‘Your life is over when you have children’ was the no.1 piece of conversation overheard this week while lunching in half term with my two boys in TGI’s, I know extravagant but the queue for McDonald’s was massive and we’d been swimming so everyone was starving. I was multi-tasking of course, displaying my average parenting skills whilst blatantly gawping and listening to these two friends discuss the virtues of becoming a parent (from a non-parents perspective).
Not interjecting into their conversation took most of my strength, the rest was used feeding Chester as much food as I’m sure a baby elephant eats. So here’s my view to put the record straight and provide a more balanced view for any potential parents to be.
I’m not going to sugar coat (or lie as I don’t do that, I’m a mum you know 🙂 I just bribe
occasionally daily) so my life is unrecognisable and bears absolutely no resemblance to life 6.5 years ago (before I fell pregnant with James), but is my life over – NO, is it totally different – YES!
There are lots of things I miss about pre-child life, including:
- Being hungover and actually allowed to be hungover, stay in bed, sit on the sofa and take a trip to the shops to buy a Diet Coke and some salt and vinegar McCoys in the vain attempt that the hangover will go away. Nowadays a hangover lasts for at least 3 days and usually involves an attempt to have a ‘normal’ sunday where you’re forced to attend some child related event such as a birthday party or soft play whilst trying not to vomit.
- The ability to leave the house without it taking 5 hours or with 2 bags, a pushchair and kids in tow.
- Going to the gym or running or cinema or restaurant (actually insert any leisure activity here) whenever you want without having to arrange it three weeks in advance.
- My figure – no stretch marks and no mum-tum. Why oh why did I not appreciate it more!
- Money – yeah where did all that go?
- Going shopping and being able to try clothes on without it being a sweaty and stressful experience where you end up going home with clothes that don’t go together or are often the wrong size in the haste to exit the shop, particularly the changing room which seems to be Chester’s least favourite place in the entire world.
- Not having to pay for childcare. Seriously I’m glad I didn’t know what it cost to put a child into nursery before having one! Paying the equivalent of a designer handbag each month (that’s how I visualise it as I only own a fake Mulberry courtesy of my trip to Thailand earlier this year) just so you can go to work and then adding on any costs for babysitters to go on a night out you end up paying purely for childcare. The childcare/work system for parents just doesn’t work as it currently is but that’s a rant for another time.
- Not being on an emotional roller coaster every single day. Experiencing the whole spectrum of emotions from sheer frustration to over whelming love often within a short space of time can be so damn exhausting.
- Not having to negotiate weekly activities with the husband “I’ll go running tonight, you can go tomorrow”, “I have a night out on the 6th Feb, you can have one on the 9th August” you get the picture!
- Not having to play ‘games’ you really don’t care about, think cars, trains, Ninjago and Star Wars.
- Serving dinner without it being thrown across the dining room, even the worst adult dinner guests don’t do this!
- Sleep. Enough said.
So here’s the good stuff:
- You gain little people that love you unconditionally (at least for some time anyway).
- You get the world’s best kisses and cuddles, nothing feels better than little arms and hands stretching around your neck and giving you the biggest squeeze.
- They are always so pleased to see you, at the end of a childcare day there is nothing better than picking them up and seeing that smile and shout for mummy or daddy.
- You get so darn proud of them, whether it’s a first tooth, first step, learning to ride a bike, starting school, hearing them read aloud to you, watching them play sports or achieving at school there is no pride like the exploding, enormous heart bursting pride you feel when your child does something amazing.
- They surprise you, by drawing you cute pictures, surprising you with flowers when you’re out on a walk and saying things that you would never expect.
- It’s just so funny, proper belly laughs happen in our house on a daily basis.
- The innocence of children is overwhelmingly lovely, they are sincere and this is enlightening and can make a change!
- You become more self-confident. Short on time and energy you realise what actually matters, whether this is people, work or hobbies, and put your energy into the right places.
Since becoming a mum my life has been both a thousand times harder and enriched in so many ways that I never anticipated. Would I change it? Not for the world.