The saying goes that everything changes when you become a parent. Sure, I had heard that, but before I had kids I didn’t truly realize that everything would change. Everything. From my hair to my clothes, how I chose my apartment to how I decorated it, how I eat to how I go to the bathroom, my entire life with kids is different than my life prior to having kids. Basically, my existence can be broken down into BK or AK (before kids or after kids).
Before kids, going to the bathroom was a solitary activity. Of course it was – why wouldn’t it be? After kids, going to the bathroom is a full-contact spot. I’m not proud of it, but I am now an expert at going to the bathroom with a small child clutching my thighs and wailing for attention.
Before kids, 3 was the optimum number of drinks. It was enough to get a little drunk and fun but not ridiculously out-of-control. After kids, on the rare occasions I go out, I can have one drink. One. Any more and I’m up to pee a million times at night, plus I wake up feeling like I have a 10-drink hangover.
Before kids, brunch didn’t start until 11am. After kids, lunch is at 11am.
Before kids, I didn’t worry about not getting enough sleep during the week; after all, that’s what the weekends were for. After kids, hahahaha! What weekend? We get up at the same (early) time on the weekend as we do during the week and there’s actually less of a break since there’s no school.
Before kids, we chose restaurants based on what food we wanted to eat. What a concept. After kids, we choose restaurants based on who has a children’s menu, an accommodating seating plan, and is open at 5pm.
Before kids, I ate when I was hungry. Hot food was hot. Each mouthful was a carefully constructed bite of what I wanted, when I wanted it. After kids, I shove food in my mouth when given the opportunity. I finish my older son’s food and if the baby lets me put him down, I take those few minutes to eat whatever I can find.
Before kids, wine, lingerie, and a fancy dinner spelled romance. After kids, the most romantic thing I can do for my husband is wash the dishes.
Before kids, birthday parties were an excuse to get together with friends for too many overpriced drinks. After kids, birthday parties are still an excuse to get together with friends – the parents of my son’s friends. Going to kiddie birthday parties is pretty much the main way I socialize now.
Before kids, other than that one party in college, my boobs were rarely on display in public. After kids, boobs. Everywhere. I know what all my friends’ boobs look like. And for me, yes, I wear a cover when I nurse in public, but still, it’s amazing how having a baby attached to them desexualizes boobs.
Before kids, when I went out I didn’t leave until after 9pm. After kids, I’m in bed around 9pm.
Before kids, I dyed my hair to change the color. After kids, I dye my hair to cover the grays.
Before kids, I would tell my stylist to “do something cute” with my hair. After kids, I tell my stylist to leave my hair long enough so I can put it in a ponytail.
Before kids, I had three sizes of clothing: thin, normal and fat. After kids, I still have three sizes of clothing but they’re normal (my former fat clothes), transition to maternity, and maternity. And now that I’ve discovered the glory of the elastic waistband, I may never go back to pants with buttons.
Before kids, I chose where I lived based on proximity to bars and restaurants. After kids, I chose where I lived based on the school district.
Before kids, my apartment was decorated with trinkets from vacations, knickknacks found at flea markets, some arty prints, and pictures of my friends and me. After kids, the most expensive tchotchkes on display are plastic dinosaurs. The prints have been replaced with drawings by a highly sought-after new artist (my pre-schooler) and all our pictures are of the kids.
Before kids, I never bought in bulk – not only was there no room in my NYC apartment, but there was no need. After kids, paper towels are, like oxygen and cheese sticks, a necessity. An order permanently resides in my Fresh Direct cart.
Before I had kids, if my neighbors had a late-night party, I went. After I had kids, if my neighbors have a late-night party, I call the cops.
Before kids, being sick wasn’t fun, but it at least didn’t require much effort. I got the day off work and could lay around with orange juice or chicken soup, watching junk TV and playing online. After kids, I sneeze, barf, or have chills while still taking care of the kids, rest and fluid intake be damned. In fact, I wrote this during the week I unknowingly had Strep, yet still took care of both kids, cooked dinner and ran errands because moms don’t get days off of work.