Opinion · Uncategorized

Life before children

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Last week Mr H asked me what I would like for Mother’s Day lunch and dinner. I had free reign to choose any food that my little tummy desired and do you know what? I had no idea what to go for. My mind was so caught up with Elliott’s dietary preferences that I had no clue what I even like to eat any more. Another part of my identity eroded by motherly responsibilities. I started thinking what were my favourite foods before I was a mummy? How ridiculous was it that I couldn’t even remember?

That then got me thinking about what life was like pre-child. There was a certain irony that I had to think so hard to recall it, considering that, at first, I was so unprepared for how much being a mummy would change my life that I kind of fought and, dare I say, resented it a little. What you mean I can’t just pop out to get a McFlurry whenever I feel like it… What is this life? I know that’s a tad melodramatic but I would be lying if I pretended there wasn’t an element of that back in the newborn days. Now, just two years on and life has changed so much that I can barely remember what life was like before. Plus it’s easier to grab a McFlurry when you fancy one with an ice cream loving toddler in tow.

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So, just what was my life like before I had my first child? Well, obviously, I was so busy and always so tired. And also A TOTAL DICK. In reality I had no idea what busy meant – try attempting to juggle motherhood, with part-time working, a side hustle and running a home. Let alone trying to fit in exercise, chill time and trying to maintain some level of social life. Then you know what busy is and weirdly I’m a thousand times more productive these days. I guess I have to be. And, as for tired, I can’t even truly class myself as tired now. Not even a toddler with nocturnal tendencies can cause the extreme sleep deprivation that comes from having a newborn. People warn you, but you never realise quite how hard it is until you experience it for yourself. I remember sitting on the sofa sobbing because I ‘just wanted some sleep.’

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Pre-child life was good in many respects. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted without consequence for the most part (including purchasing McFlurry’s whenever I desired). Mr H and I took amazing holidays to far off places like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Sri Lanka. We enjoyed meals out, posh afternoon teas, weekends to London where we supped over-priced coffee in trendy coffee shops and took the obligatory Instagram photos. We had showers when we wanted and for as long as we wanted (whoever thought we would one day consider that a luxury?!). I could spend money on clothes, make up, books, endless stationery…

I worked full time and, although I naively didn’t think I had enough time to myself (and even more naively thought that maternity leave would give me this much sought after time to ‘find myself’) I enjoyed my job and worked hard.

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I enjoyed days catching up with family – maybe visiting a National Trust property, or going shopping – and nights out with friends. Shopping trips were all day affairs, involving copious amounts of coffee breaks, a nice lunch and hours and hours of trawling every single women’s clothing store in the Bullring. Car journeys were filled with loud profanity filled dance and rap music. Cakes were indulgent and enjoyed leisurely, usually whilst gossiping with a friend.

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Back then I lay in bed until, well, whenever. Sometimes sleeping, sometimes reading, other times indulging in a YouTube binge-watch. Mornings were slow and sleepy. A lazy coffee whilst checking emails; PJs on until noon; a long and indulgent shower and time spent smothering various body and face creams on afterwards. I used to wash my hair virtually every day and straighten it most days too. Make-up was applied with care with clean make-up brushes. Candles were purchased according to season. Clothing according to the latest fashion and magazines according to what I fancied reading that day. I even occasionally picked up a newspaper. WHY did I not appreciate these moments more???

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My pre-child naivety stretched into my aspirations too. Obviously I was going to have it all: a four bedroom house, a fancy car, holidays to Dubai – the lot. I’m not sure how I thought I was going to afford all of these things without selling a kidney? And due to the amount of gin I now consume I believe I need both of mine.

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Do I miss those leisurely pre-mummy days? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it would be nice to take a pee in private some days and I certainly wouldn’t mind having the money to live that idyllic life where I get to stay in the Atlantis Palm. But do you know what? When I look back at photos of me before Elliott I look kind of dead behind the eyes, as if the fact that the world is my oyster and I can have a lay in whenever I want isn’t enough. Now? I look knackered and wrinkly and old, but I look happy and content and comfortable. I still enjoyed that Mother’s Day lay in though.

What was your life like before kids?

Thanks for reading. xx

sam

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