaching them new technology skills, igniting a desire to pursue passions, and making them appreciate love and family.
At Super Heroic, we know just how important kids are in your life, and we're passionate about encouraging them to play more, ultimately promoting healthy activities that will lead to a new generation of leaders and problem-solvers. Equip your children with the footwear they need for the missions that lie ahead. Visit us at SuperHeroic.com to learn more.
Methodology and Limitations
The data in this project were curated via a survey using Amazon Mechanical Turk. To qualify, participants had to be a parent whose only or youngest child was 3 years old or older. Participants also had to be employed (either part or full time). There were a total of 1,022 participants.
- 43.2% were men with a margin of error of 5% using 95% confidence interval testing.
- 56.8% were women with a margin of error of 4% using 95% confidence interval testing.
- Participants ranged in age from 18 to 74 with a mean of 41.8 and a standard deviation of 10.6.
- 11.3% were aged 20 to 29 with a margin of error of 9% using 95% confidence interval testing.
- 36.3% were aged 30 to 39 with a margin of error of 5% using 95% confidence interval testing.
- 28.0% were aged 40 to 49 with a margin of error of 6% using 95% confidence interval testing.
- 24.4% were aged 50 to 80 with a margin of error of 6% using 95% confidence interval testing.
The aim of this project was to explore the less expected impacts that having children can have on a person. It is purely exploratory, and future research could focus on the impacts having children may take on monetary habits or sleep quality.
The data we are presenting rely on self-reporting and, as such, are susceptible to exaggeration or selective memory.
Fair Use Statement
Intrigued by the ways having kids can impact your life? Help spread the word by sharing this survey for any noncommercial use with the inclusion of a link back to this page in your story.