We all know having children changes your day-to-day life hugely, but can you actually remember what life before kids used to be like?
Here Emily Leary, blogger at A Mummy Too, writes for our blogger platform Because I Said So (BISS) on the mysteries and messy business of being responsible for small human beings and how this leaves little time for all sorts of things we used to take for granted.
See how many of these you remember doing before you became a parent…
Deciding to go out last-minute
If you felt like going out, you just went out. This kind of spontaneity does not exist post-kids, because good babysitters are booked up months in advance.
Cancelling a night out because you don’t feel like it
Nope, now that nights sans-kids are so rare, you have to be pretty much dying to cancel the chance to let your hair down. If you don’t feel like going out, you suck it up and do it anyway – you can’t let all that organizing go to waste!
Enjoying a long car journey
Remember when a long trip in the car was a chance to chat to other adults, enjoy the passing landscape and listen to your choice of music?
Post-kids, you’ll spend the whole time providing snacks, stopping squabbles and making up games, all while attempting to block out the soundtrack of their favourite film.
The fact that you’re driving in no way exempts you from these responsibilities. And then there’s travel sickness….
Nipping out to the corner shop
Those of us with kids don’t ‘nip out’ anywhere anymore. We might say we do, but in reality it takes at least half an hour to leave the house, even if you just need to get a pint of milk.
Of course you can’t even think about going out until that tiny piece of Lego is found. Why would it be obvious that the shoes are in the shoe basket? What were you thinking, suggesting a coat was a good idea? And so on and on and on.
Taking time on personal grooming
You used to dedicate hours to things like bathing, skincare and getting ready to go out. Now you’ve perfected the 60 second shower.
Now, if you’ve spent more than five minutes doing your makeup that means it’s a big night out. Or you’ve been called in by the headteacher and want to look like you’ve actually got your act together.
Spending a day doing nothing
Remember being bored with nothing to do? Not any more. As a parent, you will spend many days at home, but they will never, ever be spent doing nothing.
You see, even if the house is sparkling and you’ve got the whole day off work, children don’t let you do nothing; they demand food, entertainment, and generally insist on your undivided attention.
In fact, they love you so much, they’ve become experts at just not caring whether you feel like doing it or not because they need you to play Top Trumps.
Browsing in shops
Leisurely shopping trips where you browse for nothing in particular are a thing of the past.
With kids in tow, you get in and get out as quick as you can, while bribing them with treats. Or you bottle it completely, and shop online when they’re in bed, spending the next year wearing jeans that don’t fit properly because when are you going to have time to get them exchanged?
Promptly addressing a health problem
If your child needs to visit the doctor, you schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You, on the other hand, have illogically become a low priority to yourself, and will wait months before visiting the doctor, perfecting the downward stare as you admit you’ve been limping with a bad knee for 6 months but really had meant to come sooner.
And when you have a bug, recuperation time is a thing of the past. You just have to pop some paracetamol and carry on looking after everyone else.
Having things to talk to your friends about
Remember when you used to chat to your friends about current affairs and popular culture? You even had opinions!
Post-kids, those rare adult interactions inevitably revolve around the kids, because now your whole life is spent looking after them, you have lost touch with the world outside of parenting.
You don’t want to scare the little darlings by having the news channel on, they’re always on your iPad when you fancy a browse of current events, and there just isn’t time for luxuries like reading the papers without them turning into a craft experiment.
Who’s the Chancellor right now? You have no idea, but you have noticed that In the Night Garden has a new narrator.
Using fragile glass and crockery
You used to sip your wine from delicate, long-stemmed glasses, and dine off beautiful matching plates.
Now, if the kids’ melamine tableware is the only clean option you don’t think twice about using it. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be that clean.
Spending your holiday relaxing
Holidaying without kids, you spent the entire fortnight on a sun-lounger, resting body and mind and ploughing through at least four books.
Holidaying with kids, just means transporting the usual demands of family life to a different location. Home life, but sweatier. And you never sit down. Ever.
Choosing furniture based on it looking nice
Pale carpets, pointy corners and delicate upholstery: if you liked it, you bought it.
Now everything in your house is machine washable, wipe clean and in stain-concealing colours.
Eating in a restaurant that doesn’t have a kids menu
Those relaxed meals in restaurants populated by well-groomed, well-rested adults just don’t exist for you any more.
You now choose a dining establishment based upon whether they will tolerate food on the floor, and if they’ll tell you that everyone else’s kids don’t eat their vegetables either.
Using the bathroom on your own
Yes, they even follow you to the toilet. They don’t think it’s weird. And after all these years, you’ve kind of given up caring.
Wearing heels all the time
Pre-kids, you had killer heels for every occasion. Post-kids, keeps telling you they didn’t realise you were so short.
No, you haven’t lost your sense of style, it’s just that heels just don’t cut it when your days are spent carrying small people and wading through sandpits.
Having spontaneous sex
Because you could. Now you need to schedule it into the calendar, otherwise you’ll both just fall asleep in front of the TV, again.
Being unaware of the magic that is baby wipes
How did you even exist without baby wipes? You used to have specific products for each different cleaning job; now you’re part of the inner circle who know that pretty much anything can be cleaned up using a baby wipe.
Drink a hot drink that’s actually hot
You used to make a drink, take it through to the living room and drink it. Simple.
Today, you can’t remember the last time you drank a cuppa that wasn’t re-heated in the microwave at least three times and still downed luke warm in wincing gulps because sure, it’s gross, but you need the caffeine.
Eating sweet treats without hiding
You used to sit on the sofa with your favourite show and a biscuit, or packet of biscuits. Not any more. Then you’d have to share!
Every parent has at some point hidden in another room to scoff chocolate, biscuits or sweets. Or walked past the playroom pretending not to chew so that the kids don’t know you popped in a crafty marshmallow on the way to get a beaker of milk.
Sometimes, the healthy snacks you’ve prepared for the kids just aren’t good enough after the day you had. Sometimes, you just don’t want to share.
Having space in your head
You used to be able to make mental notes effortlessly. You used to run your life with barely the need for a calendar because you were razor sharp with enough space in un-muddled, pre-kids brain to store useful information.
Now, that space has been stolen by things like shoe sizes, after school club schedules, play dates, not to mention the precise size a cucumber slice must be for your child to eat it without a fight.
There’s just no room left in there, which is why you now run life and work using endless to do list, and can’t remember anything about that programme you just watched.
Parenting is hard and often thankless, but it’s also the most rewarding thing you’ve ever experienced, and the reason you get up in the morning. Sure, you get up in the morning with greasy hair you might not get to wash until lunchtime, if you’re lucky, but it’s worth it. And you wouldn’t change a thing.
Could you be our next BISS blogger? We’re asking you to share your best blog post with us for the chance to win a guest spot on GoodtoKnow (and trust us, you’ll be in great company with some top bloggers already involved!).