Everybody parents in a different way, but I think there are some things we can agree on. I have a two year old, a one year old and am heavily pregnant and my life now looks very different than three years ago...
1. You No Longer Know Chart Music
I can tell you all the words to some absolute bangers such as "Down by the Bay," "Skidamarinkadinkadoo," and "Do You Like Brocolli?" As the unofficial DJ in my family, I can bring the house down by popping on a sesh of "One Little Finger," but if I were to go into a nightclub now, I guarantee I would be looking around me in bewilderment, suddenly stricken by just how little I know the current songs. Not to worry though, because as much as I adored a nightclub in the day, I think I'd rather go out for a meal and be home for a nice, comfy sleep these days anyway.
2. You Favour a Comfortable Shoe
Not so very long ago, I lived in a flat with a bookcase filled from top to bottom with high heels. I mean HIGH heels. All different colours and styles, for my many nights out. Now, I have a shoe rack in the hallway and there is one pair of heels in it, mid height and altogether more practical. The rest of my shoes are things I can slip on easily, which provide support for my regularly pregnancy-weight-laden feet and they lay wedged between my husband's big shoes and my kids tiny shoes in a sort of Tetris arrangement.
3. You Wear the Same Outfits on Rotation
There may be an element of truth in this for everyone... I am sure I am not alone in having many a small crisis about my style since having kids. I have googled my style, browsed Pinterest and looked at many 'what is your mom style' quizzes online. I have revamped my wardrobe, organised things neatly in the hope I will wear them and then stuck to the usual rotation of leggings and baggy t-shirts on a daily basis...
4. Most of the Books You Read are Short Now
I used to be such a bookworm. I read a lot and quickly at that. Nowadays, most of my reading consists of information leaflets, childrens' books and articles about my kid's development.
5. Looking at Properties Has Become a Hobby
I used to look at my mum doing this and think it was utterly bizarre and frankly, boring. Scrolling through pages online of various properties, looking at your dream place and imagining how you'd decorate each one. Now, I can't get enough! I love browsing through different homes, often completely out of my budget, imagining myself and the family in them. I have even on multiple occasions now found myself commenting on how bright the rooms are... I officially love a feature window.
6. Your Money Rarely Goes on You
I have a list of clothes I would like to buy for myself, there are books I really want to get and I would love some new towels for the hubby and I. Somehow though, there always seems to be something else more pressing. If my husband needs anything, I make it work in our budget and get it for him ASAP. The kids have mostly everything they need before they even need it, with me making sure they are covered purely in anticipation. Myself though... well let's just say this is my fifth pregnancy, third one this far along and the first time I bought myself some proper maternity trousers! Even then, I waited until the 34 week mark.
7. You Spend More Time Hiding Than You Used to
Sometimes, things get stressful. The kids get loud, they get in the mood to irritate each other and they can be, frankly, unreasonable. Before I was a parent, I never had times where I needed to shut myself in the bathroom or disappear to my bedroom for a while to clear my head. I had never snuck out of a room before on my hands and knees to avoid being seen. Taking a deep breath and locking yourself away for a minute becomes a regular part of trying not to lose your cool.
8. You Never Knew You Could Do so Much on so Little Steam
The amount of laundry and dishes I do would have potentially made my eyes water in the past. Now, I can wade my way through a knee high pile of clothes in no time. It is truly amazing how, in the time where you have arguably the least energy, you are truly your most productive self.
9. You Get Completely Overwhelmed
Sometimes, I have a moment of panic which takes me breath away. I very suddenly realise that I am responsible for the safety, happiness, well being and future of vulnerable people who I care very much about. I realise that my husband and I need to keep them afloat at the least and help them flourish at best. I realise that I am needed here for a long time and that if I take my foot off the gas for a moment, things will pile up. It's enough to make you need to sit for a moment as the overwhelming weight of responsibility settles onto your shoulders. I even have this moment when I approach each birth, not quite believing I am going to have to do 'that' again. As quickly as they come, they pass. Then it's back to the laundry!
10. You Have to Pinch Yourself
At least once each day, I have a moment where I feel I need to pinch myself. I get so overwhelmingly full of love that I don't quite know what to do with myself. Every day there will be one moment where I will look at my children or remember something they've done and my eyes will prick with tears. It's not a big sob fest, just a few seconds, but it's a rush of love unlike any other. Often, when I snuggle up with my husband and he spoons me from behind, the moment I hear his soft little snore and feel his arm instinctively find me just so he's touching a part of me, I feel so very safe and lucky. When I think of where I was in the past and look at where I am now, I can't understand what made me deserve it. That's just life!
Every parent knows that incredible feeling you get... you wipe the stains off your clothes, peel the food you just stepped in from your foot, calm down the noise, stick on a DVD, sigh for a moment and then look at them and think 'holy shit, I can't believe you're mine... who decided I get to be so happy?'