And I’m okay with that.
Sometimes I hear other mams say, “Oh, I don’t remember what it was like before we ever had kids”. I’m not that Mam, I DO remember and more so, I sometimes daydream about it.
If like me you do too, you’re normal. You don’t love your kids any less, you just remember what it was like before they were the start, middle and end of well basically everything.
I thought there was something wrong with me when people said that, I actually had a bit of guilt because I do remember and I’ll be honest, at times I miss it. It’s like when you see your friends without kids or older kids posting pictures on a Saturday afternoon having brunch in some lovely place like Beckett and Bull with a glass of something delicious in hand and you have a pang of jealously thinking “look how carefree they look.”
C’mon lets have a wander down memory lane.
It was a time before you became the head of operations, entertainment & catering for your household.
You were carefree and you left the house at a whim – A WHIM, oh the thrill. You could leave without having to pack for numerous people and all eventualities.
As a parent with babies and toddlers, even the basic trip bag includes; Nappies, in my case for two, bags, wipes, bottle, formula, Ella’s food, spoon, clothing, changes, bibs, teetha, water, snacks and lots of other crap, that’s the technical term for it too, crap. It’s like a baby crap Jenga game, forget one, you’re goosed because it’ll be the very day that you will need it all. I’ve been there, I’m sure you have too, frantically looking in the nappy bag thinking “There’s no way we’ve used all seven nappies, have we?”
I remember jumping in the car, just me, seat belt – click, radio – loud, shades – on, regardless of the weather conditions, handbag with makeup bag, brushes, phone and wallet. “GTG” (Good to go) literally anywhere.
Oh and a handbag?!? Sometimes I miss my handbag the most, but more so the beauty of ownership of all the things in my handbag. Yes; I could still bring one but you’ve so much other shit to carry, now IF a bag is brought into the mixer, my purse and phone are in there amongst a litter of crap inside. There’s dodies, teetha; open and unopened, loose raisins, a spoon, crushed sticky rice cakes, tissues, bibs; used and unused and some type of chocolate that I’m hiding (because I need a chocolate hit to keep my sugar levels at functioning level). Basically all their crap is in my, now slightly wilted, Suzanna MK bag. There is an irony in the name too, poor Suzanna, she is as wilted as her owner. Although, still a beaut of a bag in my eyes.
I remember wandering aimlessly around shops minus a buggy or toddler. Just causally looking at lovely things and thinking; I’ll pick it up because I’ll get a wear out of it at something. Now shopping is for food and clothes shopping is online. As the meme says, there is no judgement shopping online, hair up, sans bra with some kind of baby/toddler food on you. (I won’t mention the other fluids, because if you’ve kids, you know! I had to assess a darker stain on a bright orange top the other day because, you actually never know.) Aaaaah! Remember clean clothes that lasted pretty much all day?!?!
There was a time when toilet trips where a solo thing, now it’s a group activity that involves a toddler watching and pointing at all your body parts, asking you what you are doing, wanting to sit in your lap. Alternatively, there is a baby who has decided that they do not under any circumstances want to be separated from you at any cost even if you need to pee? Your problem, not theirs!
It goes for showering too. “I get in Mammy” as they de robe and all you can think is “You never do this when your Dad is showering”
Cleaning the house and it stays that way for like, a day or maybe more. I know there are amazing women out there with pristine houses, I envy and loath you in equal measures.
Sleeping – All.night.long. I refer you back to this.
While we’re speaking about that illustrious good night’s sleep. Remember naps? Naps! they are wasted on kids. God knows they need them or the witching hour would be even worse but they struggle with naps, what is their tiny problem? They are so good and yet, shunned by the smaller folk. Idiots!
How about lazy lie in’s B.K (Before kids)? We, Joey and I, used to lie in till well late into the afternoon then mull over what we were doing that night. I now have things scheduled in weeks in advance and yes, you are thinking right, none of the events planned are for Joey or me. My two and a half year old has a much more impressive social calendar than I do.
