Love, family and happiness are generally expected when it comes to having a family, a big house, family holidays and regular sex are generally expected when you’re a parent, but the reality is so much different.
New research reveals all is not what it seems when you actually become a parent.
As part of an Expectation vs Reality campaign, Help-Link has surveyed 2000 expecting to be parents to gather their perceptions of life after giving birth. The data includes expectations of the home they live in, their family life, their finances and careers, their social life and their love life too.
They then gathered the reality from 2000 current parents and discovered that parent life is not as expected.
Nearly all (92%) of Brits preparing to be a parent have great expectations before having a child, this includes a loving relationship, a detached home, family holidays, weekends away, regular date nights and sex multiple times a week.
72% of Brits expect to be happy, 61% expect to have a good love life and 40% expect regular and exciting sex. But unfortunately, the study reveals that’s far from reality.
31% of parents are sadly no longer in love. This could be due to the fact that 57% of parents say they no longer have a date night and even 18% have left the other parent altogether.
Struggling to get a babysitter is a big problem for couples looking for some alone time. A once a month date is seen as a treat for those with children.
Ian says: “You find out soon enough that visiting with friends becomes an ordeal. Packing up bags with changes of clothes, nappies and everything else to cover all eventualities… it becomes easier just to stay at home. I can’t remember the last time that me and the missus went out and left the kids with babysitters.
“It also becomes tricky when you have friends that aren’t in the same circumstances as you are. They’re not under the same sort of restrictions and often want to do things that you simply can’t.
“Another thing I’ve noticed is that activities that were commonplace, such as a meal out for tea or a trip to the cinema, now cost a small fortune, making it impossible to do with any regularity.”
The reality of sex as a parent
Practically a quarter of parents aren't happy with their sex life, and for a fifth their sex life is non-existent. But it's not really surprising when 12% have their children in bed with them multiple times a week.
Interestingly 6% of expectant mum’s believed they come be a stay at home mum while their partner is the breadwinner. However, 52% say they work full-time and 16% of mums say they don’t get any support from the fathers of their children.
Time for yourself and an active social life is a struggle too. There was an expectation to see friends at least three times a month, however, some don't even see them once.
Interestingly, men get more of a social life still when they become parents than women. The average dad still sees his friends every fortnight but doesn’t have time for date night.
Sarah says: “My expectations versus the reality of parent life is that it’s lonelier than I expected. We thought we would always have family around to help out. And we expected to meet loads of other parents who we’d spend time with like my parents did when I was growing up.
“The reality is, between my partner and I both working full-time jobs and trying to fit in little ones’ activities and household stuff on weekends, we hardly ever see family and haven’t had family friends around in at least six months. The parents that we do know with kids are all busy too, and schedules always conflict, so it can be months before we get the chance to socialise.”