The arrival of a baby is always going to herald some big changes to your life, however before children I think I always thought of these in the short term. I’m sure most parents will agree that the effects and changes that are part and parcel of having kids don’t just last for those first few months, there are many things that will never be the same again!
This may seem like an obvious one, but a lot of women – myself included – often have this idealistic dream that once your adorable bundle is born that your body will automatically pop back into your pre-baby shape. There is a lot of pressure on new Mum’s to be back in pre-birth clothing which makes me so angry. Yes, your body will never be exactly the same again, but that should be something to celebrate not mourn. So I celebrate the stretchmark’s I gained from having my children – they remind me of the amazing job my body did keeping them save and growing them to be strong and healthy. I’m not sure though that celebration is what comes to mind when I have to cross my legs whilst sneezing!
Kiss goodbye to decent sleep! Before children I would happily spend hours in bed at the weekend catching up on that all important beauty sleep, but these days a lie is sleeping uninterrupted until 7am. Of course the first few months are tough with numerous wakeup call and night feeds, but even once they decide to sleep through the night you have years of being woken at the crack of dawn usually by having a little bottom bouncing up and down happily on your head! My personal favourite alarm clock though has to be the ‘horror movie’ like standing in silence watching you sleep – your eyes snap open in horror with the overpowering urge to scream loud enough to wake the whole neighbourhood only to have to contain yourself for fear of making your child cry!
Me time & Personal space
Once you have kids they consume every aspect of your life in the best way possible, however this means that something has to give and this is usually your me time and personal space! When they are little they are dependent on you for everything they need so it is inevitable that your time to do things solely for you will be limited, what they don’t tell you is that this time never returns! Simple pleasures like using the toilet without an audience were once taken for granted, but I would happily sell a kidney to have a few minutes peace! Especially whilst using public toilets when multi-tasking really comes into it’s own as you try to pee, field random questions and plus wrestle a child so they don’t reveal your bare bottom to the queue people waiting. I have teenagers and even now it is like they have a tracking device fitted to them – as soon as I sit on the loo or run a bath I hear my name being called and the hubby being asked that all important question “Where’s Mum?”.
My bank balance has never been the same since having the kids! When they were little it was the ‘cute’ little outfits that I just HAD to have, then came the expensive school uniforms, extra-curricular activities and trips and now as teenagers the Bank of Mum is always being called upon for regular withdrawals! If anything as they get older it get more expensive. Whereas once clothes from high street brands would do as teenagers they have become a little more fashion conscious and the price of course has increased to match!
Pre kids my wardrobe was lined with rows of shoes and fancy going out outfits all neatly ironed, but now is a different story. My wardrobe is now filled with comfy jeans and un-ironed t-shirts (some that pre date the kids), whereas the children’s in comparison are jam packed full. They are dressed to impress whilst I look like I have been dragged through a jumble sale backwards.
My handbag that was once organised to within an inch of it’s life is now full of random toys, half eaten sweets and wrappers amongst other things. Trying to retrieve my purse in a shop is like the worst lucky dip in the world as I’m always unsure what will come out!
Nights out & drinking
I’m sure friends will agree that before having kids I was a bit of a party animal and spent most weekends (& some weeknights) out socialising not caring that I had to be up for work the following day. Pre kids I was lucky to leave the house before 9pm to go out, nowadays I’m lucky to still be awake at that time. I know that if I dare have even a sniff of alcohol these days I will regret it the following morning when like clockwork I’m woken by the bottom in face alarm clock and the hangover will be a million times worse.
I have always been a real stickler for timekeeping and couldn’t abide those that arrived late. I have now turned into one of those people! Despite my best efforts and pre warnings (often over an hour) of when we are required to leave the house there is always someone who hasn’t put their shoes on or needs to pee just as we are getting in the car. I try my hardest but sometimes it just isn’t enough and I have to admit that the children have defeated me and we are going to be late.
I can confirm categorically that baby brain is a real ailment and that it only gets worse with each child you have and never goes away! I used to be able to remember the most random stuff like multiple telephone numbers of contacts for work, nowadays I’m lucky if I remember my own name. I often used to wonder why my parents and grandparents went through a whole list of names before finally striking gold and getting mine – I wonder no more. I find myself having to write lists and notes everywhere to remember even the simplest things and I couldn’t survive without my trusty calendar who kindly tells me where I am supposed to be on a daily basis even if most occasions I am late!
Having said all of that being a Mum is the best job in the world and I cherish each and every day I spend time with my children and wouldn’t change a thing!