A social life, those random or last minute drinks. Remember popping for a Sunday afternoon sneaky scoop. You’re lazing around, maybe after a nap and say “Will we pop to the Orchard?” “Yeah, let’s go” and with that in a flash you are sitting with your drinks in front of you delighted with yourselves.
Although where there is alcohol, there can be hangovers. Toddlers & hangovers do not mix. If you don’t have kids, the only way I can describe it is this. It’s like going to IKEA, on the busiest and warmest day of the year, with the worst hangover and you need to buy loads of stuff but you didn’t get a trolley, so you’re under pressure carrying it and you haven’t brought a fizzy drink to quench your dry mouth hungover thirst and sugar to keep you, well alive. Ultimately, you will end up crying in the toilet. It’s like that with a constant narrative of a small person beside you.
You need your nights out; a date night or time with friends but getting out now can become a UN negotiation. It starts by trawling around to find someone to babysit, followed by the stress of having kids in some sort of bedtime order for said sitter. You always say the following to whomever is minding your kids, “Ah yeah, they’ll be fast asleep in bed by the time we leave, it’ll be grand, we won’t be late” I’ll admit this, you’ll tell the babysitter anything to get them in a verbal contract to come and mind your kids and once they’ve agreed, the game is on.
You always want the sitter to have a good experience, so they will say yes to babysit again. It’s simple babysitter etiquette.
Then the organisation of going on a night out begins, oh that’s nothing to do with you getting ready. No, you’ll lash on your clothes an make up in about ten minutes. There is no faffing about in a towel watching YouTube tutorial about achieving the perfect smokey eye. You have one main objective, get the kids to bed and try to not let them sense you’re going out because the minute their little super senses kick in and they know you’ve a hot date with warm food, cold vino and adult company BANG they have a temperature. Then you are all in bed fully made up at half nine telling yourself you didn’t want Kinara Kitchen (my favourite Indian eatery) anyway.
Speaking of makeup; there was a time when you did watch make up tutorials and laid out all your make up ready taking your hour/hour and a half to get ready. A few weeks ago my makeup brushes where used to “paint” the inside of the toilet *SOB* I stood there watching the beautiful duck egg handle of my Nima Brush swirling around inside the toilet “Look Mammy I’m painting”. My makeup bag now consists of the necessary items. I have now; nearly twenty years later come to the full understanding of what my business teacher Mr. Cormac meant when he talked about need versus want. I want to buy loads of makeup and new brushes but I NEED to do the food shop. Long gone are the days of buying a fuchsia pink lippy for 25 euro just in case you ever get veneer teeth that might be white enough to carry off that colour.
Another of my favourites is lying about what you are eating, usually chocolate.
“Oh what’s that mammy? I have some?”
“No you won’t like it”
*Point of note
A toddler can say “NO, ITS MINE” which isn’t polite but that’s how they roll. A 36-year-old Mam saying that to a two & a half year old, again not polite, will get looks in Mc Donalds but not the “you’re winning” at parenting kind of looks.
Having a conversation without being interrupted or having to avert a crisis that usually involves them not having a biscuit or a standoff about the phone your talking on that they NEED to watch that pig or the pyromaniac boy Norman on.
It was a time that you didn’t have to worry about anyone, except yourself even just for five glorious moments. We never switch off, even when we do get a break we still worry, from the very first moment that line or pregnant pops up the worry begins and as my mam of a forty something year old says, “you’ll worry about them till your last breath.”
So will ALL of that said here’s the irony of being a parent. When you do get five minutes to yourself , break away or when they fall asleep and the house is quite. If you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself picking up your phone to watch a video of them or staring at a picture thinking “Jesus Christ, we made them” then scanning through videos thinking “They’re growing up so quick”.
I do remember what it was like before I had kids and they add all of the above things and so much more, that I couldn’t picture my life without them in it now. It’s all a bit mad and manic but it’s temporary and before I know it’ll be writing about missing the madness of it all.
So, remembering the B.F (before kids) doesn’t make you a bad parent or make you love your kids any less. It just makes you a normal human being who would like to have a wee solo from time to time.